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Melbourne, Australia

The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek

A friendly monster lurks outside the State Library Victoria. 

A mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology is usually found lurking around swamps and riverbeds, but a friendly version, waltzing with his matilda, can be found just outside the State Library Victoria.

There are different tales and versions of similar monsters throughout the Aboriginal tribes of Australia (and Final Fantasy X), but the word “bunyip” comes from the Wemba-Wemba language of the indigenous people from the southeastern corner of the country.

The beast is a popular figure in Australia, but no one has settled on any one representation. The clawed thing is often portrayed a mixture of dogs, alligators, walruses, birds, and other animals.

This particular bunyip, cast at Meridian Foundry in Victoria, is based on the 1973 children’s book The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek, Jenny Wagner’s story of a creature who rises out of the water with no prior knowledge of itself. “What am I?” he asks. After a platypus tells him he’s a bunyip he goes on an adventure to find others like himself.

The sculpture, based on Ron Brooks’ watercolor illustrations, was unveiled in 2012 during the library’s children’s week.