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Mysteries and Myths

The Stradbroke Island Galleon (Qld)
Does the existence of the Queensland shipwreck known as the Stradbroke Island Galleon prove Australia was first discovered by Spanish or Portuguese mariners? Is the 1597 silver coin found on Stradbroke Island proof of the existance of the mysterious shipwreck? The evidence suggests this Queensland shipwreck could be of either Portuguese or Spanish origin, although there is a chance it may be a Dutch East Indies Company vessel shipwrecked that sailed Australia’s eastern seaboard. The wreck has given rise to stories of a vast treasure buried somewhere on Stradbroke Island.
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  • The Gympie Pyramid (Qld)
    About 5 km to the north of the township of Gympie in south east Queensland is a terraced structure (or series of structures) which has become known as the Gympie Pyramid . There have been many differing claims as to its origins and function. Some of these claims have been quite controversial and gained considerable media attention beginning in 1956 through to the present. The rough pyramidical shaped hill rises from the natural shape of the ridge terminal in a series of terraces on the south-eastern and south-western slopes. The pyramid has six terraces, the first of which begins at approximately 60 metres above sea level. The first four terraces are approximately 10 metres wide, the fifth is about five metres wide and the sixth is 2 metres wide. The last terrace is about 100 metres above sea level. Above the last terrace is a mass of sandstone blocks which constitutes the peak.
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    • The Mahogany Ship (Vic)
      First discovered in 1836 by three sealers Gibbs, Smith and Wilson some 300 metres inland, the Mahogany Ship is said to be a relatively intact ship located on an isolated beach near Warrnambool, Victoria. The ruins were visited by and known to a whole community of people during the latter half of the 19th century before it was covered over by shifting sands after a storm, never to be seen again. A detailed description of it, given by a local woman in 1848, indicates that, instead of the familiar planks, it had wooden panels like a Portuguese caravel. This has led to speculation that it might be a ship of the fleet of Portuguese navigator Cristovas de Mendonca who, some time in 1521, sailed to Malacca before heading off into the great unknown. What happened to Mendonca after leaving Malacca is shrouded in mystery.
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      • The Coogee Virgin (NSW)
        On 30th January 2003 an apparition of the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared on the headland of Coogee, a suburb of Sydney. Apparently the Virgin was originally seen through the door of a laundrette that faces toward the beach and headland. The following day hundreds of people from all around Sydney and elsewhere swarmed the site to catch a glimpse of the blessed mother which appeared each day between 3.30 and 5pm. People trekked up the headland path to touch, kiss and pray to the post where the apparition was seen, they placed pictures of Mary, rosaries and flowers along the fence. Others cried, sang and prayed. All the while the locals became angry about grid locked traffic and no parking spaces.
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        • The Guyra Ghost
          The case of the Guyra Ghost or rather Poltergeist began in April 1921 with “tremendous thumping’s” on the walls followed by showers of stones which eventually broke every window in the tiny weather-board cottage just outside Guyra. Nobody could see who or what was creating the mayhem but it was soon noticed the attacks seemed to be focused on 12-year-old Minnie. Stones smashed through her bedroom window and fell on her bed. Apparently one of the Bowen children confessed to tossing some rocks on the roof to scare a younger sibling, but this didn’t seem to account for the extent of the phenomenon, especially as these things kept happening even when the place was surrounded by policemen.
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          • Big Cats
            Big Cats belong in the vast plains of Africa roaming free & and we have all seen them behind bars in the zoo. But are man-eating Big Cats stalking and killing in the Australian Bush? Although this sounds like the script of an amateur horror movie, many believe that these top predators are stalking the rural towns all over Australia. Over the past century, there have been an undeniable number of Big Cat sightings which no-one has been able to explain  that is, unless you accept that these cats are living in the outback.
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            • Giants of the Dreamtime
              Aboriginal tradition states that the giant people had inhabited the continent since before the appearance of their ancestors. During the gold rush days of the mid-19th century, when thousands of man worked the creeks over a wide area of the Kanangra-Oberon-Tarana-Bathurst district west of the Blue Mountains of NSW, prospectors found many giant-size and smaller man-like fossilised footprints, and huge stone ‘megatools’ in the course of their operations. They were often informed by tribesmen that these relics belonged to ‘Barrmi Birgoo’ the “giant fella taller than gum tree”, who inhabited the land since long before the Aborigines.

