Bunyips, serpents & other creatures lurking beneath our waters
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Sea serpents explore Australia’s scenic southern coastline
Following a sighting by two boys in June, two fishermen in a boat 300 kilometres away were terrorised by a sea serpent a month later. They resorted to shooting at it to make good their escape. Nearby, road builders clambered down to the shoreline and attempted to capture the serpent using heavy ropes and a draught horse before deciding it was probably far more sensible to leave the creature be and “not curtail its liberty”.
Sea serpent finds its way into Portland Bay
The Portland Guardian on 24 June 1935, reported, somewhat reluctantly, of a sighting of a sea serpent by two lads at Blacknose Point in Portland, Victoria.
“In Saturday’s Star appears the startling announcement … that a sea serpent has found its way into Portland Bay. We have heard of its appearance, but will give the credit to the Star of vouching for the authenticity.”
“A report from Portland states that while strolling along the beach beyond Blacknose Point one day this week two lads saw what they thought was a school of porpoises. When the object came closer they were so startled they climbed to the higher ground, where they had a better view, and were also further away, because, as they said, ‘They did not know if it had legs.’ The body, it is reported, was a slaty blue colour, from 80 feet to 100 feet long, with a neck between 15 feet and 20 feet long, the head being something the shape of a giraffe’s.
“The head was high in the air, the body had a dorsal fin and a wide tail, something like that of a whale, with serrations on the end, and slaty grey and white stripes along it. The object was travelling parallel with the shore. It then turned and went out to sea. The head and neck were visible high in the air for several miles out. As the tail thumped the water in travelling along, great masses of spray arose.
“Now, one can only wonder where the old gentleman [the serpent] will turn up next,” the article concluded sarcastically. But the sceptical writer of that article would not have to wait long for an answer.
Just over a month later on 31 July, the Morning Bulletin reported on the “well-authenticated” appearance of a sea serpent in the waters off Barwon Heads in Victoria, around 300 kilometres away from the Portland sighting.
The creature was described as combining the characteristics of “a snake, a whale, a sea lion, and a seal, with other features unknown to science”.
“Two Queenscliff fishermen have reported that as they were sailing three miles off Point Lonsdale, yesterday evening, their boat was threatened by an aggressively poised creature 20 feet long and eight feet thick, with a head four times the size of a diver’s helmet, eyes like saucers, a neck three feet long and like a snake’s, and a coat of short, black fur.”
Strange enough for a museum … ugly enough for a nightmare
“One of the fishermen said that they first noticed the monster about three yards from the boat with its head poised in an attitude suggesting an imminent swoop upon them.
“After the first shock of amazement had passed, he picked up a gun and fired, whereupon the creature disappeared, only to return more belligerent than ever.“
The fisherman then took aim at the angry sea serpent once again, but his gun misfired. He then fired a third shot, and the serpent dived into the water.
Happily for the frightened fishermen, they did not see it again.
“I thought we were gone,” the fisherman said. “I do not know what it was, but it was strange enough for a museum and ugly enough for a nightmare.”
Road workers attempt to lasso the monster
The two fishermen were not the only ones to have witnessed the sea serpent off Barwon Heads, according to the same article.
“Road workers about a mile from Barwon Heads attempted early yesterday to capture a creature which they described as about 18 feet long, of a grey colour, with a head and neck like a serpent’s, an enormous mouth, a fur-coated body, and a white-striped chin. It slid from the rocks as they tried to lasso it.”
The Northern Standard, on 2 August 1935, elaborated on the road workers’ foolhardy attempt to capture the unknown animal. “Working on a new road between Barwon Heads and Torquay, workmen looking from the outer cliff saw an extraordinary sea monster. The foreman sent a gang of men to the beach equipped with ropes and a draught horse to capture it. After trying to lasso the monster from a distance they decided not to curtail its liberty. It then waddled into the sea and disappeared. It was about 15 feet long, greyish in colour, snakelike head, enormous mouth, white stripes under the chin, eyes like motor car lamps, and possessed other characteristics unknown to science.”
Probably just as well that their attempt to lasso the creature failed. Perhaps they should’ve settled for a smaller specimen.
Smaller serpent also spotted nearby
A smaller sea serpent was also sighted according to the Central Queensland Herald on 8 August. Could this have been the offspring of the serpent sighted earlier?
“Hard on the heels of the news of the reappearance of the Barwon Heads sea serpent near Queenscliff comes a report from Airey’s Inlet of the appearance of a sea monster, which appears to be a younger and smaller relative of the creature seen at Queenscliff.
“J. Davis, of Airley’s Hotel, who saw it lying on the fringe of the surf, said the body was about 10 or 12 feet long … The head was a light grey in colour, and it had a sparse coat of darker coloured hair. It had big eyes like those of the Queenscliff monster, but there were no stripes on the body. The head was round.”
Following this sighting, it appears these sea monsters headed back out to sea as sightings along the rugged coastline of western Victoria soon dwindled and these unknown creatures were soon forgotten.
Such sea serpent sightings are not unique to the southern waters of Australia, however.
Similar creatures have been sighted off the coasts of Western Australia and Queensland. The carcass of an unknown sea creature was reported to have washed up on the shore at Narooma on the south coast of New South Wales. Interestingly, this was in April of 1935, just two months before the sightings in Victoria.
Read more sea serpent reports, including the Narooma carcass in Bunyips, serpents & other creatures lurking beneath our waters.