||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (April 2012)|
|Elevation||85 m (279 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Cardinia|
Bunyip is a town in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, 77 km southeast of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the Shire of Cardinia. At the 2011 Census, Bunyip had a population of 2,232.
Located on a low hill some 44 metres above sea-level, a township was established in the current location alongside the Bairnsdale railway line when it arrived in October 1877. Surrounded partly by swamp as it was, the foundation of the town, and the later railway line, can be attributed to its relatively elevated position, its prior use as a coach stop and the increasing need to provide transport for farm produce and timber.
The Kooweerup Swamp comprised a region of some 6,000 acres (24 km2) stretching from Sawtells Inlet on Westernport Bay to the township of Bunyip in the north-east. The swamp was formed by waters of many rivers that flowed down from the surrounding high country to make impenetrable swamplands.
The first settlers had great difficulty in cultivating the land because of the impenetrable walls of giant ti-tree, large gum and blackwood trees which lay under the surface. The first European person to attempt to cross the swamp is thought to be explorer William Hovell in 1827, he found the scrub to be an impenetrable wilderness but was impressed with the quality of the country. A number of private attempts were made at drainage works in the 1860s and 70s but they were met with little success. In 1847, a road was surveyed through virgin forest to "Bunyeep" which enabled travellers to follow a track that led further east into Gippsland. The survey showed a building, 'Andersons', at the future site of Bunyip.
In December 1857 a township site was surveyed with Messrs. Connor, Vale and McKinnon purchasing most allotments. This site was between the Bunyip River and the present Ellis Road (referred to now as Tonimbuk). Connor built the old "Buneep Hotel" around 1858 to accommodate coach travellers on the route between Melbourne and Sale. This was a journey that usually took 36 hours. The names recorded in this era for the town area included Buneep, Burneep Burneep and Burra Burneep. Around the same location and time period was also an old Cobb and Co trading post.
In 1859, a new road, later known as the Old Telegraph Road was surveyed in an attempt to avoid the bad conditions of the old route to Sale. In 1860 there were further improvements made for coach traffic with the opening of the Old Sale Road three miles (5 km) to the south of "Buneep Village".
In 1867 Connor selected land to build the "Bunyip Hotel" on the west side of the Bunyip River along the new road. The licensee was David Devaney. The new hotel had 14 rooms as well as a 25 stall stable.
Before settlement could really be established at the new Bunyip site, the railway line from Oakleigh reached the "Bunyip Bank" in October 1877, by March 1878 the Bunyip to Moe section of the railway line was completed. A track from the new Bunyip site was constructed to the third and present township site.
Two hotels, the Butcher's Arms and the "Bunyip" were set up in 1876 while the railway line was under construction. John O'Brien was the licensee of the "Railway Family" hotel in 1877. The establishment of these hotels was permanent. The Post Office opened around November 1877 and was known as Bunyip R. S. until 1903.
The main outlet for the men looking for work was in the timber industry and local splitters were fully employed having orders to keep them in work for many months. Large eucalyptus trees were selected and were then sawn with a cross cut saw into required lengths. Palings were used for weatherboards, garden fences and roof shingling.
In 1887, in addition to the two hotels there was also a general store, three or four dwellings and a state school. It took another year for speculators to arrive in the district looking for land, it was about this time that development started on the large swamp area land nearby.
The township of Bunyip grew slowly in its early years, but by the turn of the century there were more businesses than houses, and these served the people in the surrounding agricultural districts as well as the local township.
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (January 2014)|
Some excerpts from the district newspapers of the time document the growth of the town:
- June 1880, H.A. Lousada, a butcher, visited Bunyip every Tuesday in good weather and twice a week when the weather got warmer.
- May 1895, Ernest W. Witton opened his Bunyip market of produce, livestock and furniture at the railway station, 350-400 people were present for the occasion.
- In April 1899, a petition was prepared to ask the Bank of Australasia to establish an agency in Bunyip and to send an officer two days a week.
- St Joseph's Catholic Church at Iona was opened in 1900. A new church was constructed in 1940 and blessed by Archbishop Daniel Mannix. Today most parishioners live in the nearby towns, including Bunyip. The current church with its Romanesque architecture and 80 ft (24 m) tower is a genuine icon of the district.
