The Bold Park Bunyip  (Old Boldy)

Reabold Hill harbours some dark secrets.  None more mysterious than the legend of "Old Boldy".  Thankfully his thunderous roar no longer bellows freely from the summit.  With the oppressive local noise bylaws you can't really blame him.

Reabold Hill Summit Entry Statement

History unfortunately bypassed the Bold Park Bunyip. The local housing boom didn't.

"Old Boldy" was first reported during the summer of 1842, by a group of adventurous settlers enjoying a bush picnic near Perry Lakes.  Here is a dramatic account of the incident.

Local artists share their interpretation of "Old Boldy".

 

"Mr James and I were observing some ducks at the south end of the lake.  Suddenly the water in the centre of the lake began to boil furiously.  Thick black mud rose to the surface, and small waves driven by the force of the disturbance commenced to break upon the shore.  It was then that a creature unknown to science presented itself to our view.  A long black neck rose out of the water, attaining a height of about 5 feet.  It's head was small and covered with flaps of skin.  At this point the creature noted our presence, and made motion towards our place on the shore.  We hurriedly returned to the main party, proceeded to mount our horses, and made a quick retreat towards the townsite (Perth)."

 

Upon returning to Perth, all the members of the party were in a state of deep shock, and remained a pale white colour for one week after the incident.  An expedition sent to recover the abandoned picnic basket, discovered it in a dishevelled state, minus the sandwiches.

The 1842 Picnic Site.

 

The commemorative picnic area serves as a silent reminder for day time visitors. 

"Old Boldy" never made any more grand entrances out of the lake, though it seems he may have developed a taste for grazing livestock.  During the 1870's he was held accountable for the many unexplained cattle disappearances around Perry Lakes. 

 

PERTH ALERT:   Life On Perth has funded several expeditions deep into the centre of Bold Park.  No evidence directly supporting the existence of "Old Boldy" was discovered.  Despite seeing absolutely nothing during our late night torch light expedition, we still found it to be a particularly scary place at night.  Things became rather hairy when we were startled by a screeching roar from the summit of Reabold Hill.  We were disappointed to trace the noise to a group of hoons, spinning wheelies in the visitors car park.  Guys, if you are reading this, could you please return my camera.

A $5000 on the summit fine for roaring.
 

With a $5000 on the summit fine for roaring, "Old Boldy" is now limited to mild humming noises during daylight hours.

Life can be pretty hard for an aquatic monster with no water.

Continual dry summers have nearly dried up Perry Lakes, leaving little doubt that "Old Boldy" no longer inhabits the park.  Bush fires and residential development have made life even more difficult for the parkland monster.  However, should you ever hear the sound of a breaking twig, always look twice.  Particularly if you are carrying sandwiches.

Spectacular lake side appearances soon
dried up after the water.

 
The Perry Lakes Reserve.

Perry Lakes - The East Lake.

Perry Lakes - The East lake.

The Perry Lakes Reserve is named in honour of Mr Joseph Perry, who purchased the estate in 1879 for his horse-breaking and stock dealing business.  The reserve is located in the Perth suburb of Floreat, and covers an area of 80 hectares.  It is adjacent to Bold Park, and includes two lakes, known as the West Lake, and East Lake.  Sadly the creative minds in the naming committee must have missed that meeting.  

The West Lake from Reabold Hill (Perth can be seen in the background).

 

The West Lake from Reabold Hill.

Two Ducks heading to the shore.

Ducks heading to the shore.

Technical Name: Chelodina oblonga.

The Western Long-Necked Tortoise.

The lakes are an important breeding ground for waterbirds, frogs, and tortoises.  There is a large population of Western Long-Necked Tortoises in the lakes, which feed on midges, and green algae.  When you stand on the waters edge, they poke their heads above the surface, and check you out with inquisitive eyes.

The East Lake.
The East Lake.

Repetitive dry summers have nearly dried up the lakes.   Another influencing factor is the level of the local groundwater system, known as the Gnangara Mound.  When the water table is higher than the water level in Perry Lakes, the groundwater will flow into the lakes.  If the water table is lower than the level in the lakes, the lake water drains into the groundwater system.  This was bad news for "Old Boldy", as our summers have become drier, and more people have been pumping bore water from the aquifer onto their front lawns.  In a desperate attempt to lure "Old Boldy" back into the reserve, underground water is now being pumped into the lakes.  However, this lowers the water table, and we all know what happens next.

Topping up the West Lake.

 

Under the pump.

The West Lake from Reabold Hill.

The West Lake - Presenting issues for the Perry Lakes Yacht Club.

Thanks to some artificial maintenance, the water level in the East Lake is now more healthy than the West Lake.  Despite these efforts, it is still possible to walk across the East Lake in a pair of old sandals, and not get your feet wet.  Though please don't try it.  This doesn't seem to bother the long-necked tortoises, who seem quite happy in their shallow habitat.  Unfortunately we are still yet to convince "Old Boldy".

Copyright 2008 LifeOnPerth.com