Northam Monster
Hunt for River "Monster."

The West Australian (Perth, WA)
Date: January 15, 1929
Page Number: 12
NORTHAM, Jan. 14.—

Excitement was caused in Northam when it was reported that, a strange creature had been seen on two or three successive nights in the Avon River, near the Central Bridge. Some persons declared that a small alligator had been observed on a sandbank, while it was seriously stated in other quarters that there was a shark in the river. The general inclination is to ridicule the idea, and the suggestion has been made that an unusually large iguana has been the cause of the excitement. The police attach some significance to the stories, as efforts were made by them about 1 o'clock this morning to locate the alleged shark, and during to-day a constable patrolled the vicinity of the Central Bridge with a rifle. To-night it is intended to make a further hunt for the "monster.
Strange Animals
crocs_wa.jpg saltwatercrocodile__maximo__.jpg
Saltwater Crocodile
northam_monster001024.jpg northam_monster001023.jpg
Bull Shark & distribution
northam_monster001022.jpg northam_monster001021.jpg
Sand Goanna & distribution
In some Aboriginal languages, the sand goanna is called Bungarra, a term commonly used by non-aboriginal people in Western Australia, too.
Police Hunt Fails
The Daily News (Perth, WA)
Date: January 15, 1929
Page Number: 1
NORTHAM, Tuesday.

This morning the "monster" in the Avon River had not been caught. Last night hundreds of people lined the river banks and bridges and watched the police trying to locate it. Although the animal was seen at intervals, the hunt met with no success. People who have seen the "monster" state that it is about five feet long, and the police seem to think that it is a bungarra and could not posibly be a crocodile.
Hunt for Monster Continues.
The West Australian (Perth, WA)
Date: January 16, 1929
Page Number: 14
NORTHAM, Jan. 15.—

The hunt for the mysterious "monster" in the Avon River was continued to-night by the police. Half of the inhabitants of the town lined the banks above the weir where the creature, which is thought to be an alligator, was reported to have been seen several times. Inspector Jonson, who saw it last night, said that it was about 8ft. long. Several theories to explain the presence of an alligator in the river have been advanced. A man taking kangaroos, emus and other animals from the north to the South Perth Zoological Gardens recently camped for a night in Northam and it is thought he may have had an alligator which escaped. The Zoo authorities have no record of alligators being brought down by that man. Another theory is that an alligator egg carried down by an employee of the Wyndham meat works might have hatched.
Northam's Elusive Monster
The West Australian (Perth, WA)
Date: January 16, 1929
Page Number: 1
NORTHAM, Wednesday.

The police met with no furtner success last night in hunting for the "monster" in the Avon River. Great excitement prevails here and hundreds of townspeople lined the river banks again last night, some staying until the early hours of the morning.
The animal was seen again about 11.30 p.m. by Inspector Johnson, who estimates its length to be about eight feet. Complete mystery surrounds the whole affair, and it is thought that someone from the North must have placed it in the river bed when a baby or when in the egg stage. It was first seen by Mrs. Whitworth, on Saturday at 6 p.m. The police state that they will continue to make every effort to capture it.
Search for the "Monster."
The West Australian (Perth, WA)
Date: January 18, 1929
Page Number: 18
NORTHAM, Jan. 17.

The identity of the mysterious creature which many people claim to have seen in the Avon River, near the central bridge, remains as obscure as ever.
The inclination to treat the whole matter as a hoax is difficult in face of the obvious conviction of the Inspector of Police that he has seen the "monster," and his determination to make the utmost efforts to capture it.

Last night, the police used a boat to cruise around the small islands in the river in search of the creature, and to-night it is their intention to make a similar effort. Apparently, the object of the hunt does not make itself evident during the day.
Seen Every Night
The Daily News (Perth, WA)
Date: January 18, 1929
Page Number: 6
NORTHAM, Friday.

No further developments have taken place with regard to the unidentified monster in the Avon River. People still flock to the river-side hoping to catch a glimpse of it. The creature has been seen nearly every evening since Sunday, but no one has seen it for a time sufficiently long enough to describe it. Inspector Johnson is emphatic in his belief that there is something unusually large in the river and he contends that it would be foolhardy for anybody to go swimming in the locality.
Weird Theories About Strange Creature In River

Mirror (Perth, WA)
Date: January 19, 1929
Page Number: 1
"Have you seen our crocodile?" That's the chief question at Northam. If it isn't a crocodile, it may be a shark, or an alligator, or a swordfish, but whatever it is, it's scared everybody from the river and given rise to all sorts of weird stories. But despite fishermen, guns and police officials, it hasn't been caught yet, and in the meantime every day finds it of bigger dimensions and a more horrible appearance in the highlycolored stories that are being told. Northam's crocodile is the biggest thrill it's had for years.

Some years ago a learned professor of the Smithsonian Institute of U.S.A., visited Western Australia and stated that the fauna and flora of the State were absolutely of the oldest type known to botanists. Whilst visiting these districts, he wrote, he would not he surprised if a dinosaurus or some prehistoric animal had suddenly appeared in the maze of blackboy and paper bark trees.

