Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Burrunjor

I bought a copy of nexus magazine today and after reading several articles, came across an article on the Burrunjor. Now this was my first introduction to the word ever. And I should have come across it long ago. So I was surprised. I suspect that it is also your first introduction.

I learned a long time ago that eyewitness reports must be gathered when a new phenomena arises. In this case, in remote country, we have a full range of reports. I will go further here and state simply that the phenomenon not only exists but is certainly what we think we are seeing.

What is astonishing is that we have not had much more press coverage telling this wonderfully sensational story.

A comparable is Bigfoot which has received continuous coverage for decades.

I admit that like most that I dismissed reports on Bigfoot. Then I investigated. I discovered a library of nearly 10,000 unique sightings that were unmistakable by individuals from all walks and mostly experienced observers in a woodland situation.

What was so shocking to me was that Bigfoot numbers in the thousands and is distributed throughout North America. He avoids easy discovery because his biological niche never clashes with our own. He lives in the forest and avoids clearings and he is primarily nocturnal. Yet he still generated 10,000 sightings

Here we have a theropod distributed in tropical conditions in northern Australia and New Guinea. It is living in refuges caused by the lift of the sea levels ten thousands of years ago. It is the right place and is truly separate from the rest of Asia.

The good news is that he should not be too hard to track down and properly film, with quiet air support. He is not overly aggressive or too quick. He probably hunts by waiting for opportunity and relying on camouflage. Once again this is an expensive proposition to pursue, but will be much easier than Bigfoot.

The Burrunjor

There is an aboriginal legend of a frightening creature called the Burrunjor. The Burrunjor is said to be bipedal and have 2 short, almost useless arms - a good description of a carnivorous theropod.
[i]Rex Gilroy's book, Out of the Dreamtime:

My readers might think I am going “off the deep end” for what I am about to propose, but there has, since long before the coming of White Man, traditions among the Aboriginal tribes of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ to the Gulf Country and Kimberley region, of a ferocious giant reptilian carnivore that roams the landscape day and night in search of food, both animal and human.

Known as ‘Burrunjor’, the mere mention of his name is often guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of any Aboriginal. Yet it is not only Aborigines who have claimed to have seen these monsters, but also many Europeans, stockmen, residents of remote cattle stations and 4-wheel drive travellers.

Burrunjor can best be described as a huge, bipedal-walking reptilian monster. Tyrannosaurus comes to mind. Whatever Burrunjor is, ‘he’ leaves huge three-toed tracks behind him wherever he strides. This is significant, because there have been suggestions that Burrunjor could be based upon the ‘extinct’ giant Australian monitor Lizard, Megalania prisca, which reached up to 30ft [9.14m] and which is almost the height reached by Burrunjors claimed seen by both Aborigines and Europeans.
Out of the Dreamtime – The Search for Australasia’s Unknown Animals” contains three chapters on the subject of giant monitor lizards, not just in Australia, but throughout Australasia. Burrunjor is however, something else, for while even a giant monitor might copy its smaller relatives and adopt a bipedal stance, even to run a short distance, Burrunjor is said to maintain a bipedal stance for considerable distances.
If indeed Burrunjor is a surviving form of dinosaur, ‘he’ belongs to the Theropods, the group of reptilian bipeds that flourished throughout the Cretaceous period, becoming extinct by 65 million or so years ago. Perhaps Burrunjor is a ‘neodinosaur’, that is an evolved latter-day offshoot from this group.

Campfire stories substantiating Aboriginal claims are commonplace across the far north. Back in 1978, a Northern Territory busman and explorer, Bryan Clark, related a story to me of his own that had taken place some years before. While mustering cattle in the Urapunji area, he became lost in the remote wilderness of that part of Arnhem Land. It took him three days to find his way out of the region and back to the homestead from where he originally set out.

He had not known at the time, but his footprints had been picked up and followed by two Aboriginal trackers and a mounted policeman. On the first night of their search they camped on the outskirts of the Burrunjor scrub, even though the two trackers protested strongly against doing so. The policeman hobbled his
horse, cooked their meal, then climbed into his swag and went to sleep.

Later that night the two Aborigines shouting intelligibly and grasping for their packs and saddles suddenly woke him up. The policeman also realised at this moment that the ground appeared to be shaking. Hurriedly getting to his feet, he too gathered up his belongings, and shortly afterwards, the three galloped away. As he told Bryan Clark later at the Urapunji homestead, he had also heard a sound, somewhat like a loud puffing or grunting noise, certainly loud enough to be coming from some large animal.

When asked if he intended to include this incident in his report, he replied he would not because he feared no one would believe him.

The policeman warned Bryan never again to return to that area, because if he got lost there again he’d be “on his own”, as he would not come looking for him! The region’s cave art, thousands of years old, depicts these monstrous animals. Many Aborigines believe these monsters wander back and forth across the Gulf country and Cape York to this day.

Back in 1950, cattlemen lost stock to some mysterious beast that left the mutilated, half-eaten remains of
cows and bulls in its wake over a wide area, stretching between the border country and Burketown. Searchers on horseback found huge reptilian tracks of some bipedal-walking beast. They followed these three-toed tracks with their cattle dogs through some rough jungle terrain until they entered swampland beyond which was more dense scrub.However, it was at this point that the cattle dogs became uneasy and ran off. The horses were also uneasy and obviously did not want to cross the swamp. While most of the cattlemen decided their animals knew best, two men set off on foot with their carbines.

The story goes that they soon came across further tracks in an open area beyond the swamp. While his mate searched about, the other man briefly spotted the dark form of an enormous creature, perhaps 30ft in height, further off in dense timber. The men left the scene in haste.

Johnny Mathews, a part-Aboriginal tracker, claimed to have seen a 25ft tall bipedal reptilian monster, moving through scrub near lagoon Creek on the Gulf coast one day in 1961. “Hardly anyone outside my own people believes my story, but I known what I saw”, he said to me in 1970.In 1985 a 4-wheel drive vehicle and it s family of travellers, the Askeys, heading for Roper River Mission, happened to take a back road for some sightseeing. Just before they were to pull up and turn around to resume their journey to the mission, they all saw, moving together across an open plain some distance away, two bipedal-walking reptilian creatures a good 20ft tall respectively.

“The monsters were a greyish-brown colour and dinosaur-like in appearance. We didn’t wait around”, said the father, Mr Greg Askey.

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