The loveable, hungry Monster That Ate Canberra is back.
By popular demand a sculpture of Alexander the Bunyip now graces the new Gungahlin Public Library.
And to celebrate, a new updated edition of the Monster That Ate Canberra has been released by Halstead Press, 39 years after author and illustrator Michael Salmon first let the Bunyip loose on the capital’s iconic buildings.
To mark the return of the Monster, the National Library of Australia hosted Bunyip Day. More than 300 school children, teachers and friends of the Library enjoyed stories, cartoons and other fun with author / illustrator Michael Salmon. Director-General of the NLA, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, welcomed the author but was relieved that the Bunyip—with his tendency to munch on large buildings—was nowhere in sight!
Michael Salmon said he was surprised and delighted when he first heard about a street sculpture to honour the Bunyip.
‘I never expected Alexander Bunyip to have a bronze sculpture’ he said ‘but it’s wonderful news.’
Parents, children and grandchildren have all enjoyed the antics of Alexander Bunyip as he turns Lake Burley Griffin into his very own billabong, mistakes the National Art Gallery for a ‘big, fat, juicy hamburger’ and Parliament House for a pizza. Perhaps it’s also the final page image of a familiar silver-haired PM tucked into bed with teddy and a copy of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ that accounts for the enduring appeal of the Monster to adults and children.
The ACT government commissioned the sculpture, by Anne Ross, but the idea to memorialise Canberra’s own monster, came from the local community—Alan Kerlin, President of the Gungahlin Community Council.
In another local link Michael Salmon dedicates the book to his grandfather, Canon W. J. Edwards, first headmaster of Canberra Grammar School, 1928.
The Monster that Ate Canberra by Michael Salmon
Paperback, RRP $16.95