- In 1902 the foundation of St Thomas' Anglican Church was laid on the hill above the town. It is notable for its stained glass windows. The Bunyip Parish of St. Thomas' was originally part of the Gippsland Forest mission in 1879 and early services were held in Kraft's Hall. On 15 October 1902, Mrs. W.A. A'Beckett Snr. of Brighton laid the foundation block for the new church which was designed by architect Frederick Klingender, the church was built on land donated by the A'Beckett family and cost over £377. The opening of the church was conducted by the Right Rev. Bishop Pain, the first Bishop of the Diocese on 28 December 1902 and was reported to be one of the most attractive buildings in the state. Extensive alterations were made to the church in 1919 due to damage caused by white ants. In 1980 another restoration appeal was launched to rectify structural problems relating to the roof and to reblock the floor and for repainting. Extensive renovations and extensions were carried out on the vicarage in 1995 and in 1996 a Lady Chapel was established.
- June 1907, a new "Lentz" lamp was erected in main street. This caused quite a sensation in the district as it had been years since many residents had seen a street lamp.
- April 1910, a record consignment of 230 cases of apples left Bunyip for shipment to London and Hamburg. Local growers Nash, Pearson and Mitchell supplied the overseas markets.
- 1912, Frederick Daniels started manufacturing soft drinks in Bunyip. His first customer was Mr Kraft of the Gippsland Hotel. Daniels delivered his product himself, either in a horse and cart or pushing a wheelbarrow.
- May 1913, Mr Thomas, a dentist advertised that he was visiting Bunyip and would be consulting at the Gippsland Hotel. Apparently before his arrival the local station master obliged by extracting teeth with his ticket clippers.
- Farmers persisted with growing tobacco but crops were spoilt by mould. A pea factory operated opposite the cemetery for a few years. A violet farm was known to have existed and many years later Bunyip Clothing Factory operated in Longwarry Road.
- In 1921 the Soldiers' Memorial Stone was erected to commemorate those townfolk who had been killed in the First World War. The names of those who fell in World War II and the Vietnam War were subsequently added.
- October 1924 saw the grand opening of Stacey's new Railway Hotel, a two storey brick building containing 35 rooms; it remains in the main street.
- February 1926, Bunyip township was under threat from bushfires. Fire breaks were cleared to the north of the town.
- October 1928, electricity was extended to Bunyip township.
- February 1930, fire destroyed five shops in Bunyip.
- The first hospital stood on land at the top of the hill on High Street, close to the Princes Street intersection. It was burnt down and later replaced by the Shelley Memorial Hospital situated in A'Beckett Street. This was opened in March 1965 when Dr Paul O'Hanlon was the town's medical officer. It had a small midwifery unit, small emergency area and general ward area. It was later converted into a Community Health Centre then the Hillview Bunyip Aged Care Hostel, before finally being bull dozed and rebuilt as the Bunyip Aged Care Centre. Bunyip also once had a Maternal Child Health Centre, situated opposite the current Post Office. Centre.
- Five members of the Bunyip Football Club (Peter Kay, Michael Breheny, Noel Heatley, Barry Sullivan and Don Smith) perished in late December 1967 when their plane crashed at Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. A memorial was established at the Bunyip Recreational Ground in their memory.
Bunyip never witnessed a boom period, experiencing as it has slow and steady growth over the last 100 plus years. Many descendants of pioneers remain in the district. In the 1970s there was a concerted push by town locals to promote Bunyip and many residents could be seen wearing brightly coloured 'We support Bunyip' t-shirts.
The Bunyip shopping precinct consists of a wide variety of businesses. These include a post office, chemist, four hair dressers, a pizzeria, a grocery store, accountants' offices, a bakery, a newsagent, Commonwealth and Bendigo banks, a video rental shop, a hardware store, a veterinarian, two pubs (named the Top Pub and the Bottom Pub due to their position on the sloping main street) and some takeaway food shops. Bunyip has an "opportunity shop", with proceeds donated to local organisations. There is also a Ride-on mower store on the south side of the level crossing. Previous businesses have included Westpac Bank, a drapery store (owned and serviced by Mr and Mrs Frederick Mitchell for many years), a real estate store, 2 petrol/garages (BGS Motors & Frank Kinder's BP), Pound and Ure's Electrical store, a gift shop, shoe shop, Flett's general store, cool store on the corner of Hope Street and Railway Avenue and Manson's Interstate Haulage.
