“I lie in that space between dreams and reality, when I hear something in the darkness outside. My eyes open in fear. This is a sound I imagine I would hear on the plains of Africa; not within the Australian bush. I’m too frightened to move from the confines of the bed, knowing that there is only a thin fibro wall between me and it. Despite my curiosity, I don’t want to look out the nearby window. It would confirm all those rumours I have heard; that the source of that roar could only come from a large predator”.*
This may very well sound like the work of fiction, but to be perfectly honest with you, this particular paragraph is not. This is, in fact, what actually happened to yours truly some years ago while on holidays down the New South Wales south coast.
There have long been rumours about large cats roaming the Australian bush. Some people believe they originated from a circus panther and her cubs that were rescued from American servicemen during World War II and released in the Grampians (although there is no documentary evidence). Others believe they are descended from caged animals that escaped from zoos and carnivals. There is even the theory that they may have lived in the Australian bush longer than man; the Australian Aboriginals having known of their existence for thousands of years before white settlement.
There have been numerous eyewitness accounts within every state of the country, however, these sightings appear to be mainly throughout the eastern Australian mountain ranges. Reports mainly consist of ‘large black-furred panther-like animals’, having been seen during the day but mostly occurring at night, attacking livestock.
My husband, the eternal skeptic, had scoffed at such a creature existing within the Australian bush. I told him what I had heard that night, and to help support my claim, told him how my own sister and brother-in-law actually saw the creature for themselves one night only a short distance from where I had heard it. He quickly kept the peace and has not mentioned it since, so perhaps I have managed to convince him.
The Australian bush is quite large that anything could be out there. I know the Australian ‘panther’ definitely is.
Do you believe there are some things ‘out there’ still waiting to be discovered?
* This is currently a work in progress.
Image by Debbie Johansson.