Giant reptilian monsters in the Australian bush were known even to our early European settlers and have been discussed around countless outback campfires for generations. Accurate descriptions of them can be found in Aboriginal myths and legends dating back untold thousands of years.
These reptiles have been claimed seen in every mainland Australian state, and are also referred in ancient Tasmanian Aboriginal folklore. Early European settlers claimed to have had numerous encounters with these monsters, and the sighting of one near any bush town was likely to create a wave of terror among the populace.
1890's - 30 Feet in Length
A good example of this can be seen in one famous case which took place during 1890, when a huge reptile, 30 feet in length, instituted a brief reign of terror among the inhabitants of the village of Euroa, Victoria. It tramped its way across properties, leaving behind its gigantic footprints to confirm its awesome size. It was described as a monstrous goanna by those who had happened to see it roaming the bush.
A search party of forty men was formed. Armed with nets and guns, and with cattle dogs to the fore, they ventured off into the surrounding bushland in an attempt to trap the fearsome reptile; but it just disappeared or moved on to another area, never to be seen again in the Euroa district.
Euroa, Victoria 1978
During the first few months of 1978, the town of Mallacoota, situated on the coast just inside the Victorian border with New South Wales, was gripped by 'lizard fever'. A female motorist claimed to have seen a 20 foot-long goanna one afternoon on a road outside the town on the edge of scrub.
This and other claims soon attracted the media, including the Channel 9 network's “A Current Affair” whose journalists, as was to be expected, made light comedy relief of the matter.
One incident the journalists could not make into light entertainment was the case earlier this century of a local man who was said to have been killed and eaten by two of these lizard monsters on a property out of town. Searchers later found what was left of him in nearby scrub.
Euroa, Victoria 1981 -1986
This state has been the scene of a number of more recent giant lizard reports, such as Mr Ian Hay's 'close encounter' in January 1981.
Mr Hay was rabbit-shooting with a .22 rifle near the town of Bright, situated east of Wangaratta on the Ovens River. As he stood on the river-bank on this particular day, he spotted a large 'log' about 85 yards away further down the river-bank-at least he thought it was a log, greyish-brown in colour. He walked away for a few minutes, but by the time he returned, the 'log' had gone. The 'log' was 15 feet in length.
A young couple told a similar story of what they saw on that same river a few years later in 1986. Across the river they could see, half hidden by grass, a large 'log', but took no further notice of it-that is, until it suddenly rose up and began walking away into dense scrub! They later described the creature as being around 25 feet in length.
By now the reader must be wondering what species of monitor lizard we are dealing with. This is a fair question. Certainly they are no ordinary species.
Today, the largest living monitor species accepted by scientists is the notorious Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, found on Komodo Island and one other in the Indonesian chain. But the Komodo dragon is a mere three metres in length, compared to the 6.6, 8.3 and 10-metre lengths given for some giant-sized Australian monitors. Of course there are the occasional over-large Komodo specimens noted, the record length being four metres.
Next to the Komodo dragon is the Australian perentie monitor, Varanus giganteus, which, at 2.6 metres, is claimed to be the second largest monitor in the world. Its distribution is said to be on the western side of the Great Dividing Range. They are not found in Victoria.
To Be Updated 2007