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In Search of

The Bunyip of the Billabong

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Placed: 9-23-03
Placed By: WWW (Formerly known as Chuck and Molly)
Location: Mansfield, Connecticut, Tolland County
Rated: Easy to find with compass knowledge

Round trip walk is about .75 mile

Head northeast on route 89 going away from the intersection of route 89 and 195 in Mansfield Center. You quickly come to a sharp left curve. Here is where you turn and go onto Clark Street. Go down Clark Street .2 mile, passing Edgerton and Edgewood Lane on the right and Crest Road on the left. You will see a small pull off area on your left. Here is where you park. This area is known as the Bradley Buchanon Woods. Follow the trail up the hill and quickly come to an intersection. Take the trail that goes east. After going 33 steps, take a look at the great example of a kettle hole on your left. It looks like a large crater. A kettle hole is a hollow created when buried blocks of glacier ice melt out. Kettle holes are formed by blocks of ice that are separated from the main glacier as the glacier melted back. The isolated blocks of ice then become partially or wholly buried in outwash. When the ice blocks eventually melt they leave behind holes or depressions. There are quite a few examples in this preserve. Continue along the trail and keep going straight. Go NE with the trail down the hill into the land of the bunyips. Cross the wooden bridges being careful of any bunyips that may be lurking around. The pond on the left is actually a kettle pond. (A kettle hole filled with water). The trail will come out to a sideways Y intersection. You are now in an area known as Echo Woods. Take the trail south. You will soon pass a small trail going off to your left with a white blaze. Very quickly after that you come to a wider trail. At the corner of the trail is a white arrow painted on one pine tree and a white wooden arrow nailed on another tree. Go to the tree with the painted white arrow. Standing right next to the tree, take a reading of 120 degrees. Walk 33 steps off the trail in that direction. Right behind a very small mound of dirt, covered with cut wood and sticks hides the object you are pursuing.

What is a Bunyip? What is a billabong?

First I guess I should explain what a billabong is. A billabong is an Australian word meaning a pool or lagoon left behind in a river or in a branch of a river when the water flow ceases. Billabongs are often formed when floodwaters recede. The word comes from the south-western New South Wales indigenous language Wiradhuri: bila ‘river’ + bang ‘continuing in time or space’. First recorded 1836. Now, to try to describe a bunyip. The bunyip is one of the most famous creatures in Australia’s myths and legends. The name comes from the aboriginal word meaning "devil" "or spirit". The aborigines say that the bunyip was around during the time they say man and animals were made. They call this period the dreamtime. It is a freshwater animal that lurks in the creeks, riverbeds, billabongs swamps and waterholes. The bunyips come out at night and emit a terrifying bellow. They will kill any man or beast that pass by. It is said that they are particularly fond of women and children as a meal. There is not one good description of a bunyip. There are many good descriptions. The problem is, they are all different. They range from a huge snake, a hippopotamus like creature, or something like a gorilla. Some have horns, scales fins or feathers or a combination of the above. If you can think of a monster, someone has already called it a bunyip. The theory I like best is that it is based on a diprotodon. The diprotodon lived in Australia with the aborigines. It supposedly became extinct over 20;000 years ago. The diprotodon was about the size of a hippopotamus and was the largest marsupial that ever lived. Bones have been found with butchering marks on them from the aborigines cutting them up most likely for food. It is believed that this tremendous beast was remembered and it’s description was passed on and embellished over the centuries. The arrival of the white settlers, the aborigines told their stories about the bunyip. In the early 1800s there were many sightings reported to the newspapers of settlers encounters with this beast. Parents used this fear to keep their children in line by warning them that the bunyip wold get them . It then took on a boogey man type roll. Reports continued and had a great resurgence in the depression of the 1930s. Although some still believe in the bunyip, it is mostly now more of a legend or myth. The bunyip is today a very popular legend in Australia. The word bunyip can be seen associated with businesses, places, and events. It has become a kind of cartoon character. While doing research on this creature that I had never heard of before, I was very surprised to find how much the bunyip has blended into Australian society. For more information about the bunyip, try these links:

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