Bunyip

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The bunyip or kianpraty[1] is a large mythical creature from 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.[2][3][4] However, the bunyip appears to have formed part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia, although its name varied according to tribal nomenclature.[5] In his 2001 book, writer Robert Holden identified at least nine regional variations for the creature known as the bunyip, across Aboriginal Australia.[4] Various written accounts of bunyips were made by Europeans in the early and mid-19th century, as settlement spread across Australia.

Contents

Meaning

The word bunyip is usually translated by Aboriginal Australians today as "devil" or "evil spirit".[6] However, this translation may not accurately represent the role of the bunyip in Aboriginal mythology or its possible origins before written accounts were made. Some modern sources allude to a linguistic connection between the bunyip and Bunjil, "a mythic 'Great Man' who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals."[7] The word bunyip may not have appeared in print in English until the mid 1840s.[8]

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