Northam, after the discovery made earlier this week is a bit inclined to think it has some such animal in the peaceful Avon. Some days ago the alarm was spread that there was a gigantic aquatic monster in the river at Northam which was a source of danger to the public. As a result all the small boys studiously avoided bathing, and their elders quickly followed suit. The police took a hand and Inspector Johnson, a very level-headed and calm official, personally investigated and definitely reported that he had eeen something resembling an aligator or crocodile swimming in the river, and police, including black trackers, were sent out armed to capture or kill the monster. The peculiar point is that this demon of the river never APPEARED DURING THE DAY with his favourite times of exhibition being from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.

"The Mirror" representative visited the scene a number of times and the tales he heard were wide and varying. The first reputedly to see the monster was a lady from the "Emerald Isle'' where snakes are not, and she em- phatically declared "that the big monster was thirty-five feet long with a big tail." Since then almost everybody in Northam seems to have had a peep and the dimensions of the freak now range from five to thirty-five feet in length. Sometimes it is equipped with a crocodile's head, sometimes it is like a shark, and sometimes it has a horrible snout like a pig, while one wild man from the mulga distinctly declared it had stripes. In connection wtih the last-named gentleman, however, it is only fair to mention that he comes from a place rarely visited by the liquor inspector.

All sorts of suggestions have been made to clear up the mystery. "The Mirror" investigator joined in the vigil by the river bank one night this week. Several local residents, armed for emergencies patrolled the bank, but little happened. Occasionally the moon's rays picked out various things in the river and gave snags and other objects an unusual appearance. A stray fish rose to the surface now and again but the only IMPRESSIVE DISTURBANCE was about 2 a.m. when what was apparently a big fish dispersed itself. But even that could not be likened to a monster of the deep.

One Northam man, an ardent Salvationist by the way, declares that he has seen the thing fifteen times and has shot, at it nine times, hitting it twice, only to see the shots glance off. The Avon has been subjected to a nightly barrage by amateur marksmen with no better result. In the meantime some absurd theories have been ventilated in the dailies and elsewhere. One suggestion is that some traveller from the north carelessly LEFT A CROCODILE EGG near the river and it hatched. Apart from the improbability of an egg hatching under such circumstances the supporters of this, theory don't seem to realise that it would take years for a baby croc to attain the dimensions this monster is reported to possess. Another wild idea was that the thing had been brought overland and escaped, but in opposition to this it might be mentioned that people aren't in the habit of driv- ing crocodiles overland like jumbacks!

However, the fact remains that the police have taken the matter seriously and advised people to REFRAIN FROM BATHING in the river. This supported by other level-headed citizens proves that there is something unusual in the Avon. But the odds are all against crocodiles, according to authoritative opinion. The simple theory is that this creature is either an abnormally-sized cod of the type to be caught in the Avon, or a big monitor lizard— that is, in common phraseology, a goanna. In the water— and goannas can swim —the latter would much resemble a crocodile as the accompanying picture shows, and if the Northam monster is caught it may possibly prove to be not a shark, crocodile or dinosaurus, but a hefty goanna. In the meantime the police have done the right thing in
counselling caution, but a lot of other people have done anything but the light thing in giving publicity to all sorts of silly stories of weird monsters hatched from eggs left by the wayside or of crocodiles let loose by an overlander from the crocodile-infested pools of the North.
HERE IS A PICTURE of a cod caught in the Avon. Some people are inclined to the opinion that a big fish of this type is causing tbe scare to the river.
A NOR'-WEST CROCODILE. Accord- ing to those who have seen both in rivers, a big goanna in the Avon might be responsible for the crocodile scare at Northam.

Sunday Times (Perth, WA)
Date: January 20, 1929
Page Number: 6 S
Poetry on the Northam Monster.

The Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express (WA)
Date: January 25, 1929
Page Number: 6
Certainly the bottom of the recent sensation caused by the discovery by several people in Northam that the Avon River contains a "monster" will be found to be a desire by the crafty citizens of Northam to attract attention to their town during the Centenary year. It is all very well for them to protest that the "monster" spoils bathing; the fact remains that Northam will become an immense resort for tourists while this mystery remains. Nothing so attracts visitors as a peg upon which to hang their imaginations. The "Northam River Mystery" is a base attempt to attract visitors to Northam, to the detriment of the capial of the South-West. Unfortunately it is useless to fully investigate the scare, for the more interest that is excited in the matter, the more will Norham prosper. The only thing for Bunbury to do is to discover a similar monster.
That "Monster"

Sunday Times (Perth, WA)
Date: January 27, 1929
Page Number: 6 S
Apparently the hue and cry for the "monster" lurking in the depths of the Avon River at Northam has fizzled out, although bathers are still dubious about entering the water. Last week, a visitor to Northam was informed that the alleged bungarra, Bunyip, or pterodactyle was is reality no more than a number of closely-bunched dabchicks. These birds often move in mass formation and in the dim twilight might easily be mistaken for some aquatic freak. "However," the speaker added significantly, "the more the festive season recedes, the less intelligent on the subject do those that conjured up the vision of the mysterious monster become.