              The Dissapearance of the Beaumont Children (SA)
              It was from Colley Reserve on Adelaide’s Glenelg Beach on Australia Day, 1966, that the Beaumont children went missing, never to be seen again. Their disappearance is one of Australia’s most famous and puzzling unsolved mysteries that became a potent symbol of Australia’s supposed end of innocence. The Beaumont children went missing more than forty years ago. For some of us who remember the drama as it unfolded it is hard to believe such a long period of time has passed. Harder still to accept that the mystery will probably now never be solved.
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              • Haunted Picton Tunnel
                An abandoned railway tunnel near the NSW town of Picton is said to have a resident ghost by the name of Emily. It is believed that Emily was the unfortunate lady that was killed many years ago by a train as she was walking through the tunnel when used by the railways. It’s not certain if she intended on killing herself or if it was just an accident. She died at the very centre of the tunnel and quite a few investigations have produced strange readings and some people have experienced the apparition of Emily in this area. The tunnel is on private property. Redbank Range Railway Tunnel was opened in February 1867 and is the first railway tunnel to be used by the NSW Railways. It was eventually closed to rail in 1919 when the new deviation line opened. During World War II it was one of a number of disused railway tunnels used to store ammunition and other military supplies, and more recently to grow mushrooms.
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                • Fisher’s Ghost (NSW)
                  Campbelltown, on the south-western outskirks of Sydney, holds an annual festival that recalls celebrates one of Australia’s most famous ghosts (and the unlucky victim of a murder), Fred Fisher. Fred left home on 17th June 1826 and was never seen again – alive that is. His spectral visage was spotted sitting on a bridge pointing to a paddock where his body was later found. Many people have reported seeing old Fred. Fisher’s Ghost is also remembered in the name of the watercourse, Fishers Ghost Creek. It flows through Koshigaya Park, which was created on the site of the paddock where Fred’s body was found in Queen Street.
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                  • Ghosts of the Alkimos
                    On 20 March 1963 the ill-fated Greek freighter and former Liberty ship, the SS Alkimos struck a reef near Beagle Island, some 240 kilometres to the north of Fremantle, while on a voyage from Jakarta to Bunbury. This mishap was the start of a tragic chain of events that was to see the vessel impounded in Fremantle Harbour, run aground on two further occasions and finally sold for scrap in the following year. Five days after running aground at Beagle Island the Alkimos was freed and towed into Fremantle for temporary repairs, only to be impounded in May for non-payment of debts. Thus began the curse of the Alkimos.

Bradshaw Paintings (WA)
The figures in the Bradshaw Paintings are incredibly sophisticated examples of rock art found predonimantly in the Mitchell Plateau and Gibb River sections of Kimberley region of Western Australia. The figures are found in raised small caves at cliff faces of substantially horizontal bedding, and in the protection of overhanging rock ledges. Each painted site offers magnificent views of the rugged landscape. Many pictures were painted on the ceiling; the artist laying on the back, as Michelangelo did painting his frescos. The early paintings are extremely old; 60,000 years or probably much more according to anthropologists. Pre-dating Aboriginal settlement in the region, the broad-shouldered, realistic representation of humans infers an origin of Egyptian Culture in the Kimberley Ranges, while the slanted profilic features of the human face, reminiscent of Mayan pictures, suggest that the Kimberley Ranges may have been the cradle of all pyramidal cultures.
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  • Harold Bell Lasseter’s Grave, Alice Springs

