Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 24th, 2013
Tim the Yowie Man (TYM) investigates the Roaring Bunyip of Burrawang in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
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.
This time, I’m not taking risks of losing any vital evidence – I’m here with a television crew to document my every move. Further, this time, we won’t be going to sleep, so there’ll be no opportunity for the phantom poo pilferer to strike again.
Having spent most of the afternoon regaining some respect of my crew, before the sun gets too low in the sky, we head off for some insights from two eyewitnesses. The first is Bruce Mumford who reckons he’s heard the beast. Resplendent in a camouflage kaftan (in case the bunyip rears up out of the swamp), Mumford deadpans “Oh yes, it’s got a deep, guttural, nasty call”. Then there’s dairy farmer Ken Sharpe who hasn’t seen the bunyip but has heard it many times. He reckons that it’s “got to be a bird and one that can move smartly for you could hear it at the western end of swamp, and then two minutes later it was half-way up the eastern end”. Yet incongruously, taking pride of place in Sharpe’s garden, is his prized ceramic bunyip which more resembles a small gnome-like creature than a bird, and more to the point, is sans wings.
Conflicting reports as to its appearance is nothing new when it comes to the bunyip. All over eastern Australia (it’s supposed domain) if you ask a hundred people what they think a bunyip looks like, you’ll get a hundred different descriptions. According to most reports, however, the Burrawang bunyip has a long neck and is covered in feathers, is the height of a tiger but half as long and stands on two legs – something like a ”feathered seal” with legs. Although other rumours have the amphibious creature flying and sporting a long horn in the middle of its head.
Already exhausted from traipsing through the mud (bog snorkelers, eat your heart out), we head off to the nearby Burrawang Village Hotel for dinner. With its olde-worlde atmosphere, roaring log fire (yes it can get chilly here, even in late spring), and the laughter and chatter of happy people filling every corner, it is a pub where strangers (yes, even those covered in muck and brandishing giant butterfly nets) are made to feel welcome.
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Craig Woolheater – has written 2377 posts on this site.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.