Rex & Heather Gilroy - Research of the Australian (Marsupial) Panther

Rex Gilroy hopes to inspire other future researchers to follow his example and dare to question long-established dogmas of our prehistory and, like him, reveal evidence for long-hidden mysteries about which the scientific establishment would prefer we knew nothing.
Excerpts from the 1995 & 2003 Updated version of Mysterious Australia - PART THREE - Cryptozoological Mysteries -Chapter 9 - Do Panthers Roam the Australian Bush? Chapter 10 . Mystery Lions of the Blue Mountains.

Excerpts from the 2006 Book Out Of The Dreamtime - The Search For Australasia's Unknown Animals. Part Three – Lions and tigers of the Australian Bush. Chapter Seven – What is the Queensland Tiger? Chapter Eight – Australia’s Mysterious Marsupial Lions – Meat-Eaters of the Miocene. Chapter Nine – The “Australian Panther” – Big Cats of the Bushland.

Rex & Heather Gilroy

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Rex and Heather Gilroy-Australia's Top 'Unexplained' Mysteries Research Team. Photos & Text copyright (c) Rex & Gilroy Heather 2010
• Research of Rex & Heather Gilroy - Panther Research Queensland

What is the Queensland Tiger?

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

If generations of eyewitness accounts are correct, the jungles of northern Queensland are the home of yet another, striped-bodied marsupial carnivore. Sightings of these mystery animals have also been reported from other, widely scattered localities further south. Yet there is something different about this “Queensland Tiger” which sets it apart from its better-known striped Thylacine cousin - it climbs trees, from where it leaps upon passing prey!

Traditions of the former forest dwelling Aboriginal people of the Atherton mountain range inland from Cairns, preserve traditions of these carnivores dating back to the ‘Dreamtime’.Early settler’s tales are many and in the Cairns-Atherton-Cooktown districts these date back to the mid-19th century.

The author has heard many similar reports from Queensland’s far north, but tales of the notorious “Queensland Tiger” or “Tiger Cat” are not confined to that region by any means. I have heard of sightings from widely scattered farming areas outside Mackay, Rockhampton, Gympie and Murgon as well as from scrubland locations west of the coastal mountain ranges.

The ‘tiger’ has been attacking stock, killing calves, sheep, goats and poultry in the Chinchilla, Taroom, Emerald, Charters Towers and many other areas for generations.

So what is this “Queensland Tiger Cat”?

Fur colour descriptions vary from grey, fawn to ochre, but all accounts describe darkish body stripes. It cannot be confused with the better-known Thylacine because of its frequent habit of wedging the bodies of its ‘kills’ high up in the forks of tree limbs, and most eyewitness reports describe its almost feline-like features.

There can be no doubt about its marsupial status. Until a living or deceased specimen can be produced for the perusal of scientists, its exact position in the marsupial family will remain unestablished; although my scientific colleague, the late Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, some years ago agreed with my theory, that the “Queensland Tiger Cat” may be a relative of the supposed long-extinct Marsupial Lion, Thylacoleo carnifex.

The rear-facing pouch is a feature of the females of each of our marsupial carnivores described in this book, an evolutionary development which helps protect the young from injury whenever the mother is moving through low scrub and other obstructions.

Cardwell, South of Tully 1871

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

One report concerned a police magistrate based at Cardwell, south of Tully, Mr Brinsley Sheridan, who together with his son was walking with their pet terrier along a track near the beach of Rockingham Bay, on the evening of August 2nd 1871.

The dog caught a scent among scrub and dashed off into the bush barking furiously. The son pursued his pet through the scrub for up to half a mile until, catching up with him, he found it had its quarry at bay in long grass. “The animal was”, he said later, “as big as a dingo, with a cat-like face. It had a long tail, its body had black stripes with yellow fur”.

The terrier attacked but was soon forced back. The ‘tiger’ then dashed up a nearby leaning tree while the dog continued barking at it. The strange creature then dashed back down the tree, past the boy and the dog, escaping into nearby scrub. Mr Sheridan later learnt of earlier incidents involving ‘tigers’ which had occurred in the Cardwell district.

Valley of Lagoons, West of Cardwell June 5th 1872

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

In the valley of Lagoons, west of Cardwell, on June 5th 1872, a native police officer, Robert Johnstone, in the company of several other police officers, spotted in dense scrub a large animal perched about 40ft [about 12.2m] above ground on a tree limb.

As the men approached it, the animal suddenly leapt from its perch about 10ft [about 3m] into another tree, clung to it, then slithered down the trunk tail first to escape. The men observed the creature to be larger than an average pointer dog, its body fur being of a fawn colouration with darker markings [ie stripes], and a long thick tail.

Atherton 1896

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

In 1896 an Atherton farmer, Mr Tom French, had been losing calves, sheep and goats to some mystery creature that raided his property day and night. Despite searches with cattle dogs he had been unsuccessful in finding the carnivore, which left telltale large paw prints in muddy patches around his property, which lay on the edge of dense scrub.

