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"River Terror" - The Lowood Bunyip
Strange Animals
 
 
Hoaxes & Pranks
03-01-2013
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?l-textSearchScope=*ignore*%7C*ignore*&exactPhrase=Brisbane+river&l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*&fromyyyy&q¬Words&anyWords=shark+crocodile+alligator+bunyip+monster&tomm&toyyyy&todd&frommm&fromdd&sortby=dateAsc&l-category=Article&s=600
Reported Monster in the Brisbane River.
A GREAT HOAX.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser (Qld.)
Date: September 6, 1898
Page Number: 7
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September 4.
     The excitement and amusement created by the bunyip hoax on Friday have not yet subsided and the sayings of those who were determined to capture the monster cause no end of merriment. There were about ten men of K company present with forty rounds of ball cartridges and about twenty of the young men round here (seven with shot guns), while others (on hearing the first volley fired at the river) made haste to the scene of action, bent on having a view of the leviathan. The excitement was intense. The independent firing continued until the halliards or ropes attached to the "creature" were cut and then the boat was manned and the shooters made towards the supposed dying bunyip. On their near approach, however, the remaining rope was pulled by the unseen operator and the crew of the boat paused, some saying, "Look out ! don't let us get too close, for we do not know what he may do." A hurried consultation resulted in their deciding to let the monster have another volley to make quite sure. The deed was done and the boatsmen then got near the object of their pursuit and pulled it on board, when they were surprised to find that lately "terriblemonster" was, as one remarked, "only a b——y box !" Those who had before held back, being rather afraid, now, on hearing that the "monster" was dead, drew near to the boats and the surprise of the assembled crowd was very amusing. The "bunyip" was on view at the Lowood Railway Station yesterday. It is about 5ft. long (tail included) with a head like that of a good sized calf, covered with swanskin, black leather being over its nose. The tail was made of swanskin and grey wallaby skin, and the ears of wallaby skin, with wire appliances to keep the ears stiff. The "body" was simply an old wooden case. At the railway station, on the arrival of the trains, a general move of the passengers was made to view the "bunyip," and it is the talk of the whole district. Some say that one resident of the Pocket had offered £40 for the capture of the monster that was reported to be seen in the river some months ago, when the calves were being missed. A report was also rife that the Government were willing to give £200 for the monster, for the Museum, and there were several disputes, before the finale as to how these rewards were to be shared by the armed and unarmed hunters of "the River Terror."
     Nothing in the hoax line that has happened here has caused so much laughter for many a year.
 
