The Bunyip is a creature that has formed part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia and that lives in waterways such as swamps, billabongs, creeks, rivers and water-holes including those in Djillong (Geelong).

The first use of the word bunyip in a written publication appears to be in The Geelong Advertiser and Squatters' Advocate on the 2nd  July 1845 (page 2) when fossils were found near Djillong (Geelong).

The headline read: Wonderful Discovery of a new Animal.


The article reported an interview with a Wathaurong man in this way:
"On the bone being shown to an intelligent black (sic), he at once recognised it as belonging to the bunyip, which he declared he had seen. On being requested to make a drawing of it, he did so without hesitation." (p.2). This is the drawing he made:


It also reported a story of an Aboriginal woman being killed by a bunyip, and the "most direct evidence of all," which was that of a man named Mumbowran, "who showed several deep wounds on his breast made by the claws of the animal."

The animal was described in this way:

“The Bunyip, then, is represented as uniting the characteristics of a bird and of an alligator. It has a head resembling an emu, with a long bill, at the extremity of which is a transverse projection on each side, with serrated edges like the bone of the stingray. Its body and legs partake of the nature of the alligator. The hind legs are remarkably thick and strong, and the fore legs are much longer, but still of great strength. The extremities are furnished with long claws, but the blacks say its usual method of killing its prey is by hugging it to death. When in the water it swims like a frog, and when on shore it walks on its hind legs with its head erect, in which position it measures twelve or thirteen feet in height." (p.2)

William Buckley is also said to have written about the Bunyip in his 1852 biography about his 30 years of living with the Wathaurong people.  

He wrote:

"in... Lake Moodewarri [now Lake Modewarre] as well as in most of the others inland...is a...very extraordinary amphibious animal, which the natives call Bunyip." ... "I could never see any part, except the back, which appeared to be covered with feathers of a dusky grey colour. It seemed to be about the size of a full grown calf... I could never learn from any of the natives that they had seen either the head or tail."

According to Wikipedia, Buckley also claimed the creature was common in the Barwon River and cites an example he heard of an Aboriginal woman being killed by one. He emphasized the Bunyip was believed to have supernatural powers.