Research of Australian Reptillian Water Monsters
Entire Website © Rex & Heather Gilroy | URU Publications ® ™ Rex & Heather Gilroy 2010. All Rights Reserved

Snakelike Head

During 1977, two fishermen in a small boat in Broken Bay became startled when a large snakelike head of terrifying appearance, and about 1.5 metres wide, momentarily surfaced a few metres from them.

Dharuk Art
Fossil Record
Eyewitness Accounts Below
Pre-1950 | 1950-79 | 1980-2010
Newspaper Accounts
New Zealand
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“ Nessie” Lives in a Sydney River


For thousands of years, the former Dharuk tribal Aborigines of the central coast, north of Sydney, preserved traditions of enormous reptilian 'water monsters' which, they told early European settlers last century, inhabited the nearby Hawkesbury River. Their ancient cave art along the river includes depictions of these mystery creatures, which they called "Mirreeulla" ("giant water serpent"), described as having a snakelike head, long neck, a large body with two sets of flippers, and a long eel-like tail. The Aboriginal description of these animals also matches that of European sightings of the creatures since last century, from Wisemans Ferry at the western end of the river, eastward to the Broken Bay-Brisbane Waters expanse at the river's mouth.

I have had an almost 45-year-long fascination with the`water monsters' of the Hawkesbury River, during which time I have gathered over several hundred reported sightings of the creatures dating from last century to the present-more than enough to convince me that they are no mere mythical Aboriginal 'bunyip', but living survivors from geological times.My researches into these mysterious creatures many years ago led me to coin the name "Hawkesbury River Monster? in describing them, and the name has stuck. The general physical description of the "Mirreeulla" is unmistakable: they resemble the Plesiosaurus, or some ancient marine reptile very much like it.

Scientists who ridicule the plesiosaur survival theory, and dismiss outright our very own Hawkesbury River "Nessie" as nonsense, should recall the Coelacanth, the fish once thought extinct since dinosaur times until a living specimen was caught off the African coast in 1938. This fact leads zoologists to speculate that many more species of long-thought-extinct or as-yet-unknown species of sea life still await discovery in the ocean depths.

That a form of marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs could still survive in the Hawkesbury River must, understandably, seem absurd to many people. Yet, when one considers the often enormous widths, the great depths, the length of the river (up to 120 kilometres) and its many branches snaking off in all directions, there is more than enough room for such creatures to have survived and bred undisturbed for centuries, as the following case histories suggest.

One hears so many stories along the Hawkesbury of sightings of 'long necks', of vanished fishermen and others, of vessels overturned by some submerged giant beast; and although some tales may be questionable to some, there still remain a great many, quite believable cases-enough to suggest that there really is something lurking 'down there' in those almost bottomless depths of this sunken valley of geological times.

This 3,000 year old Aboriginal rock engraving, discovered by Rex and Heather Gilroy at Brisbane Waters near Gosford NSW, depicts the Mirreeulla, or “giant water serpent” of Hawkesbury River/Brisbane Waters Aboriginal folklore. The reptilian monster’s features parallel those of the Plesiosaurs of Cretaceous times [66-144 million years BP]. Photo copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003. Same Image Left & Right >>>>

But the story does not end there. Across the Tasman in New Zealand, the Maori people for centuries before the arrival of European settlement produced cave paintings as well as rock and wood carvings of the "Taniwah", giant water-monsters that inhabited the lakes and estuaries of New Zealand. Also, in Papua New Guinea, the Melanesians preserve wood art of the giant water-dwelling monster known as the "Kureea" which they say inhabits coastal waters, harbours and rivers.

Rex & Carving


Continued From Above Right Hand Column

Like the Aboriginal Mirreeulla, the Taniwah and Kureea are depicted as serpent-headed,long-necked, large-bodied creatures with two sets of long flippers and long tails. This cannot be put down to mere coincidence, and with sightings reports of Plesiosaur-type sea creatures being made worldwide, it is obvious that the mystery is by no means confined to a certain Scottish loch. In this light, the Hawkesbury River Monster assumes a worldwide perspective which, like its Pacific region cousins, deserves far more scientific attention than it has been given to date.

Despite the disbelief of the scientific establishment, sightings of these zoological throwbacks from the Age of Reptiles continue into the 21st century. My Hawkesbury River investigations continue to turn up new information. But so far, to my knowledge, no photograph has been taken of one of these animals. In an effort to gather whatever evidence possible, in 1978 I established the Hawkesbury River Monster Survey which continues to the present day.

Rex on radio 2GB in Sydney - Audio - Up Soon

Plesioaur Sketch © Rex Gilroy

Sketch © Rex Gilroy

Nepean River

I have said that some of these aquatic giants sometimes penetrate south of the Hawkesbury into the Nepean River during floods. For a short time in 1979 a 'monster' became trapped in a particularly deep part of the Nepean river at Yarramundi, not far from its junction with the Hawkesbury, following a bad flood.

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Major Update 2010
Mysterious Australia Dharuk Art Fossil Record Pre-1950 | 1950-79 | 1980-2010 Newspaper Accounts New Zealand Report Sighting
Entire Website © Rex & Heather Gilroy | URU Publications ® ™ Rex & Heather Gilroy 2010. All Rights Reserved