The Gunni fact or fake?
The Gunni - Photo by: Ken Irwin
The Gunni (pronounced Goon-eye) is a supposed cryptozoological animal believed by some to exist in Victoria, Australia. It is described as having deer like antlers on top of a wombat body, striped markings sometimes occur on its back, hindquarters and tail.
In October 2003 the tourist town of Marysville 100 kilometres of North East of Melbourne, was buzzing with sightings and eyewitness accounts of the Gunni -where an apparent stuffed specimen of the creature was on display at the Marysville Visitors Centre. A full description of the animal was included and historical accounts one which read;
The Gunni has long been thought to be a myth, and early sightings by goldminers who first penetrated the central highlands in the 1860s were put down to "fertile imagination" or rough liquor.
A modern account said;
Marysville electrician Frank Murphy believes he saw a Gunni in 1999 from about 200 metres on a property adjacent to thick bush, thinking at first it was a wombat - and then he saw the tail.
"I got the fright of my life," he said. "I thought it might have been somebody's dog lost, and then it turned around and had antlers on top of its head.
"It stayed still for 30 to 40 seconds and then it went into the bush." Mr Murphy said he thought sightings of the Gunni might turn into a legend a little like Scotland's Loch Ness monster - "a Celtic-type thing, lots of whisky involved".
Although he hadn't been drinking before he saw the Gunni, he said, "after I saw it, I went home and had quite a few."
The centre started receiving numerous emails from interstate visitors who believe they had witnessed the creature in Victoria. One even claiming they had droppings from the animal.
The Gunni on display at the visitor’s centre was reportedly found in 1967 by timber workers near Cambarville, 16 kilometres from Marysville. The creature is regarded by some as simply a myth or an extinct Australian animal. The Gunni on display even had a scientific name attributed to it (Turpis maialis cimex). The Gunni specimen was destroyed in 2009 by bushfires when the centre was burnt down.
Is the Gunni real?
No, unfortunately the Gunni was in fact a clever taxidermy project by a local ranger Miles Stewart – Howie. Apparently Mr Howie liked to have a joke and the Gunni creature was simply a fun private project.