Down the Mall: Dearth of planning leads to extra work

IT seems like a case of the left hand not knowing what any other body part’s up to.

In Barkly Terrace East, they painted some crisp white lines on the road to mark the centre and the parking bays, possibly in response to a rise in traffic near the new hospital.

Terrific. But then this week, a work crew resurfaced exactly the same bit of road with bitumen and gravel.

Meanwhile, a block away, some spiffing new post and rail fencing was put up at a pocket park in Niemann Street and less than a week later the fence had to be partly removed for new water mains works.

Creeping critters   

Last week’s mention of the ABC classifying a three-metre shark sighting as a “Central Victorian” news item sparked a bit of an odd discussion.

Why haven’t we had any weird critter stories around Bendigo lately? It’s yonks since we had a tasty rush of bizarre cryptozoology stories scaring the daylights out of children and those from the shallow end of the gene pool.

DTM did some research (yes, really) and found a rich vein of oddity in and around Bendigo going back 150 years (Adopt spooky voice from here):

June 3, 1876 – Bega Standard reports spate of sightings of huge clawed critters on Bendigo goldfields.

July 3, 1857 – Addie carries weird letter from Edwin Stocqueler of Sandhurst who said that while on a trip to the Goulburn River he spaw a monster some thought might be a bunyip, but  said he’d keep the details to himself until he had a professional painted "diorama” made. And presumably charge folks “a dollar and a half just to see” him.

1890s – the much-feared Tantanoola Tiger is thought to have wandered from South Australia all the way to Bendigo and Mount Macedon. A Bendigo miner reported he’d been paralysed with terror by the night roaring of the striped beast which was larger than a dog.

February 7, 1935 –Melbourne’s Argus reports two chaps recovered a bizarre beastie in a dam at Golden Square. It was like a fish, but without scales, or fins, and had two chubby legs and webbed feet. It was taken to Melbourne to be ID’d, but no more reports were made.

March 1, 1968 – Canberra Times reports “wildlife men” (huh?) were sent to hunt a huge black cat in Bendigo after two woodcutters reported hearing seven huge roars in nearby bush.

There was a beauty in Perth’s Daily News (and some other papers, such as the Melbourne Argus) in September 1947. Three blokes, including one Mr A. Rice from Bendigo, were up on the Murray near Swan Hill when they saw a one-metre black beast on the waster’s edge. They first thought it was a pig, but one month later, they saw it again, this time swimming at a brisk rate, with a 20-centimetre-thick neck jutting high out of the water and with bulging eyes but no ears. It let out the most shrill, ear-shattering scream.

Someone later found a 1933 report of a sea lion escaping from a sideshow at Wangaratta in 1933 and wondered if it was the same beastie.

Since then, apart from Crateman, it’s been pretty quiet on the weird animals front, apart from a big cat sighting in Harcourt vineyards in 2008.

There. Now off you go and look.

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