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The bunyip as uncanny rupture: Fabulous animals, innocuous quadrupeds and the Australian anthropocene

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Edmonds, P ORCID: 0000-0002-2272-446X 2018 , 'The bunyip as uncanny rupture: Fabulous animals, innocuous quadrupeds and the Australian anthropocene' , Australian Humanities Review, vol. 63 , pp. 80-98 .

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Abstract

My love affair with museums began when I was seven. I saw a bunyip's head in a glass case, a strange, unsettling creature with a one-eyed blind stare, a cycloptic monster. I was small and I stood up on my toes to see the creature through the glass. On show, the bunyip was mounted in a tall, ornate nineteenth-century wooden cabinet. The typed paper label gave scientific verification: ‘A bunyip’s head, New South Wales. 1841.’ I recall the palpable shock of it, and my mixed childhood emotions: bunyips were real. With its long jawbone wrapped in fawn-coloured fur, it was a decapitated Australian swampdweller preserved. Yet, the horrific creature looked so sad, and with its sightless eye, gaping mouth and cartoonish backward drooping ears. It was a creature of pathos — a gormless, goofy redhead, a ranga, a total outsider.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Edmonds, P
Keywords: bunyip, museum, Australia, anthropocene, Macleay Museum, fabulous animals
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Humanities Review
Publisher: Australian National University
ISSN: 1325-8338
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Australian Humanities Review

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