This story from Queensland is retold with permission, by Francis Firebrace.

A LONG TIME AGO, back in the Dreaming, old Koala mother didn’t carry the little fella on her back. She just kept him by her side, while she was feeding and had a sleep during the day. She always warned the little Koala to stay away from the billabong. Koalas didn’t need to go there, as they didn’t need to drink water.

Mother Koala said, “Don’t you go down there because, if you do, the big, ugly Bunyip lives in that big billabong. He will grab you, if you go down there. He’s a fierce fella, that Bunyip.”

And so the little Koala listened to what his mother said. But, because he was only a baby, he didn’t take much notice. Little fellas don’t always heed what their parents say.

One day, when his mother was asleep, he climbed down from the gum tree, wandered along the path and found his way to the billabong.

He saw all the busy dragonflies, darting hither and yon across the billabong. The croaking of the frogs fascinated him and he sat quietly, watching them sitting on the lilypads.

Suddenly, the water began to stir! With a great heave, the big ugly Bunyip rose up out of the billabong…
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