The Burrawang Bunyip

Lord Lucan

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My wife and I had lunch today not far from home at a pub in the picturesque town of Burrawang in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (Australia).
The town sits perched above the Wingecarribee Swamp which according to this site:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5001277

''Is a remnant of a late glacial swamp. It is one of the oldest montane mires known in south-east Australia. Analyses of sediments dated from 15,000 BP (before the present) have provided valuable information about climatic and vegetation changes in Australia since the Pleistocene era.''

It is also reputedly home to a Bunyip.

swamp.jpg

The Wingecarribee/Burrawang Swamp - the home of the Bunyip

I first heard about the Bunyip in the 80's when my friends and I would go to the pub on weekends for a drink or two. My step father was the Deputy Mayor for the Wingecarribe Shire in the 90's and he too spoke of it.

Eating there today reminded me of the story, so I spend some time looking into it this evening.
There's little information online, however, I did come across this great story about a Bunyip hunt by the one and only Tim the Yowie Man.
Here it is...

Tim the Yowie Man: The bunyip hunt
It's not a good look. With a "one, two, three, pull!" a human chain of half a dozen people tightly linking arms attempt to heave me out of the mud. At first, I don't budge, not an inch. Finally, with an embarrassing squelch and a slurp, and with arms and legs flailing in every direction, I'm unceremoniously yanked out of the swamp.

You'd think I'd know better. This is my second hunt for the Burrawang Bunyip, a mysterious creature supposedly lurking in the murky depths of this Southern Highlands swamp. Seventeen years ago, a young, fresh-eyed yowie man was lured to this foreboding stretch of water by the prospect of being the first to photograph a beast which had eluded cryptonaturalists since first spotted in the early 1800s. Disappointingly, during the two-day expedition, all I uncovered were some unusual-looking droppings. They were probably just those of a fox that had over-indulged in too many waterbirds the night before, but despite sleeping with the scat-filled specimen jar next to me, it was pilfered in the dead of the night. Locals just didn't want the true origins of their Bunyip to be exposed.
https://www.traveller.com.au/tim-the-yowie-man-the-bunyip-hunt-2y0o8
 

Mungoman

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Bunyip is Spirit. It doesn't manifest in whitefella way. @Mungoman? Can you confirm?

It's most probably some young fella in a gillie suit protecting their crop Skinny. But seriously, It's water, isn't it, and it's old water, so I reckon there's a chance, given the right intensity they'd be there, and we'd be aware with all our innate senses making us aware, then they'd be gone - a bit Pan like.

The only experiences where I was totally aware of Something around me was up on Barrington tops a few decades ago, and it scared the living Christ out of me.

I wouldn't ever want to experience that again.

Addendum: I was just washing my breakfast dishes just then thinking about that time on the ranges and remembered that there was a 'hanging swamp' close by at barrington - Burraga - Old water again. Old water 'remembers' Skinny - but as you say mate 'That Time/essence/Country' (Kunyapipi) follows it's own rules and white fellas like me don't have that awareness.

Ours would be a haphazard guess.
 
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skinny

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It almost certainly would.

I've found a lengthy treatise on the subject of organic artifacts purported to be bunyip remnants. I think this was published in the AHR journal last year.

The Bunyip as Uncanny Rupture: Fabulous Animals, Innocuous Quadrupeds and the Australian Anthropocene

By Prof. Penny Edmonds
© all rights reserved.

Figure-2-MAMU-NHM.45right-600x400.jpg

Figure 2: The Macleay Museum ‘bunyip’. University of Sydney. Registration number MAMU NHM.4.

http://australianhumanitiesreview.o...s-quadrupeds-and-the-australian-anthropocene/
The writer says these items are a "rupture" from early times where myth, lore and sense validity were not quite as distinguished from one another as they are today. That's a very tiptoey way of saying they're hard to categorise. I look forward to reading it. Here's her conclusion:

Conclusion

In the 1830s and 1840s, the bunyip, a fleeting fictive creature, hovered at the borders of mythic and endangered: a shy, shady billabong dweller. But it also marked a temporal and spatial rupture. The European invasion of a new world brought massive biota exchange and dispossessed of Indigenous peoples of their lands and heritage, and dismantled intimate connections with native species. The Macleay bunyip, a clever hybrid, is something more than animal. It stands at the breaking point between deep time and that which colonials constructed as ‘human’ through their raced concept of civilisation, which both drove and justified the exploitation of people, animals and earthly resources. The Macleay bunyip performs the confusion of the Anthropocene, and choreographs a kind of ‘bunyip time’; it is an object that in its curious unfolding marks the rupture and turmoil of the Anthropocene in the Antipodes.


The strange monster that I saw through the glass as a child, rendered from the material of the European horse, continues to disconcert me. It is an ever-unfolding, colonial assemblage that performs the Anthropocene with its rapid and uneven disordering/reordering of species, humans, and environment. With its cycloptic eye the bunyip-horse looks out at the still colonising Anthropocene and its ever-vanishing endpoint.
 

Lord Lucan

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Searching through our local newspaper, 'The Southern Highlands News' I came across this story from 2011:

Bunyip skull found in Highlands swamp

ACTUALLY I think it was an old dead steer sticking out of the mud in Wingecarribee Swamp when I was poking around out there last week, but that wouldn’t have made much of a story would it?
ASK any old-timer from Burrawang, Kangaloon or Robertson and they will tell you about bunyips in the Wingecarribee Swamp.

Maybe we don’t hear so much about this local phenomenon these days after the dramatic collapse of the peat bog one dark wet August night in 1998. Heavy rains cut loose a mining dredge, ripping a huge swathe through to the reservoir to decimate the largest peat swamp on the Australian mainland and ruin the old bunyip habitat.
But having said that, there are plenty of locals convinced the bunyip is still out there among those boggy grasses, growing large on a regular diet of frogs, snakes, crayfish and eels.
https://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/story/1070404/bunyip-skull-found-in-highlands-swamp/

It's a interesting tale with a little local folklore, some local bullshit plus some Aboriginal legend thrown into the mix. True or not, it makes for an interesting tale and if you're ever in this neck of the woods, it's a pretty part of the world to spend a little time in.
 
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