Doesn't time fly! It was a quarter of a century ago - in 1996- that my book, Bunyips and Bigfoots, in search of Australia's mystery animals was published. Since then, it appears to have become a boon to second-hand booksellers. From a recent websearch, I notice that the asking price varies from $50 to $220 US. At least that's lower than the £3000 (pounds, not dollars!) one seller was asking in late 2013. Even I admit that it wasn't worth that much. Never fear, however; I have just published an up-dated second edition at a reasonable price in both print-on-demand paperback and Kindle editions.original, but it is not worth my while to hire a graphic artist.
Introductions to First and Second Editions
1. The Passing of the Bunyips. Everyone knows that the bunyip is the mythical monster of Aboriginal tradition, but what isn't known is that it was taken seriously by white settlers, and sightings were reported by them every 20 or 30 years until the 1970s. This chapter sets out the evidence, and makes some attempt at an explanation.
2. Yes, Virginia, There Are Sea Serpents. A comprehensive catalogue of sea serpent sightings along the Australian coast, along with some anomalous carcasses washed ashore.
3. A Legend Stalks North Queensland. This covers the famous "North Queensland marsupial tiger", which has never been caught, but had actually been listed in two classic Australian mammal guides.
4. The Thylacine Moves to the Mainland. We all know that the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, became extinct in Tasmania last century (or did it?), and it became extinct on the mainland a few thousand years earlier with the arrival of the dingo. What bothers me is that a lot of people are reporting seeing the animal on the mainland - and many of those reports are not so easy to dismiss.
5. The ABC of ABCs. The initials stand for "alien big cats". All over the south and west of the continent, people have been seeing huge cats, regularly reported as black panthers or cougars. Massive stock losses, bearing all the hallmarks of cat attacks, have sparked interest by state parliaments. The material on this topic is extensive, and even this large chapter could not cover it completely.
6. Apes Down Under? This chapter covers the yowie - the "bigfoot" in the title - a huge ape very, very similar to the sasquatch or bigfoot reported in North America. It is something which definitely should not exist in Australia, but the evidence appears to be overwhelming. I started this chapter as a non-believer, and halfway through, I became a believer. .
7. A New Zealand Mystery. This covers the waitoreke, a mysterious small mammal reported from New Zealand for the earliest days - in a country which has no known land mammals.
8. Odds and Ends (Mostly Odds). A miscellany of strange reports, including the Ompax hoax, questionable stories of diprotodonts and giant goannas, and some more credible sightings of crocodiles far south of their normal range. The chapter also includes some extraordinary sightings of animals like nothing on earth.
9. So, Where Do We Go from Here? In this final chapter, I give my opinions as to how unknown animals ought to be investigated in Australia.