One day, from his kitchen window, he observed a strange animal, a little larger than a fully-grown German Shepherd Dog, with greyish-coloured fur and darker coloured body stripes, dash across the paddock barely 50ft [15.24m] from his window, to pounce upon a calf, grabbing it by the throat.

By the time Tom had grabbed his rifle and dashed outside, the animal was gone. Looking towards scrub in the direction from where the animal had first appeared, he saw the powerful beast dragging its ‘kill’ toward the trees. With his two teenage sons he was soon in the scrub in pursuit of the animal.

Entering a clearing they saw the creature, perched on a gum tree limb some 20ft [6.1m] from the ground, where it had wedged the calf’s body between the trunk and the limb. Tom raised his rifle and the animal was brought down with a single shot. Tom later skinned the animal but the eventual fate of the hide is not known.

West of Townsville 1991

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

In 1991 a young trail bike rider, Don Moss, exploring a scrubland track west of Townsville, surprised a large, fawn-coloured animal with black body stripes, which leapt from a tree ahead of him at his approach, to bound off into scrub. As he reached the tree, Don saw a dead goat, wedged in the fork of a limb about 15ft [about 4.58m] above the ground where the creature had been feeding upon it.

Moreton Area, Wenlock River, Cape York Peninsula, November 1990

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

In the Moreton area, on the Wenlock River, on Cape York Peninsula, in November 1990, two fishermen, Jim Spriggs and Tony Banks camped overnight during a fishing holiday up the ‘Cape’ were woken around dawn by the clatter of nearby cooking utensils, in time to see a greyish-furred animal with black body stripes rummaging among the camp goods.

“Before the creature ran off into the trees, we both noticed it was a female with a reversed pouch, which was carrying a pup”, said Jim to me later. Tony was walking down the track from their four-wheel drive vehicle later that morning when he found a number of strange, large paw impressions in the dirt, which he took to be those of the mystery animal.The creature we saw was rather thickset, and would have been about 5ft [1.53m] length from nose to tail tip. I think she stood about 1 ½ ft [46cm] on all fours, and I think the tail looked a little bushy”, he said.

They both agreed that the animal’s physical appearance was somewhat dog yet feline, especially the head, whose ears were pricked.

Wallaman Falls, Behind Ingham 1940’s

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

In the course of our great many field investigations over thirty years in Queensland’s far north, Heather and I have visited many areas known for ‘tiger cat’ activity, collecting many reports of these carnivores.

Among these reports is that of Mr Paul Anderson, who in 1987 informed us that, during the 1940’s at Wallaman Falls, behind Ingham, an axe-carrying farmer with six cattle dogs cornered one of these striped-bodied ‘tigers’ high above the ground on a tree onto which it had fled while being pursued.

The animal then leapt from the limb to fearlessly take on all six dogs, killing three of them in the confrontation, before the farmer was able to get close enough to kill it with his axe.

“Queensland Tiger Cat”

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

As I have already shown, the mysterious “Queensland Tiger Cat” is by no means confined to the forest of the far north. Reports of these carnivores occur as far as the border ranges into north-eastern NSW.

Reports of these marsupial carnivores are also known to extend from the western base of Cape York Peninsula into the Gulf country, where travellers in 4-wheel drive vehicles have often claimed to have seen them. Perhaps one day someone is going to come upon the freshly deceased remains of one of these large ‘tiger-cats’, or perhaps an intact skeleton. Perhaps one might even be captured alive and the mystery solved.

When the necessary physical evidence is to hand, I believe the “Queensland Marsupial Tiger” will turn out to be a relative of the Marsupial Lion, and therefore yet one more, supposed long ‘extinct’ species from the Australian Ice-Age, whose continued survival is an ever-present embarrassment for conservative science.

• Reports - Sightings From the 1995 Book Mysterious Australia - New * Click Here Now * New
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State By State Sighting Reports
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Reports on Panther Activity by Government Departments

• NSW Agriculture Report on information available on the reported large black cat in the Blue Mountains. Prepared by: Bill Atkinson, Agricultural Protection Officer - New * Click Here * New

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When Animals Attack
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Rex & Heather Gilroy - Research of the Australian (Marsupial) Panther -Sighting Reports

Kangaroo Valley: If, as I maintain, we are dealing with a still unknown species of giant marsupial cat related to Thylacoleo, then we can cancel out the 'panther' feral cat theory. Undoubtedly, feral cats make up a large percentage of Kangaroo Valley 'panther' reports, but a comparison of physical descriptions and plaster casts of 'panther' paw-prints certainly distinguishes this animal from any feral cat.
Rex & Heather Gilroy
Rex and Heather Gilroy-Australia's Top 'Unexplained' Mysteries Research Team.
Photos & Text From mysterious Australia copyright (c) Rex & Gilroy Heather 2010
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