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Megalania illustration by RJ Palmer

Megalania illustration by RJ Palmer

A still from a 1995 video allegedly showing a burrunjor trackway

A still from a 1995 video allegedly showing a burrunjor trackway


The Burrunjor, also called the Mungoon Galli, Whowhie and Dirawong, is a cryptid that inhabits the high altitude mountains in the Great Dividing Range, and may occasionally go to flatter areas like the outback when food is scarce. They are usually described as being 20/30 ft in length. Burrunjor scales are a mottled green and grey, sometimes making them mistaken for logs when stationary. They leave quite distinct tracks and the Burrunjors tail drags on the ground. Burrunjors can stand on two legs, although they can not walk while standing.

Their diet consists of kangaroos, emus, wallabies and livestock. There are many cases of livestock being dragged away from their farm, usually, the livestock’s remains are found deep in the woods, usually eaten. The most likely explanation for what the Burrunjor's origin, if it’s a genuine animal, is a small surviving population of Megalania Prisca, a monitor lizard matching the description and size of the Burrunjor, although they were thought to have died out roughly 50,000 years ago, possibly from climate change or overhunting by the newly arrived humans.

In December of 1968, Steve B. was in the Normanby Mountains of Queensland, about 200 kilometres south of Townsville for a military exercise. One part of the exercise required Steve’s unit to negotiate a particularly treacherous and dense swampy area. As the team went into the area they found a cow with large chunks eaten out of it. The cow’s blood had a trail, either from the predator’s mouth or from wherever the cow came from. Around them were massive three-toed tracks. Another sighting was of a giant lizard that was said to have occurred near Mount Isa, in Australia in 1961, when a dust storm forced a group of hunters, including a man called Tom Geoghan, to take shelter. In the distance across flat terrain, a huge reptile crossed in front of them. At one point it stood upright and looked around, and then lumbered into the rainforest.

Once the storm passed, the men immediately left the area. In May 1961, three loggers were marking trees in the Wollemi Rainforest in New South Wales. The loggers then sat down in their camp in a cleared area to have tea. In the cleared area, the trees were all down, but they weren’t removed. When one of them sat down, they heard a very loud crunch sound. They all looked to the direction of the noise and saw what they called “a titanic sized Komodo dragon-like lizard”, being 25/30 ft long and its legs were 3 ft off the ground. The lizard immediately started running towards them down an embankment. They all ran to their truck and watched it pace around them a couple of times before heading back into the rainforest.

​In the wattagan mountains in 1975, two farmers saw a log on the road ahead of them, but as they got closer the “log” walked away, revealing it was actually a massive monitor lizard. In 1979, Herpetologist Frank Gordon took his ATV up into the mountains of Limpinwood Nature Reserve in New South Wales to look for water skinks, a species he was studying at the time. After hours of not finding one, he rested his back on a large log. He had gone away on his vehicle and when he returned about an hour later, he said the log had moved from where it was before. After getting closer to move it, he figured out it wasn't a log, but a giant lizard. As soon as he realized this, it reared up and ran into the rainforest. In comparison to his ATV, he said it was 28-feet long.

In 2005, Frankie Shoveller, a Karajarri musician teacher from the remote community of Bidyadanga in Western Australia, filmed a series of massive three-toed, reptilian footprints in the sand on a beach. The tracks were shown to him by some local children who were fishing when they noticed them. Though often considered to belong to a burrunjor, many locals from Bidyadanga believe they belong to a gigantic flightless bird, as they do somewhat resemble an emu's footprint, albeit much larger. 

In 2014, a hiker named A. Sleetman, was in Limpinwood Nature Reserve was on a small trail. As he was walking, he was hearing the crunch of leaves behind him. He looked behind and saw a huge monitor lizard, with a more than two-foot wide head tasting the air with its forked tongue. Out of panic, he sprinted into the rainforest and hid behind a rock. He then heard the creature’s footsteps stomp away and he got back to safety.

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