Part 3: Munkara v Santos NA Barossa Pty Ltd (No 3)

Not the Tiwi Island Crocodile called “Elvis”. But a nice one nonetheless …

At paragraph 312 of Justice Natalie Charlesworth’s decision in Munkara v Santos NA Barossa Pty Ltd (No 3) witness Tony Pilakui said in his statement that he disputed the truth of evidence given by Brian Tipungwuti about a crocodile named Wiarpralia, who some people called Elvis.

Brian Tipungwuti stated he’d heard about a crocodile man songline at ceremonies. 

“I have seen this crocodile.  He doesn’t live in the ocean, he lives in the swamp and has oysters on his head. This is just a crocodile and we have [a] name for him which is Wiarpralia.  Some people call him Elvis because of the oysters on his head.”

Senior Tiwi traditional owner Walter Kerinauia referred to the Crocodile Man story on Cape Fourcroy and to another crocodile near that country referred to as King Elvis

Wesley Kerinaiua also said he knows about the Crocodile Man story.  He said the story goes that people got angry with a man, so they speared him and he turned into a crocodile.  He said that the pipeline would not affect the Crocodile man song because he only travelled along the coast from Cape Fourcroy up to Rocky Point.

In his statement Wesley Kerinaiua said: “When they see him they call him Elvis. The crocodile that inspired the story probably died a long time ago, but it’s just a story.”