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 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 Timeline of Sightings - More Up June 2010

Dating The Sightings of the Australian Panther

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

We are often asked: “What drives you both on, searching year after year, for evidence of animals not officially recognised by scientists?” For us, the answer must always be a love of the rugged Australian bush; and, as field naturalists apart from the known species of our unique native animal life, nothing fascinates us as much as the unknown in nature.

Besides, the vast eastern Australian mountain ranges, like those in other remote parts of the world, contain thousands of square kilometres of scrub and forest country, so inaccessible that much of it has only been mapped rom the air. It is from these ranges that the majority of Australia’s ‘unknown’ animals sightings occur. Until these vast wilderness regions can be fully explored, who can say that creatures such as the Tasmanian Tiger; Australian Panther, Giant Monitor Lizard, The Yowie and others cannot survive hidden from the view of modern man?

It is for this reason that the science of Cryptozoology is important. By gathering evidence of previously unknown or long-thought ‘extinct’ species, the Cryptozoologist can do much towards having them officially recognised and added to the international protected species list.

Such legislation is essential. No sooner is the sighting of some rare animal like the “Australian Panther” [actually a giant marsupial cat] or Tasmanian Tiger reported in the mass media, than the scrub is soon full of trophy hunters armed with guns and dogs, intent upon shooting the poor creature – usually encouraged by a big cash reward offered by some tourist-promoting businessman.

Such antics must be stopped if mankind is to preserve the world’s dwindling wildlife. Coupled with any protective measures must also come further legislation to ensure the preservation of habitats, particularly the world’s rainforests, which are too often the target of the timber industry, that cares little for the wildlife dependent upon these vast forests for their survival. We must act now to save the natural world, for tomorrow will be too late.

It was with these ideals in mind that I established the “Australasian Unknown Animals Investigation Centre” [PO Box 202 Katoomba, NSW 2780; New Email:] in 1977. Here all manner of sightings reports and other evidence is gathered and scientifically assessed. The growing mass of information and other evidence gathered here is more than enough to convince us that there is still much to learn about the rare and unknown species that lurk within the deep and impenetrable recesses of our vast Australia bush.

Pioneer Tales From Queensland

1871- 1899

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

These creatures may occasionally attack humans, particularly if cornered. There are old pioneer tales from the forests of the Atherton and Cooktown districts, dating back well over 100 years of such incidents.

Early settler’s tales are many and in the Cairns-Atherton-Cooktown districts these date back to the mid-19th century. 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.

Mr Sheridan later learnt of earlier incidents involving ‘tigers’ which had occurred in the Cardwell district. For instance, on December 4th 1871, Walter J Scott informed him that six men working near the Murray and Mackay Rivers north of Cardwell, where woken up one night in their tent by a “loud roar”.

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.

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.

“Queensland Tiger Cat”


Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

About 1904 another farmer, Adam Donaldson, is said to have found the rotting carcass of one of his sheep, wedged high above ground in the fork limbs of a tree on his property at Ravenshoe south of Cairns.

About 1914, following attacks on poultry and cattle in the Kuranda area, high up on the Atherton Tableland above Cairns, six men armed with rifles and hand guns, accompanied by several cattle dogs, followed the tracks of a large ‘tiger’-like animal.

In the Cooktown district in 1921, a gold prospector, a Mr Graem Patterson, was exploring for gold deposits near the Normanby River some kilometres west of the town. As he worked his way along a rainforest track, he was suddenly knocked to the ground by some large creature that clawed at his backpack as he quickly struggled to his feet, grabbing for the rifle that had been knocked from his hand.

Mr Anderson stated that earlier, in 1937 Aborigines of the Herbert River Gorge area west of Ingham, claimed that these ‘tigers’ inhabited the region and that one tribesman had killed one of them and skinned it. He claimed to still have the hide but this was never produced.

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.

