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The Bunyip

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Photograph Murray Bridge Bunyip Panorama

The Mulyawonk (Bunyip)
Mulyawonk (pronounced Mool-ya-wonk)

To the Ngarrindjeri people the Bunyip is known as the Mulyawonk.

Whilst Mulyawonk Dreaming may vary from Lakalinyeri (clan) to Lakalinyeri (clan), Ngarrindjeri Mulyawonk Dreaming in part says,

In times long ago there lived a Ngarrindjeri Ko:ni  (man)  who was greedy catching far too many fish than he needed to.

The Elders were not happy with this selfish man who did not respect the Ngarrindjeri laws of fishing.

The Elders were so angry with this man that as a punishment they turned him into the Mulyawonk - a half fish, half man creature and banishing him to the river forever.

Ngarrindjeri children are told never to swim alone or to take more fish than you can eat from the river and lakes.

If you do swim alone or are greedy in taking too many fish, then the Mulyawonk will get you.

This story teaches children water safety and respect for the fishes of the River and Lakes.

One home of the Mulyawonk is in a river cave near Tailem Bend.

The word bunyip has its origins from the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia.

It can be said that during European occupation, Aboriginal people warned Europeans of the dangers of river and lake swimming and that certain areas were prohibited to visit, for if you did, you would fall victim to a Bunyip (the Mulyawonk on Ngarrindjeri Ruwi (land)).


 

 

The Murray Bridge Bunyip was built by Dennis Newell and launched in 1972.

For 20 cents the bunyip emerged from below the water a gave a very loud roar - twice. This roar could be heard up to one kilometre away. The ugly looking monster did frighten many small children.

His name was Bert the Bunyip.

The Bunyip was given a baby about 10 years after the launch... Bert then became Bertha.

The sound box has had many problems during its time... at one stage vandals somehow worked out how to jam it so it would continue to roar - often through all hours of the night.

Then the Bunyip and baby were also vandalised and part was broken off.

A quieter, more friendly looking bunyip was built and his cave was revamped in 2000.

The price rose to $1 for three appearances. Following major repairs in 2018 visitor con now view the Bunyip ofr free.

The bunyip recieves in excess of 20,000 visitors per year.

The Murray Bridge Bunyip can be found lurking in his cave today on the banks of the Murray River at Sturt Reserve Murray Bridge

      

The Bunyip

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