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Giant Mallee Serpent (1847)

Giant Mallee Serpent (1847)

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Published by draculavanhelsing
South Australian 1847 (April 23)
South Australian 1847 (April 23)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on May 26, 2013
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12/06/2013

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South Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1844 - 1851), Friday 23 April 1847, page 4National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71608055
THE
GREAT
SERPENTOP
THENORTHUNTIL
very
lately,
it
was
generallybelievedthattheaboriginal
account
of
an
extraordinary
animal,known
»s
the
Bunyip,
was
entirely
fa-
bulous.Thediscoveryof
a
-skull,
however,
recently
on
the
Loddon,
belonging
to
a
creature
as
yet
unknown
tonaturaiits,
hasin
some
de-greeremovedthat
belief.
Indeed,
there
are
fewwhodo
not
nowas
strenuously
contendthatthe
Bunyip
is
an
existing
and
moving
being,
as
theyformerly
declaredthat
itwas
the
mere
creature
ofthesuperstitionand
phantasy
oftheblack.
Nothing,
therefore,remains
now
toset
the
-
question
finallyatrest
but
to
take
a
living
one.
That,
no
doubt,
willbe
a
matter
of
some
little
difficulty,
especially
if,
assome
who
are
still
scepticalofthe
published
descriptionofhisform
and
make
will
have
it,
he
should
turnoutto
be
"very
like
a
whale
;"
inwhich
case,
thecelebrated
Flying
Dutch-
man,
Withhis
harpoon,
wouldbe
a
wonderful
acquisition
to
hiscaptor.Butthere'is
yet
anotherbrute,ofwhoseexistencetheblacks
are
as
firmly
persuaded
as
of
that
of
theBun-
yip
;
but
as
hisskullhas
not
yet
been
picked
upandsubmitted
to
theinspectionof
a
medicalboard,
we
must
nottoo
hastily
set
himdown
,
amongthethingsthat
live
andbe.The
name
of
thiscreature
is
the
~"
Mindai."
He
is
de-scribed
asa
serpentofimmense
size
andlength,with
a
black
mane,
which,
by
the
bye,N
is
alsobestowed
on
the
Bunyip.
According
to
some
of
our
dark
authorities,
hisgirth
is
thatof
a
good-sizedgum-tree,
andhis
length
thatof
a
spar
fit
forthe
main-topmast
of
a
seventy-four;whileothers,of
a
more
enlarged
conception,declarehim
to
be
like
a
river
ora
road-amethodof
expressing
theirideasof
a
thing
i
without
a
beginning
or
end,
and
this
circum-
stance
hasled
some
persons
to
supposethat
theMindai
is
the'black
fellows'
god
or
devil.It
is
certainthat
they
ascribe
every
evil
thatmay
befall
them
to
hisagency,andthat
theypromise
theirenemiesthat
they
will
endeavour
to
procurehisassistanceineffectingtheir
an*
nihilátion.
These
facts,
however,
do
not
disprove
hisexistence,
or
else
inthat
nations
nave
knelt
down
andworshipped
apesand
storks,
it
must
followthat
they
also
are
beings
ofimagination.
 
It
is
somewhatextraordinary
that
no
black-fellowhas
ever
acknowledged
having
seena
Bunyip
;
theyspeak
bfhimfromtraditionaryaccounts,whilethere
are
manywhodeclareand
will
firmlymaintainthat"theyhaveactually
seen
theMendai.
Fromthedescriptionofsuch
men,
he
is
a
serpent
aboutthe
size
and
shape
of
a
largeboa
constrictor,
with
a
tuft-like
a
bunchof
emu
feathers-on
his
head,andthemajoritypronounce
him
to
beperfectlyharmless.When
in
the
act
ofprogressing,
liecarries
hisheadinthe
airto
the
height
ofthe
shoulders
of
a
middle-sized
man,
looking
aroundhimwith
all
the
stateliness
and
majesty
of
a
serpent
king.Thedarkies
tell
some
ratherout-of-the-way
stories
abouthissagacity,and
are
particularly
emphatic
indescribingthe
affection
ofthe
ladyMindai
forheryoung,
and
inimitatingher
low
whining
cry.
Theplaceofhabitationof
this
interesting
reptile
is
theMariis,
or-asitis
perhaps
more
properlycalledinMrHam's
new
chart-the
Mallee
Scrub.Hisprincipalfood,
they
say,
consistsof
tile
eggsofthe
Lowan,
a
bird
fre-
quenting
tiie
barrenplains
on
andabouttheLower
Murray
;
although,
fromthe
manner
inwhich
they
tell
us
they
manage
to
destroybim,
itseems
thathehas
no
objection
to
kangaroo
rats,
oppossum,
emu,
kangaroo,
orevena
bitof
a
tenderblack
fellow.
Inorder
tokill
him,they
place
food
ofthe
above
description,in
as
largequantities
as
they
can
procure,inhis
way,
andwhenhe
is
completely
surfeited,
they
stickhim
to
the
ground
withlargespearsright
through
him,
and
then
set
fire
to
thesurround-
ing
grassandscrub.And
to
give
an
ideaofhis
size
andstrength,
they
assertthat,
wheninhisagony,helasheshis
tail
on
the
ground,
thestrokesmaybeheardfor
miles
likethereportof
musketry.
It
is
strange
that,
if
such
a
serpent
does
j
exist,
it
should
never
yet
havebeen
seen
by
thewhites.
But
then,
if
hedoes
notexist,
thepertinacityof
so
many
different
blacksin
maintaining
that
they
have
seen
him
is
equallystrange
;
andwhat
is
somewhatinfavorofhisexistence
is,
that
thoseonly
whodo
not
pretend
j
ever
to
have
seen
him,
ascribe
to
himthe
su
{
pernatural
qualities
andpowersabovealluded
to,
and
pourtray
himof
vast
and
boundlessdi-mensions-whilefromthe
lips
ofthosewho

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