Sightings Queensland

1951 -1989

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

Mr Anderson has had his own experience with the notorious ‘tiger’ which he related to me in 1987. “Back in 1979 when I was 18 years old, I was outside Ingham shooting rabbits in wild bush-covered mountain country, when I spotted a smoky-grey coloured animal, which I observed possessed a row of black stripes that extended from the neck vertically along the body to the tail rump, its tail projecting straight out.

During 1981 in two separate incidents, people attempting to climb one of the mysterious “Black Mountains” outside Cooktown, disturbed a 5ft [1.58m] or so length, large striped-bodied cat-like animal that eluded them among the massive boulders.

In another incident reported by Mr Anderson, in 1982 a ‘tiger’ was claimed to have been seen by people on a number of occasions in the dense bush-covered Mt Fox-Wallaman Falls areas, leaping upon calves and ripping open their bodies to feed upon them.

Modern-Day Sightings Queensland

1990 -2010

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

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.

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.

During 1991 campers at Twin Humps, west of Coen, claimed they saw two of these creatures together near their camp. One was a female carrying a cub in its rear-facing pouch.

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.


Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

We are often asked: “What drives you both on, searching year after year, for evidence of animals not officially recognised by scientists?” For us, the answer must always be a love of the rugged Australian bush; and, as field naturalists apart from the known species of our unique native animal life, nothing fascinates us as much as the unknown in nature.

Prior to the flooding of the Bass Strait land-bridge toward the close of the last great ice-age about 12,000 years ago, no natural barrier existed to prevent these animals from entering Tasmania, and it is evident that today, isolated from their mainland counterparts, a good many of these marsupial carnivores continue to survive there.

One farmer from the Mt Arthur district east of Launceston relating how, one day in 1960, he had watched powerlessly as a “black cat-like monster”, a good seven feet [2.3m] from head to tail, bounded out of scrub onto his property to attack and carry off a large calf.

Craig Black, a young fossicker, was digging in a creek in Ben Lomond National Park one day in 1961, when he realised he was being watched by a large black ‘panther’ from among bushes, further up the creek on the opposite bank. The animal emerged, then dashed across the shallow creek. It was apparently a female.
“I am positive I saw that it was carrying a pouched cub,” he said later to a ranger.

Tom Forester, a camper, was with two mates exploring the Snowy Range west of Hobart one weekend in January 1972. On this particular Sunday morning they all spotted a large, black-furred cat-like animal observing them from the edge of dense scrub nearby their camp. Later that afternoon Tom went to get water from a creek. As he crouched on the creeks’ edge beneath a tall boulder, he saw a dark shadow reflected in the water. Before he could turn to look up, he was thrown aside as the dark shape leapt upon him with a screech, and then bounded across the creek into bushland.

In April 1989 a group of a dozen people saw a black-furred panther-like animal, about two metres in length from head to tail, and standing up to 0.6 of a metre on all fours, as it moved along the shore of Lake Gordon in the Mt Wright area, north of the Snowy Range.

An animal of this size and description was claimed seen bounding across the Marlborough Highway one afternoon in February 1990. Ten years earlier, one eyewitness claimed to have seen no less than three of these large ‘panthers’ roaming together near Split Rock, west of Great Lake.


Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

The Grampians mountain range in western Victoria has been the scene of ‘panther’ sightings since the pioneer days of the 1800’s. My research into the elusive ‘Australian Panther’ often digs up old but interesting stories, such as a case from 1940 outside Melbourne in the Whittlesea district.

Earlier, in 1934, a number of cat-like beasts of this description had been terrorising settlers across a wide area extending from Moe in the south to Big River Camp, Enoch Point and Jamieson to the north.

Several of these carnivores were claimed seen again in this vast region for some months during 1936 and again in 1937.

In 1947 a woman at Yallourn found a 1.83m length ‘panther’ in her backyard early one morning, calmly eating one of her ducks.

In 1976, several panther-like creatures were sighted over a wide area from Halls Gap to the southern end of the range near Dwyer Creek.

