The amazing lake Goran situated on the Liverpool plains
Goran Lake, originally known as the "Great Swamp', is a large internal basis, situated on the Liverpool Plains, generally south of Gunnedah and north of Spring Ridge.
The catchment of the lake is approximately 1900 kms square.
When very full, the lake may overflow eastwards into the Mooki which joins with Namoi at Gunnedah.
However, this only happens in very wet years and is a rare event having occurred only three times in the 20th. century.
The lake is about 16kms long and 5 kms at its widest point.
On a clear day, when full, it can be sited from the Coolah Tops.
During early settlement it was frequently said that the lake possessed a most elusive and ambiguous creature, the bunyip, chief rival of the Lock Ness monster and unlike any known beast.
In Aboriginal lore the bunvip was a fearsome monster.
It was claimed to be as big as a bullock, with an emu's head and neck, a horse's mane and tail, and seal's flippers.
It subsisted on die of crayfish to drowned animals and humans. Its voice resembled a sepulchral boom, extremely alarming to natives and early settlers at night.
The first occasion on which our settlers claimed to have actually seen a bunyip was in 1872 when one was reported in a lagoon near Narrandera.
This mysterious animal was described being half as along as a retriever dog, with black hair all over its body.
A few weeks later another bunyip suddenly materialised at Dalby in Queensland.
This bunyip was described as having a head of a seal, a tail quaintly like that of a fish, and one large and small fish.
Around about the year 1900 old residents were still telling the tale of a creature called a bunyip living in the "Great Swamp", which was boggy, full crab holes and dotted with lignum bushes.
At this time three drovers camped for the night on the foreshore of the lake.
Then whilst asleep they were awakened by a tremendous roar that put the fear of death into them.
Rushing outside they noticed there had been a great disturbance on the surface of the lake, but no sighting of a bunyip like creature.
Later it was generally agreed that bunyips did not exist and that the culprit was the bittern a harmless lagoon-dwelling bird, which was later called the "swamp bird" or "bunyip bird".
When a booming call is heard over a lonely swamp, it is the voice of the bittern, the largest of the five kinds of Australian bitterns.
Its call can be heard for a distance up to 2 miles.
These bitterns specialise in living in dense beds of reeds and rushes that exists on the shores of Lake Goran.
Here they are most difficult to see, as they are particularly concealed.
When the resting bittern is alerted they stand still with their next stretched upwards and their bill pointing skywards.
Sometimes they may even sway in the breeze, in time with the surrounding reeds.
This combination makes them blend in remarkable with the surrounding vegetation.
It Is hardly surprising that the habitation of the species is seldom recorded.
In 1982 the National Parks and Wildlife Service carried a bird survey on Lake Goran.
A total of 70 birds were recorded but no listing made of the reclusive or ' booming" bittern.
Even though today most Australian consider the bunyip to be mythical they have not dismissed Its lore.
The National Library of Australia sponsors a travelling exhibition on bunyips, and several folk-tales appear on the Government web site.
A set of four postage stamps have been issued with different versions of the supposed bunyip.
Additional information on the siting of bunyips maybe found on Trove Net Bunyips.