 
(FROM OUR LOWOOD CORRESPONDENT.)
September 1.
     Ever since last flood, rumours have been prevalent that there was some animal of the alligator species in the river here. Several fishing parties have reported being disturbed by the appearance of the monster, demon, or whatever it was, which scared the piscators so much that they retired in much haste and trepidation. Others have said that the animal was seen to come out of the river at night and attack cattle grazing on the bank. One report was to the effect that a calf was, on one occasion, carried bodily into the water and devoured. The monster was described by some who saw it as being something similar to a Newfoundland dog with a ferocious head and large tusks. Others affirmed that it had wings or large fins and yet resembled an alligator in its motions when on dry land. If it could only be located it was the determination of numerous residents to destroy the brute. When seen, however, no firearms were in the hands of the surprised beholders. Last Thursday night, a party of 'opossum-shooters when near the river were surprised to see the monster floating in the river, and only too glad of the opportunity of distinguishieg themselves by clearing the river of the "devourer," they fired ten shots which did not prevent the "bunyip" from speeding away up the river to the long waterhole opposite Lindermann's cultivation. The monster having thus been located the night of Friday last was fixed for a party to effect its destruction. The appointment was made for 5 p.m., and the "vigilance committee" were to assemble at the Lowood School of Arts. About twenty of the residents (armed with guns), together with Constable Fagg and others, accordingly met at the "trysting-place" and determined to get to the scene of action with as little delay as possible. A move was accordingly made to the bottom of Mr. Lindermann's paddock on the river bank, and, after the party had traversed the bank some half hour or so, one of the scouts reported seeing a dark moving object on the other side of the river on a large log. The object had scarcely been noted when it jumped or dived off the log with considerable noise and splashing, and came towards the party bent upon its destruction. As it rapidly and fearlessly approached, some who were rather timid were for firing and scaring the monster off, but the leader of the party counselled them to reserve their fire until a nearer approach of the creature. The right time having arrived the order was given, and a volley from the party was fired at the approaching object. Another volley was next poured in, with shots at intervals of a few minutes until the advance of the monster was stayed and the body seemed to float away up the stream. The firing brought quite a crowd of the principal residents on the scene, and a boat was soon manned to follow the carcase of the supposed dead bunyip. The party in the boat on nearing the unknown, fired once more, and then secured the floating body. Loud cries of "Have ye got him?" "Is he dead?" "Get him to land?" &c. were directed to the party in the boat who were hauling aboard the river monster. It was soon found to the disgust of the slayers, that the bunyip wore make up. The skin of a wallaby had been stuffed over an empty wooden case and an ingenious arrangement of corde fixed so that the "demon" could be pulled through the water. This was rather a "sell" for many persons who thought that "behemoth" was genuine, and the affair has caused a lot of fun.
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Bunyip
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Lindemanns in their car c 1908
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aka School of Arts
Lowood Railway Station
THE "BUNYIP."
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald &
General Advertiser (Qld.)
Date: September 15, 1898
Page Number: 2
A well known fisherman and farmer says that the "bunyip hoax" was all very funny, but he is confident that there is something in the river yet; as, while fishing, he has seen the creature, and it was his opinion that more will be heard of it. Others also aver that the "real M'Kie" is still alive and living in the river, and several persons have got their eyes open, and mean to capture the "monster" before long.
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FISH ALIVE, OH !
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald &
General Advertiser (Qld.)
Date: June 20, 1899
Page Number: 2
The want of a fishmonger in Lowood has been felt since the time of the bunyip, but now Mr. Domrow has got two boats, two nets, and an assortment of lines. He commenced fishing last week, and means to continue the business. Fresh fish can now be had by all who desire them, and the local fisherman is likely to be well supported.
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Wm. HAIGH & Co.,
AUCTIONNERS, LAND AGENTS, FINANCIAL AGENTS.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald &
General Advertiser (Qld.)
Date: June 30, 1903
Page Number: 10
...
Near the historic site of the Battle of the Bunyip on the Brisbane River, an Irrigation Dairy Farm of abdut 150 Acres, complete with Houses, Farm Buildings, Implements, and Irrigation Plant. A live-going concern, in full profit, with plenty of Dairy Cattle. A money-making concern.
...
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Lowood Aquatic Sports.
A SUCCESSFUL GATHERING.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser (Qld.)
Date: January 29, 1907
Page Number: 4
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Aquatic sports eventuated at Lowood yesterday. A magnificent reach of the Brisbane River, about a mile out of the township, was the scene of the carnival. The idea of holding the sports was first mooted by Mr. H. P. Somerset. M.L.A., who, for the past few years, has conducted competitions of the same kind in his district, with very successful results. Having considered the proposal that similar contests should be held at Lowood, the Lowood Progress Association wisely acted upon Mr. Somerset's suggestion, and the function yesterday was a very creditable culmination of their energetic efforts—especially the endeavours of the secretary, Mr. F. Woodward, and of Mr. Somerset, who was also present. The weather was all that could be desired from a spectators' point of view, but the westerly wind that prevailed throughout the day was not relished by the swimmers when they were out of the water. The programme was a varied one, providing much that could be appreciated from an athletic standpoint, and also much that afforded amusement to the spectators. In the morning there was only a fair attendance, perhaps owing to the fact that the day was not recognised as a public holiday at Lowood. In the afternoon, however, the assemblage was augmented until both banks of the river presented a scene of animation and excitement. A very conspicuous competitor was Mr. W. S. Lyon, who, despite the fact that he is a middle-aged man, was in the water almost the whole day. The tub race (for which specially-made, wooden tubs were supplied by Mr. Somerset) was exceedingly mirth-provoking while the futile efforts of a number of the competitors to climb the greasy pole were "sympathised with" by the spectators, who indulged in loud laughter. "Shooting the bunyip" also evoked many audible smiles. The bunyip consisted of a figure, representing some kind of animal, whlich was allowed to float down the river, when, suddenly, a terrific explosion took place, which created a good deal of sensation, and subsequently much amusement. It appears that those in charge of the arrangements had placed a good charge of dynamite in the interior of the "animal," and, by means of a long fuse, the dynamite was evectually ignited. To make the shooting of the "beast" more realistic several persons were stationed on the bank opposite the "Bunyip." These marksmen blazed away at the advancing "creature" until, when the fuse was seen to be smoking, it was found that the "animal" had been hit. However, it still showed signs of "life," and "raced" down mid-stream, when it suddenly departed into space.
...
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Henry Plantagenet Somerset
(19 May 1852 – 11 April 1936)

