Bunyip (from Australian National Library collection)

With an upcoming Victor Cub Scouts Grey Wolf walk planned along Bulimba creek, it was thought some local history might be a useful reflection. In the process we uncovered the legend of the Bulimba Creek Bunyip…


Many years ago, before the lands of Mansfield, Carindale and Belmont were populated with houses they were set aside for grazing of cattle, and the growing of sugar cane. To support this work in the suburb of Carindale and along the shores of the creek that passed through the area was an abattoir for the preparing of meat for the inhabitants of the new town of Brisbane’s consumption. The by products of which drew various carrion and scavenger animals, including the Bunyip. 

Many at this time thought the legend of the Bunyip from the indigenous peoples of the surrounding areas to be something to frighten small children into emptying the chamber pots at night and not to ask for an extra serving of bread and dripping at dinner time. 


Bunyip skull by Henry Dowling, John MurrayReproduced from The Tasmanian Journal of Natural Scienc

Around this time the founding mayor of the City of Brisbane, William Jolly had a prized bull that was to be put out for stud along the creek. This bull was amongst the largest ever seen, with the Brahmin bull not yet being seen on our fair shores. You see this was around the beginning of Australia’s reputation as a legendary cattle producer. By all accounts the bull was a productive member of the herd, however as fate would have it it simply disappeared one day. 

All the known cattle rustlers of the day were rounded up in an effort to locate the prize bull, however to no avail. It is though that it was at this time that the most dangerous cattle rustlers made their escape, including the famous Captain Thunderbolt who fled to the interior around the granite belt and Tenterfield regions.

In due course the remains of the bull were found down near the bank of the creek, after some loud noises were heard one night . Of course no one approached, for fear of the legend of the terrible Bunyip had again gained prominence. A young boy named Arthur Scurr (who went on to start a well known hardware store) was said to have seen a terrible creature whilst fishing by the shores of the creek the day before and he bravely approached the scene the next day.

Bull in Bunyip” he declared to all that would listen and this soon became accepted fact  as the remains when finally examined bore the marks of huge teeth upon it. By and by the story faded somewhat and the fishing area became known as ‘Bull in Bunyip’ to the local boys. Eventually as all boys do, they grew up, some becoming future civic leaders, when the area formally became part of the City of Brisbane. That favourite fishing hole, which is still there today (for those that dare look), became known simply as Bull-in-Ba  and the creek that flowed through it eventually becoming known as Bulimba creek.

And so this is the story of how Bulimba creek got its name, by way of a big load of bull!


Scurr brothers –  http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2006/05/19/1641487.htm

Mayors of Brisbane – https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/council-information-rates/council-history/brisbanes-lord-mayors

Captain Thunderbolt – http://www.guidetoipswich.com.au/experience-south-east-queensland/64-donnellys-castle-captain-thunderbolt-s-hideout

A History of Bulimba Creek Valley – http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/belmont.history/history.htm

About Bunyips –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunyip