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The 8 greatest Aussie urban myths. Or are they?

The 8 greatest Aussie urban myths. Or are they?

The legend: Dropbears

According to the Australian Museum, “Drop Bears can be found in the densely forested regions of the Great Dividing Range in South-eastern Australia. However there are also some reports of them from South-east South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island.”

The story: When institutions such as the aforementioned Australian Museum are in on the joke to such a degree that the species – Thylarctos plummetus – has its own fact sheet, it’s no wonder tourist are confused. And not a little afraid: Once prey is within view, the Drop Bear will drop as much as eight metres to pounce on top of the unsuspecting victim. The initial impact often stuns the prey, allowing it to be bitten on the neck and quickly subdued.”

The legend: The Yowie

The location: Gold Coast hinterland, Qld

The story: Just last month, researcher Dean Harrison released video which uses thermal technology - the glowing glob pictured here - to identify what he believes are two “nine-feet tall yowies in the wilds of Springbrook National Park. Common in Aboriginal legends, Yowies are often described as an Australian version of Bigfoot.

The legend: Black panthers

The location: Lithgow, NSW

The story: There have been over 500 sightings of these majestic cats over a 20 year period. Not to mention almost a century of claimed encounters. David Waldron, a lecturer in history and anthropology at Federation University in Ballarat and author of Snarls From the Tea Tree: Australia's Big Cat Folklore, told the ABC, "You did have widespread exotic animal trade in the 19th century. That's easily proved. If you jump on Trove you'll see people in Sydney and Melbourne selling off leopard cubs or panther cubs.”

The legend: The 5 o’clock wave

The location: Wagga Wagga, NSW

The story: Just to be clear, it doesn’t get more landlocked than Wagga but the town does it have an excellent beach on the Murrumbidgee River. This is where things take a turn for the mischievous as locals get great delight telling visitors to be sure to take their boards along at 5pm as water released from a dam upstream produces a solitary surfable wave. It doesn’t but it sure is fun to watch those waiting for it.

The legend: Tasmanian Tigers live!

The location: Umm, Tasmania

The story: Although declared extinct in 1936, as recently as February, the president of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia was touting a quartet of photos showing not just one Tassie Tiger but a family of four moving through the bush. The shots were debunked but every few years whispers resurface of their existence.

The legend: The Hawkesbury River Monster

The location: Brooklyn and other locations, New South Wales

The story: A local equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster, we’re talking eels some four metres in length and a 30.5cm girth. A punt operator who did not wish to be identified told researcher Tony Healy “"The water was silvery - shimmering. It was the turn of the tide. Beautiful - a beautiful night, and as I stepped out onto the knoll, there, to the right, was this silhouette - a perfect silhouette of a picture of the Loch Ness Monster I'd seen as a kid."

The legend: The Crown Casino morgue

The location: Melbourne, Victoria

The story: This is as plain bonkers as it is easily disproved but apparently when you go into certain toilets at Crown, the last stall is always occupied. Because it apparently connects to a series of tunnels which lead to an underground morgue. We call bullshit.

The legend: The Hanging Rock vanishings

The location: Macedon Ranges, Victoria

The story: Is literally a story. Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel about the disappearance of schoolgirls Miranda, Marion and Irma and their teacher Miss McCraw on Valentine’s Day in 1900 is an undisputed Australian classic. Its masterstroke is the fake news – FAKE NEWS -clipping at the back of the book detailing the tragedy. Peter Weir’s 1975 film only heightened the mystery to such a degree that many people continue to believe it is based on fact.

The legend: The Curse of Devil’s Pool

The location: Babinda Boulders, Queensland

The story: Local Indigenous lore centres on the tale of a young Yindinji woman named Oolana who married a tribal elder called Waroonoo. Problem was, she fell in love with Dyga, a man from another tribe and the pair were pursued into the bush. Eventually captured, Oolana escaped and fatally threw herself onto the boulders calling for her love. Immediately the pool turned into a torrent. Which has claimed at least 20 people since 1961 – all but two of whom have been men. It is still a stunning (and safe if you follow the rules) place to visit.

The legend: Bull sharks on the golf course

The location: Carbrook, Queensland

The story: Back in the late 1990s, heavy floods hit the area and the 21 hectare, 14 metre deep lagoon beside the course came to house up to half a dozen of these ferocious creatures. At the Carbrook Golf Club, they subside mainly on birdies, eagles and even the rare albatross.

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