... is the politician after whom the Somerset Region in South East Queensland is named. Somerset was a liberal politician who represented the State electoral district of Stanley in South East Queensland in the Legislative Assembly from 1904 to 1920, and canvassed successfully for the extension of the railway through the Brisbane River Valley to the rich timber reserves in the Blackbutt Range and beyond. Both the Somerset Dam and the local government region of Somerset are named in his honour.
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MONSTER IN BRISBANE RIVER.

Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld.)
Date: September 8, 1923
Page Number: 14
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Considerable excitement was evinced by the Lowood residents by reports, ever since the big flood of 1893, of the existence in the Brisbane River of a huge Guarian of the alligator species. Some, who saw it, said it was a bunyip. The excitement became intense. Ten members of the company with 40 rounds of ball cartridges, were on the scene waiting for a chance of pulverislng the monster. About 20 residents, each armed with guns, together with the constable in charge of the district, were all assembled at the spot where its presence had been previously noted, and the vigilance committee were on the alert, when the presence of the monster was discovered. It jumped or dived off the log with considerable noise and splashing, making in the direction of the party bent on its destruction. At what was thought the supreme moment the leader of the party gave the order to fire a volley at the approaching object; and the body seemed to float up the stream apparently killed. A boating party was launched to bring in the monster, but before making the final attack an other volley was poured into the carcass. On hauling the quarry ashore, it was found, to the disgust of the slayers, that the bunyip was a make-up, the skin of a wallaby having been nailed over an empty wooden case, and an ingenious arrangement of cords fixed so that the "demon," could be pulled through the water. It was splendidly put together, with a head like that of a good-sized calf, about 5 feet long. The affair caused a lot of fun.
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MAKING FUN.
Old Days at Lowood.
"BUNYIP" THAT CREATED INTERSTATE INTEREST.

Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld.)
Date: January 1, 1940
Page Number: 4
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LOWOOD. December 31.
     Pranks at Lowood in the olden days are often recalled when old residents get together for a chat. In the old days young men largely had to depend upon their own efforts for entertainment, and there are some extraordinary examples of the result of their ingenuity in this respect.
     The employees had been in the habit of blowing the old butts at the saw mills in halves before putting them on the saw bench. For this they used blasting powder. Some of the boys procured a piece of piping and plugged it at one end. The powder was then put in and the other end plugged. A hole was bored through the plug, and a good long fuse was put in. The piping was then pulled up into a tree in Goos's paddock, and fastened. This was all done at night when the town was celebrating a wedding. Those in the joke then lit the fuse and ran for their lives. The whole township was astirred by a terrible report. Pieces of iron flew in all directions; some were carried for chains away. No-one could throw any light on the causes of the happening. It was a long time afterwards that the true story became known.

"BUNGERS" CAUSE STIR.

     At the Lowood Railway Station it was always the habit of some of the settlers to congregate in the waiting room after the train had gone through about 7.30 each night. The Station Master was away, and the two officers who were on duty at sight (one a lad porter), devised a way to end the nightly gatherings, and an effective trap was laid. An order was sent to town for four of the biggest crackers that could be bought. Specimens of about 1ft. long arrived. Four holes were bored through the wall under the seat. The gravel under the seat was loosened and the crackers were buried with the fuses out through the wall. Sand and gravel were thrown over the "bungers" and the usual pow-wow was awaited. It happened to be a stormy night, and when the conversation was at its height and the roll of the thunder [???] heard, one of the railwaymen crept, round and put a match to the fuses. When the first one went off the gravel and sand flew in all directions. Those on the seat sprang into the air, and turned to see what had happened, only to receive in the faces the sand and gravel from the second cracker. None waited to see what happened to any more crackers. Investigation next morning showed plenty of waste paper that had been blown to bits. Legal proceedings were threatened against the offender and a report was made that the station had been shifted from its blocks, a distance of 6in. After investigation the victims of the affair were told that they really should not be on railway property if they were not on business. When the regular Station Master re- turned he quietly told them they were trespassing, and no further action was taken. Needless to say the station officials were never worried again.