Dating from 1900, Bunyip has an annual agricultural show with categories for horses, dogs, cats, cookery, art work and many others. the famous Bunyip country music festival is held the 1st Sunday of February each year. Bunyip has a wildlife sanctuary which is popular with bird watchers. Over fifty different types of birds have been sighted there. It is located north of the town of Bunyip at the end of Doran Road. The reserve of 13 hectares was once part of Koo Wee Rup Swamp and can often be wet underfoot. The sanctuary is home to animals such as frogs, lizards, snakes and water birds and is a rare reserve in this district. The Sanctuary also has nature notes, picnic table and walking trails.
Every Thursday night the Bunyip Railway Hotel has an "open mike" music night where musicians can perform to a live audience
Bunyip also has two kindergartens and a play group. Bunyip has an aged care facility which has recently[when?] been renovated and extended. Located on the Main St of town is the Bunyip and district community house. Many people of all ages meet here to socialize and do everything from playing cards, to art classes to learning how to work computers and much more!
Opposite the "Hillview Bunyip Aged Care Centre " is the medical clinic. Bunyip has a railway station on the Bairnsdale railway line and is in the growth corridor. There was once a railway station that was a thriving concern for both passengers seeking to buy train tickets, and for parcel transport. It was manned 7 days a week and continued to exist into the 1990's before being demolished. In its heyday, there was also a livestock holding paddock and run alongside the railway line. Animals were held here before being loaded onto the train bound for the livestock market in Dandenong. Today all that remains are relics of cracked concrete flooring slabs overgrown and hidden by weeds.
Bunyip has had several supermarkets over the years including Permewan Wright and 4 Square servicing the town throughout the 1960's to early 1980's, alongside of the general milkbar which was a thriving concern for many years. In June 2007 a brand new purpose built supermarket was opened. It employs some eighty people.
Bunyip has an Australian Rules football team playing in the Ellinbank & District Football League. Prior to belonging to the Ellinbank League, Bunyip belonged to the West Gippsland League. Local netball also follows and plays in the same league. 
Bunyip also had a Rural and Urban Fire Brigade in Pearson Street opposite the police station which serviced the townships of Bunyip and Garfield and the surrounding areas of Iona, Vervale, Garfield North and Tonimbuk. The Rural brigade ceased to operate in the early 1990's, leaving the Urban to cover these areas- still current today. Members are voluntary and undergo training procedures on joining and include both male and female. The first female to join the brigade was Jenny Beavis in the early 1980's when females were admitted to the ranks. Bunyip Fire Brigade also enjoys an active 'Competition Running Team' who engage in competition training with other brigades at a district and statewide level between October and March each year. Some long serving members(more than 50 years) who have previously held office have included Joe Cumming as Captain for 31 years, John Beavis as secretary for 30 years and Lionel McGill as Lieutenant. All of whom are still living and continue to be active members although they are now into their 70s and early 80s. These members have dedicated extensive time over the years to help develop and shape both the brigade as well as mentoring junior officers and volunteers who have been and continue to be members.
Warragul Radio stations Star FM and 3GG service this region. The original paper servicing the area was called "The Bunyip and Garfield Express". This was published for many years before finally succumbing to rising costs and larger papers replacing it. A local newsletter 'Bunyip and District Community News' now services the district.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Bunyip (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Columba Catholic Primary School – Home Page". Bunyip.catholic.edu.au. 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- Australian Places - Bunyip, victoria (web archive)
- TIME-TABLE GIPPSLAND RAILWAY. (1877, October 31). South Bourke and Mornington Journal (Richmond, Vic. : 1872 - 1920), p. 2 Edition: WEEKLY.. Retrieved February 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70010424
- Denise Nest "Call of the Bunyip - A History of Bunyip, Iona & Tonimbuk 1847 - 1990" Bunyip History Committee 1990, ISBN 0-646-01717-9 page 1 - 11
- R. S. is an acronym for Railway Station
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- Nest Ibid pg 37 - 39
- Nest Ibid pg 29ff
- Nest Ibid pg 66 - 67
- Nest Ibid pg 71 - 73
- "Hillview ::". Hillviewbunyip.org.au. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- Nest Ibid pg 98
- "Page Title". Bunyipshow.org.au. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- [dead link]
- Full Points Footy, Bunyip, retrieved 15 April 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bunyip, Victoria.|
- Australian Places - Bunyip
- Google maps Map of Bunyip, Victoria
- The legendary giants of Gippsland. blog entry by Annie O'Rielly (The story of the Snell family)