That a form of marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs could still survive in the Hawkesbury River must, understandably, seem absurd to many people. Yet, when one considers the often enormous widths, the great depths, the length of the river (up to 120 kilometres) and its many branches snaking off in all directions, there is more than enough room for such creatures to have survived and bred undisturbed for centuries, as the following case histories suggest.
Hawkesbury River Bridge - August 1979
“I was not seeing things. It was right there in the water, out there in the middle of the river with its snakelike head moving from side to side, four feet above the water.” That was how Miss Rosemary Turner, a young bushwalker, described the horrible reptilian creature that surfaced nearby as she stood on the bank of the Hawkesbury River, a few kilometres west of the Hawkesbury River Bridge, one August day in 1979. Rosemary had been resting during a hike in the surrounding bushland on the Sydney side of the river.
The water was calm on a sunny afternoon around 3 pm, she later recalled-when, suddenly, a dark shape began to appear in the water ahead of her. "All of a sudden this large, shiny, scaly, black pair of humps rose two feet out of the water to a length of about 20 feet. I could clearly see two long flippers, at least a few feet in length, moving below the surface. At this moment a head appeared 15 feet ahead of the humps. The animal appeared to be facing an east-west position. Four feet of head and neck rose above the water and I could partly make out the tail just below the surface some feet east of the body.
The head of this monster reminded me of a snake-ugly, and about two feet in length (by now she was observing the creature with her binoculars hastily snatched from their case)-but it quickly sank beneath the waves, the tail rising out of the water in a quick flip as the monster plunged into the depths, leaving a great wake in the water." All this time, Rosemary stood petrified watching the creature, still not sure what it was. All she could tell me some months later was that the animal was at least 45 to 50 feet in length.
The above report is similar to that of another woman, Judy Morgan, of Sydney, who saw a huge animal in the same region at about 4 pm one Sunday in May 1979. Here is her story.
“I had been watching water-skiers from the top of a 50-foot bank (Sydney side of the river) with my binoculars. Soon after the skiers had passed up the river in the direction of the Hawkesbury River Bridge about four miles to the east, I observed from about 300 feet out in the centre of the river a large pair of humps rise out of the water up to three feet.
"From where I stood I could clearly see two sets of long paddle-like flippers just below the surface, and these may have extended out at least several feet from the body. I also spotted a tail partly visible below the surface, and this rose to the surface after about a minute before submerging again. So far the creature's head had not appeared; but this suddenly also rose out of the water, snakelike, and on the end of a long, thick neck several feet above the surface. I estimate the animal could have been a good 40 feet in length, at least!"
During 1977, two fishermen in a small boat in Broken Bay became startled when a
large snakelike head of terrifying appearance, and about 1.5 metres wide, momentarily
surfaced a few metres from them.
A similar shock befell a group of fishermen in a half-cabin cruiser in mid-river one
night in December 1979 near the Hawkesbury River Bridge. In the darkness, their attention
was drawn to a large object that splashed to the surface some metres away. Flashing their
torches on the object, they were shaken to see a snakelike creature, its head about 60cm long
and about 50 to 60cm wide, rising a metre or more into the air. There was also a darkened
hump in the water but the fishermen started the engine in a panic and quickly left the area.
In that same area in broad daylight early in January 1980, fishermen observed a large
dark shape below the surface. It displayed the characteristic long neck and serpentine head,
large body with two sets of long flippers, and long tail. Although the creature did not surface,
the eyewitnesses judged it to be about 30 feet or so in length.
Perhaps the fisherman's story to end all fishermen's stories concerning long-necked
monsters on the Hawkesbury River took place in Broken Bay 21 days after the end of World
War Two Sydney fishermen, John Nelson and Bob Orange, were fishing in a small motor
launch out in the middle of the bay at about 7am.
John takes up the Story
"A few hundred yards away to the north of us there was a large yacht anchored, and
we could see at least 12 people moving about on it.
Then suddenly, 50 yards away to the east of our launch, there was a disturbance in
the water and we got the shock of our lives when this ugly, snakelike head rose from the
surface, looking directly at us.
We reckoned later that its neck was at least two feet thick and that the head was a
good two-and-a-half feet long by about one-and-a-half feet wide. Within moments, the head
had risen up to about 10 feet above the water, the scaly creature being a dark grey in colour
but for the underside of the neck which was a pale yellowish-white.
By now we could see humps appearing above the water as the monster's body came
into view there were two of them about 20 feet apart and two to three feet above the water.
We could also see a disturbance in the water coming from flippers barely visible below
surface, and there was some disturbance behind the creature, presumably from a moving tail.
We watched the monster as it looked slowly about for perhaps five minutes, as it
made no effort to harm us. Anyway, Bob suggested we leave so we moved off toward the
At this, the monster suddenly splashed below the surface and we got a momentary
glance of its tail, paddle-like and perhaps 15 feet in length.
By now, the people on the yacht had sighted the creature also and were moving
about, agitated and shouting. We could see the head re-appear just above the surface as the
monster headed toward the yacht, submerging about 50 feet from the craft.
We waited a while, and there being no more sign of the monster we motored over to
the yacht and its occupants. Some of them had observed the animal's flippers-four of them
and up to several feet in length, thrashing about below surface. We all agreed, the monster
could have been from 45 to 50 feet in length."
More Accounts April 2010