The legend of the Bunyip

Bunyip Hotel Cavendish c1860

The Bunyip Hotel, Cavendish, Victoria C1860. THis building was demolished and replaced by the present building in 1938.

THE bunyip is a large creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes.

The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia, and is usually translated to mean “devil” or “evil spirit”.

The folklore has even led to at least two pubs being named after the mythical creatures.

The Bunyip Hotel in the Victorian country township of Cavendish is a single storey rendered brick building. The pub has been located on the same site from the beginnings of the township in the 1840s, and originally traded as an inn at a river crossing.

Situated on the banks of the Wannon River “The Bunyip” is now a community owned hotel with large glass windows and doors overlooking the river.

bunyip hotel

The Bunyip Hotel, Cavendish, 2015. Built in 1938.


An artist impression of a Bunyip


After a lengthy absence the mysterious bunyip has returned to his old abode, the swamp, opposite the Miami Hotel. Probably the flooded flats at Merrimac may have hastened the elusive bunyip’s return to his spacious summer quarters. The nightly boom of the monster is causing mild excitement in this centre.
– South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld) Friday 11 July 1930.
MELBOURNE, Wed. — Australian natives in the Nathalla district have refused to help local police recover the body of a man who was drowned in the Murray River near Barmah last night. The natives told police that they were frightened to swim in the river as an old bunyip lived in the waterhole nearby. The man was Robert Henn (39), barman at the Barmah Hotel. He apparently tripped In the dark and fell into the river. One native said: “Plurry big bunyip live in this river. We no swim.”
– Daily Mercury Thursday 7 December 1950.

Categories: Victoria hotels

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