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In the beginning...


Bunyip is a small town 77 kilometres south -east of Melbourne located on the Gippsland railway line, on the north-eastern edge of the rich agricultural land of the former Koo wee Rup swamp. From the hill behind the shops in Main Street, at an elevation of 44 metres above sea level, a panoramic view can be obtained on a fine day as far as Westernport Bay.

In this history, the district encompasses the town and settlements of Tonimbuk to the north and Iona to the south.

Perhaps a description in the “Bunyip and Garfield Express” of 26th January 1923, illustrates well a picture of our district.

“The great stretch of swamp land provides a continuous feast for the eye. In spring, the dominant note is the yellow of the wattles and this is soon followed by the alternative vivid green of the potatoes and the gold stretches of hay or stubble. Autumn gives us the dark tones of the ploughed fields and the pale gold of the ripened maize. It is a delight on a cloudy day to watch the purple cloud shadows speeding across the flats and the south westerly storms sweep across it with long trailing lines of rain, and depart lit with rainbows over the Drouin hills.”

“Take any of the roads leading north from the township and where will you find lovelier lanes? Lined by gums they give one constantly varying glimpses of the hills. 


Early maps of the district give the name “Buneep” to the river and first cattle run. This was probably derived from an aboriginal legend belonging to tribes of the northern and south western territories of the swamp who avoided the region because a mythical monster called a ”bunyip or tooradin or tunatpan” who made its home in the dense ti-tree and watery swamplands.

Excerpt from “Call of the Bunyip” by Denise Nest – page 1

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Mission Statement

The Bunyip Historical Society is a small volunteer based, non-profit organisation that aims to collect, preserve and promote the history and heritage of the Bunyip, Iona and Tonimbuk, Garfield and Garfield North areas.

Do you have a memory you can share about Bunyip or surrounding towns?