Aussie myths and legendary tales

Australia, home to drop bears and Bunyips, kangaroos used as horses and the fabled gold reef just waiting to be found. Whether it is an urban legend (drop bears) or a tale of vast treasures, we have found some of the best legends of this great land.

Lasseter’s Reef

In 1929, Harold Bell Lasseter claimed that he had discovered a vast gold bearing reef in Central Australia. He claimed that he discovered it when he was a teenager journeying by horse from Queensland to the West Australian gold fields. According to his claims, he stumbled across a huge gold reef somewhere near the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Many people were skeptical. In part by Lasseter changing his story numerous times, waiting 30 years to make the claim and reports that he was not even in the area as a teenager.

In 1930 he succeeded in securing funding to set off on an expedition to re discover the reef. Unfortunately the expedition encountered numerous problems and never found any evidence of a reef of gold. Lasseter took off into the desert with two camels and was never seen alive again.

While many people have debunked the legend, it has still inspired countless adventurers to explore Central Australia in search of the long lost gold.

Kilcoy Yowie

In December 1979, two students who were camping in Sandy Creek reported being confronted by a two to three metre brown-haired creature. The teens said the beast took giant thumping strides which could be heard hundreds of metres away.

Sightings of Yowies are scattered throughout Australia history and there are even reports of the same kind of creature being spotted in a number of countries across the world. In America they call it Sasquatch or Big Foot and in the Himalayas it is called a Yeti or Abominable Snowman. 

As for the Kilcoy Yowie? Many other residents claimed to have seen the Yowie but there is no conclusive evidence. The town has embraced the legend and built a Yowie Park and a Yowie statue. You can even buy a Yowie coffee!

Gippsland phantom cat

Some people believe that there are very large pumas living in the Gippsland region of southeastern Victoria. Pumas are a type of cougar that are only found in America. So, how did one end up here?  Like all good legends there are a couple of stories. 

In World War II, American airman brought over a number of pumas to be their mascots. When they were all returning home at the end of the war they released the cat’s into the Grampians national park.

The large cats are descendants of animals which escaped from a travelling zoo or circus. Pumas were kept as pets by gold miners in the 1850’s gold rush.

Whatever version you prefer, there have been hundreds of reported sightings over the decades. But, like all great stories there is yet to be conclusive proof.  

Mystery coins of Marchinbar

In 1944, nine coins were discovered at Djinjan Creek on Marchinbar Island in East Arnhem land Northern Territory.  These were not just any coins though. Four of the coins were identified as Dutch duits dating from 1690 to the 1780’s. But, it was the other five that proved to be an exciting discovery. These five coins had Arabic inscriptions and were identified as being from the Kilwa Sultanate of East Africa. 

To date these coins have been the oldest foreign artefacts found. Some historians believe their existence on Aussie soil could mean that Europeans were trading with First Nations peoples long before the first documented arrival of Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon in 1606. 

The coins are currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Fun fact – Kilwa sultanate coins have only been found in two other locations outside of their original home of Tanzania. Once in Zimbabwe and once in Oman. To get to Australia, these coins travelled over 8000kms!

Read more about the coins

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