    Lasseter’s Reef (WA/NT)
    Harold Bell Lasseter claimed to have found a fabulous reef of gold somewhere near the WA/Nt border in 1897, and again with a surveyor named Harding, in 1900. In 1930, he tried again to find the reef with a full scale expedition financed by the Central Australian Gold Exploration Co. Ltd (C.A.G.E.), also known as the ‘Gold Quest Expedition’, which initially included one aircraft, a truck and a radio to report progress to the C.A.G.E. office in Sydney. Lasseter’s last known message is carved into a tree at the Western end of the Rawlinson Range, not far from a cave he took shelter in. He would have died soon after but the exact date is unknown. Since 1930 there have been scores of expeditions to find Lasseter’s Lost Reef. All have been unsuccessful.
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    • The Gosford Glyphs
      Near Gosford NSW (60km North of Sydney) a few kilometers down a dirt bush track can be found the Australian Mystery Glyphs also known as the Gosford Hieroglyphics. Over the years many theories have been put forward as to who or indeed what created these mysterious symbols carved into the rock cleft. And what makes the stories more intriguing is the apparent opening of a tomb just round the corner of where the Glyphs appear. Further round again on the cliff that hangs above the Glyphs you could be mistaken to think that there was once a huge face carved into the stone.
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      • The Waratah; Australia’s Titanic?
        The Waratah, sometimes referred to as “Australia’s Titanic”, was a 500 foot steamer. In July 1909, the ship, en route from Durban to Cape Town, disappeared with 211 passengers aboard. The disappearance of the ship remains one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time. To this day no trace of the ship has ever been found.
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        • Bunyips
          Even before the First Fleet landed in 1788, Europeans expected to see fabulous creatures down-under. They had been conditioned by centuries of superstition and travellers  tales to believe in the existence of sea serpents, hairy giants, mermaids and other strange creatures. The Southern Hemisphere, in fact, was believed to be the realm where the natural order of things was reversed. Exactly when the European settlers first heard of the bunyip from the Aboriginal people is uncertain. The story of the bunyip remains one of the very few Aboriginal legends which has been embraced by white Australians.
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          • Min Min Lights
            All around the world thousands of people have reported seeing “ghost lights” . Australia also has its share of stories of strange luminous objects that hover just above the ground. But the most famous is the Min Min Lights. The Lights are named after a very small settlement which included a Pub, mail-exchange and small cemetery which used to stand on the boundary of two big stations – Warenda and Lucknow – 100km east of the South West Queensland town of Boulia. The pub burnt to the ground in the 1800’s and very little of the original small settlement exits. The first documented sighting of the Min Min lights occurred in the “Sunday Mail Magazine” of 2nd March 1941 although reports go back much further in time some sixty years earlier.
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            • Virgin Mary Appirition, Yankalilla
              In August 1994 an image was said to have become visible on a wall behind the altar of the 137 year old stone Angligan church in Yankalilla, SA. It was interpreted as an uncannily clear image of the Virgin Mary, depicting her face and features, her shoulders and abdomen. She appeared to be holding the crucified Christ in the manner of a pieta. Her gaze was directed toward the tabernacle immediately below containing the eucharistic bread. The shrine has become the centre of a healing ministry and has been the venue of a number of sightings of the Virgin, as well as several photos of the Madonna in the church.
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              • The Marree Man
                The discovery on a sandy plateau outside the South Australian town of Marree of a giant drawing of a man holding a woomera made worldwide news in July 1998. It is the world s largest geoglyph (a man made drawing cut into the earth). The figure is about 4 kilometres long. The so-called Marree Man first gained popular attention when the publican at the Marree Hotel started getting mysterious faxes about the figure and reported it to The Advertiser newspaper. Anthropology experts from the South Australian Museum claimed the figure was not an accurate representation of the indigenous people of the area, but bore the features of a mixture of peoples and eras. This added to the speculation that foreigners  to the area had created the geoglyph, perhaps by the removal of grass and shrubbery using a bulldozer or other large piece of machinery. No one has assumed responsibility for the unusual artwork and, in spite of investigation, the artist(s) has never been found.
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                • The Devil’s Waterholes
                  An exotic and complex system of ironstone caves and chilly aquatic freshwater inlets culminating into a gaping mouth at the cliff face, The Devil’s Waterhole is said to be a place where women shouldn’t swim and where many have gone missing. Located near the NSW town of Narrabri, The Devil’s Waterhole is said by local legend to have received its name when Coonabarabran’s first priest went swimming there with some friends in the 1860’s. The water was so cold and cumbersome that to stay afloat for only ten minutes was a task for the average swimmer. The priest watched half of his party vanish that day, never to be seen again. Other legends tell of underwater blowholes that drag under unsuspecting divers and then there is the prominence of the scowling human-faced rock known as Mao.
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                  • Sam Poo’s Ill Gotten Gains
                    Chinese goldminer turned bushranger Sam Poo shot Senior Constable John Ward in 1865 not long after killing another lawman and a bank clerk while stealing gold from the Coonabarabran Bank. Poo it is claimed objected to how the officer treated a young boy and yet others say it was Poo who in fact injured the child. Either way, Poo killed Ward and headed to Scabby Rock. Some believe Sam Poo’s gold is still buried in an old asbestos mine at Scabby Rock near Coonabarabran, NSW.
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                    • Nullarbor Readymix Logo
                      A Readymix Logo, carved into the limestone bedrock of the Nullarbor Plain, was created in the winter of 1965 by construction crews sealing the Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor Plain. Situated 13km north west of the John Eyre Motel at Caiguna near the midpoint of the Eyre Highway, it is the work of Allan Hoare (1936-89), a grader driver. It is said to have been created as an emergency airstrip for Readymix employees, the logo making it easily identifiable from the air. It was never used as an airstrip and is a long way from the road and Caiguna settlement, so this may have been a myth generated to cover up that it had been created purely for advertising purposes or out of boredom.


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