The following was reported by Peter Darben using the Fortean Times - On line reporting service


Seen in The Queensland Sunday Mail on 12/11/95

Is it a tiger ? Is it a lion ? Or just a plain old furphy ?

Naturalists investigating reports of north Queensland's mysterious "nightgrowler" will settle the question by trapping the beast, if there is one, or tracking it to its lair.

Goldsborough Valley resident "Wharfie" Mark Camplon is the latest to tell of a brush with what he thinks is one of Queenslan's fabed native tigers.

"I was sitting here on the back verandah, watching television," he said."Rusty, my dog, was sitting on the bed next to me. Rusty's afraid of nothing, but all of a sudden he started shaking like mad.

"His hair was standing up along his back and he was staring out into the night, through the shade cloth. I looked out but I couldn't see a thing.

"Then it growled. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard, really deep and big sounding."

Similar reports of a large, feline-like creature which prowls remote areas at night have come from other residents in the picturesque valley south of Cairns.

A team of local naturalists and a ranger are determined to either capture one of the creatures, or prove the Goldsborough Growler is a myth.

Pat Shepherd, leader of the group, said : "The last time anyone was serious about this was back in the 1930's. Then they didn't have the knowledge or equipment we have, so on that basis we're off to a head start.

"We had some sophisticated traps and tracking methods so we can do what people in the past didn't dream of - track this creature back to its lair. It's there we'll get the scientific evidence to support or debunk any theory."

Mr Camplon's story s echoed by several other residents of the area who have heard something in the night. They all agree it's not a dog or a canine sort of noise. They also all agree that it sounds "like a tiger".

The Queensland marsupial tiger was widely reported throughout the region in the early part of the century. There have been sporadic sightings until the 1970's.

Mr Camplon said he heard "the growler" several times and the reaction of his dog has always been the same - it is clearly terrified. This is common with reports of the marsupial tiger.

Naturalists are divided on the "tiger's" existence. They say that if it does, then it is probably a descendant of Thylacoleo Carnifex (sic), a marsupial lion which lived in Queenland in prehistoric times.

They say the descriptions and paw prints alleged to be of the creature are not consistent with any known species.

Mr Camplon said people who thought he had been hitting the booze should go an spend some time in the valley.

"Once you are here, away from civilisation and all the noise and lights, it's easy to believe that a creature could live for years away from the eyes of man," he said. "You could lose an army up here, let alone a family of cats or something similar. Especially if they were well adapted to the area.

"They'd come down near people only when the food got short."

[Contributor's note : while there is a lot of evidence to support the existence of this wee beastie (at least up until the 1950's), the above article is not helped by one of the illustrations. The caption to a sketch of the critter's track next to that of a dog reads "Paw wars . . . locals say the track print on the left was made by a "tiger". The other print was made by a dog". The same picture appeared on p103 of "Out of the Shadows" by Tony Healy and Paul Cropper (Ironbark, 1994) with the caption "Mr Hull's sketch (left) compared to the track of a dog (right) twenty one inches [50cm] high at the shoulder" Reading the text reveals that Mr Hull drew the sketches for an article published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, sometime around 1871.]

Contact email address: p.darben@melia.qut.edu.au