Mysterious Aussie billy goat takes social media by storm
A ‘massive’ and ‘majestic’ billy goat has become a local legend after motorists spotted it watching traffic in the middle of a busy freeway, with some locals questioning if the animal is even real
READING LEVEL: GREEN
A lone goat who looks out over busy highway traffic from a high hill along the middle stretch of a major Australian freeway is causing quite a stir.
Nicknamed the Big Dipper Billy Goat, the “beautiful” and “massive” goat has been seen standing on the hill between the eastbound and westbound lanes of the busy South Eastern Freeway in South Australia, between Callington and Mount Barker.
He has made such an impression on passing motorists that Mount Barker resident Jeffery O’Connell started a Facebook group in the goat’s honour.
The Facebook group has attracted nearly 1000 followers, who share photos they have taken of the goat each day.
Mr O’Connell said he was moved to create an online group to spread the love of the creature he calls the “overlord and king of the Big Dipper hill”.
He didn’t believe stories he had heard about the goat until he saw it for himself one day while driving to work.
“(Billy) looks even more menacing up close, like a goat god,” he said.
But even though plenty of photos have been shared online, some locals don’t believe the goat is even real, claiming tales of the goat are “nonsense” and a myth.
Others, like Sam Rasheed, described sightings of the goat as “majestic” and a “near-religious experience”.
“As far as I know he has been there for many years as I have been seeing him for five plus years though no-one ever believed me,” he said.
But he said even he questioned whether he had really seen the goat or merely dreamt about it after the first sighting – until he saw the goat a second time.
“We were graced with a once in a lifetime sighting on the grassy knoll between the two hills,” he posted online.
“Thank you Big Dipper Billy for letting my eyes drift past your multi-coloured chest, you are truly beautiful.”
As for how the goat got there, a neighbouring landowner of 15 years, Jason Grech, had a theory.
“I think he’s an escapee from a neighbouring farm that had goats,” he said.
But mysteriously, Mr Grech has never seen the goat himself, despite living next to where the goat has been sighted.
“I have heard of sightings for six or seven years, I personally have never seen him,” he said.
- lone: by itself
- overlord: a lord who rules over other lords
- menacing: threatening
- myth: a story that is not true
- near-religious: something that touches someone deeply and seems to be sent by god or angels
- knoll: a low hill with gentle slopes and a rounded top
- escapee: someone who has escaped from somewhere
1. Where has the goat been spotted?
2. What is its nickname?
3. How many followers does the goat’s Facebook page have?
4. Where does neighbour Mr Grech think the goat came from?
5. What are two words used to describe the goat?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Is Billy real?
Do you think that Big Dipper Billy Goat is real? List the evidence from the story that backs up your answer.
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English
How could Big Dipper Billy Goat survive on his own for so long? Use your research skills to find out more about goats. Use the information that you have found, information from the story and your own detective thinking skills to write a report that answers this question.
Time: allow at least 60 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Critical and Creative Thinking
The fourth billy goat gruff
We all know the story of the Three Billy Goat’s Gruff, but what if there was actually a fourth billy goat?
Tell the story of how you think Big Dipper Billy came to live on the hill of the busy South Eastern Freeway. Write it as a draft picture story books for F-2 students in the South Australian surrounding schools.
Edit and uplevel: After writing, read through your story aloud to yourself to make sure your ideas are clear, there are no omissions, and the writing makes sense. Next, you can check for any spelling or grammar mistakes that you can fix. Remember, you are writing to young students, so make sure the language is suitable, or include a glossary to help them.
Extension: Turn your book into an actual picture book by deciding what text will go on each page and draw a picture to go with the text. Visit a younger grade to share your story with them for feedback.
Time: allow at least 20-40 minutes to complete the task
Curriculum Links: English, Big Write, VCOP