In one instance, one night in January 1977, a group of campers, high up in the range, were terrorised from around midnight to 3am by loud, piercing screams and growls coming from surrounding scrub.

One July day in 1981, two young women were driving through the Port Campbell National Park, when what they later described as a “large black panther-like animal”, appeared ahead of them.

European Settlers’ Tales of ‘Panther’ Encounters South Australia

Copyright © Rex Gilroy 2003

Short excerpts from this Era - The Full Accounts are included in the Book

Moving on to South Australia we come to a state where, like Victoria, European settlers’ tales of ‘panther’ encounters date back to the 19th century and are still commonplace today. Ancient Aboriginal traditions from over a wide area of the state tell of the giant black furry monster that terrorised the tribespeople in the long-ago ‘Dreamtime’.

They say these shiny, black-furred carnivores roam the Flinders Ranges, where they have dwelt since the Dreamtime, living upon the marsupial population, attacking and eating anyone who happens to come upon their lairs.

Back in 1987 the author was informed by Mr Quentin Higgs, of an experience he had with one of these creatures back in 1975. “I was near Mt Gambier [in the state’s south-east] fishing with a mate. While we were sitting on an embankment overlooking a creek, I noticed a large black-furred animal walking along the opposite bank.

A much larger, more terrifying sight was reported to me by a Mr and Mrs Fred Waites in August 1978. “We were driving across the Nullarbor Plain on the Eyre Highway towards Ooldea around 8pm one night in mid-August. There were no other cars on the road. Suddenly we were surprised by a massive black monster, caught in the glare of the headlights, walking across the highway some distance ahead of us.

In 1979 a cattleman claimed to have seen a “six foot length, black cat-like beast” killing stock on his property in the Oodnadatta district, north-west of Lake Eyre.

At Maree, south of Lake Eyre, a “huge black puma” was blamed for a number of cattle mutilations over some months in 1982.

Mr Lance Burrows, who was on a property between Bridgetown and Donnybrook, south of Fremantle, in 1979. “I was staying with a friend at the time. The date was 21st August. I was walking across a paddock towards a stand of tall gums when, to my horror, a monstrous black ‘thing’ emerged from the tree-cover not 50ft [15.24m] ahead of me, and bounded in big long strides across the property.

• Reports - Sightings From the 1995 Book Mysterious Australia * Click Here *
• Original Newspaper Accounts * Click Here *
• The Best Sightings * Click Here *
• Theories - The Case For a Marsupial Cat * Click Here *
• Timeline of Sightings * Click Here *
• Expeditions Australia Wide * Click Here *
• Drawings * Click Here *
• Plaster Casts * Click Here *
• Compilation of Descriptions of Eyewitnesses * Click Here *
• Radio Interviews * Click Here *
• Television Interviews * Click Here *
• Newspaper Interviews * Click Here *
• Reports - Sightings From Out Of The Dreamtime - The Search For Australasia's Unknown Animals * Click Here *
• Message Board - Report a Sighting Australia Wide * Click Here *
State By State Sighting Reports
• Panther Research New South Wales * Click Here *
• Panther Research Victoria * Click Here *
• Panther Research Queensland * Click Here *
• Panther Research Northern Territory * Click Here *
• Panther Research Western Australia * Click Here *
• Panther Research South Australia * Click Here *
• Panther Research A.C.T (Canberra) * Click Here *
• Panther Research Tasmania * Click Here *
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 * Click Here *

• Legislative Assembly - Thursday 22 May 2003 * Click Here *
• Australian Zoos * Click Here *
Internet Reports
• Message Boards * Click Here *
• Newspaper Reports * Click Here *
• Blog Reports * Click Here *
Photographs/Video/Video Stills/Drawings
• Large Cats * Click Here *
• Feral Cats * Click Here *
• Private Zoos * Click Here *
• You-Tube * Click Here *
When Animals Attack
• Attacks involving lions or tigers in Australia since 1980 * Click Here *
Contact Rex & Heather Gilroy
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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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