STORY OF A BUNYIP.

     Lowood had its bunyip once. Even now, after 40 years, this is still a good story. News had been circulated that some strange creature in the Brisbane River was taking Mr. John Roulston's calves and no one could account for their disappearance. A watch was kept and nothing definite could be established. Someone started a story that a creature known as a bunyip was pulling animals into the river when they went to drink; but no-one knew what a bunyip was like. The whole thing was a mystery and something had to be done about it. The queer animal was seen at Wivenhoe, Lowood, and Fernvale, and no-one could really explain what it was like. One night some opossum shooters, accompanied by Mr. C. H. D. Lindemann. were walking along the river bank near Lowood when they sighted what appeared to be the bunyip crossing the river. It certainly splashed into the river and it could be seen crossing. Strange to say it was only seen at night. Shots were fired at it, but with no result. The whole district was soon agog with the excitement of the hunt, and a reward of £200 was offered for the creature that took calves. People even came as far as Marburg to try to catch this elusive creature. There was talk of running a special train from Ipswich some time when the hunt was on. Some one came from the river and said the creature had been seen and an organised hunt was arranged. The Drill Hall was raided for rifles and ammunition. Every gun available was soon in use, and a start was made for the river, the party being in charge of the officer of the K Company, Moreton Regiment. All the townspeople followed in the wake of the army to see the kill. When they arrived at the spot suggested, they were all considering what was the best course of procedure when a splash was heard. Mr. Lindemann, who was again in the party, gave orders to fire a volley into the animal, and it went across the river. It kept on going, however, and independent firing was carried out.
     Good things only last a limited time, however. Someone cut the wire with a shot that pulled this strange animal across the river and the story was out. It was a gigantic hoax that had a mixed reception. When fuller investigation was made it was found that the leader of the volley party, Mr. C. H. D. Lindemann, was the perpetrator. The bunyip was a box covered with wallaby hide, with swansdown ears and sole leather sewn on for its nose. It was made by Hesers. Lindemann and K. Smythe, Mr. Smythe being a bootmaker. The only other person in the joke, apart from those operating the device was the police sergeant at Lowood. The "bunyip" was fastened to a wire across the river, on an angle, and was worked by a device and pulleys by Mr. F. Smythe behind a gum tree on Vernor's side and by Mr. Jack Lindemann on the Lowood side. The men working the pulleys were high up on the bank and out of harm's way. Mr. Arthur Nunn also knew a good deal of the arrangements. The "bunyip" was brought to Lowood and lay at the railway station. Its badly riddled body was viewed by hundreds; many photographs were taken and all southern papers gave it widespread publicity. Mr. Lindemann said that many cuttings from southern papers made interesting reading; but they were all destroyed in a fire at Lowood some years ago. Lowood's "bunyip" was the most talked of thing for some time. If Lowood had not been on the map before, it certainly was then.
     Mr. C. H. D. Lindemann still enjoys telling the story. He said after that he got the blame for everything that happened whether be knew anything about it or not.
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Herman Lindemann
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John Roulston
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Lowood's first volunteer infantry corps was formed in 1892 as K Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Moreton Regiment, Queensland Defence Force.
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Arthur Nunn

I was told that Arthur Nunn was a bit of a lad when he was young. This I cannot vouch for as I knew him when I was in state school and he was in his late sixties and early seventies. Still, all the time I knew him he walked with a brisk stride and a jaunty air while wearing his hat at a rakish angle. So at least the signs were still there. . . He was a hard, reliable worker who was in demand, especially as a worker in timber. It didn’t matter if it was cabinetmaking, carpentry, or boat building. He was, after all, a master at bush carpentry, building things such as split paling fences that were works of art that many people came to look at.
"... many photographs were taken and all southern papers gave it widespread publicity."
 
Photographs of the "bunyip" have yet to surface while a search of Trove shows that no southern newspapers reported the Lowood bunyip-hoax story.
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