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Lake Burley Griffin's 'Lost Undertaker' shrouded in mist-ery

Mystery surrounds the eerie sight of a man dressed as an undertaker who has been spotted gliding through the morning mist on Lake Burley Griffin in a stand-up paddle board fashioned as a coffin. 

Paddlers on Canberra's lake were baffled by the sight of the man and his bizarre vessel, which has been decorated with brightly-coloured plastic flowers. 

Jeanne Mclauchlan was one seasoned paddler who spotted the man during an early morning venture to the lake on Saturday morning.

"In the distance, as we came towards the Carillon we noticed a figure emerge from the thick fog," she said.  

"It was a figure of a man dressed in a tuxedo and top hat on a stand-up-paddle (SUP) coffin, complete with flowers, paddling toward us. 

"We asked 'coffin man', 'Where are you going'? His response was, 'To Queanbeyan cemetery as I have a 3pm grave site to prepare'." 


Canberra Times reader Yu Jo Chua also snapped a photograph of the man on the weekend which he dubbed Charon of the Molonglo, after the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology.

He saw the man paddling towards him from Molonglo Reach as he walked along the cycle bridge near Duntroon.

"It wasn't till I got home and was cropping the photo in post-processing that I realised it wasn't quite what I thought," he said.

"A few moments later he crossed paths with kayakers paddling upstream. I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces encountering this in the fog."

But the man's novel appearance didn't thrill everyone who saw him.

It is understood some relatives of patients at Clare Holland House, which sits on the edge of the lake at Barton, felt the sight of the coffin kayaker out the hospice's windows was inappropriate and insensitive.

Images of the man bore a strong resemblance to Sydney kayaker Tom Simmat, who has previously been spotted paddling his coffin on NSW waterways. 

Phone calls to Mr Simmat went unanswered this week but an email response came from 'The Lost Undertaker'.

"The Lost Undertaker has been spied on Lake Burly Griffin, on a grave undertaking at the political dead centre of Australia, looking for a cemetery, probably took a wrong turn and went up a dead end," he said.

"The Lost Undertaker has also been spotted on Sydney Harbour not far from the cemetery at the Quarantine Station but again going in the wrong direction."

He claimed photographs were rare and "surrounded by mist-ery". 

"Also spotted on the Hawkesbury River not far from the Windsor cemetery, but disappeared into the night," he said.

Mr Simmat refused to confirm he was the The Lost Undertaker and instead said: "We all know how less effective Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Zorro and not forgetting Wonderwoman, became, once their true identity became known."