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22 October, 2020

Have you seen the FNQ Marsupial Tiger?

Stories about a Marsupial Tiger have been circulating across the Tablelands and the Top End for hundreds of years.

By Phil Brandel

Stories about a Marsupial Tiger have been circulating across the Tablelands and the Top End for hundreds of years.

The earliest recorded sightings of The Queensland Tiger go back to 1871. Anecdotes began to accumulate in written letters sent to the Zoological Society of London

In 1925 The Townsville Bulletin published a report from a prospector who lived around the peninsula for 50 years, claiming that a cat type creature was captured at Scrubby creek near Herberton and another was spotted near Tully. The report also claimed that Indigenous Australians referred to a marsupial cat as “yarry”

In 1932 the Courier Mail reported a story about an exhibition to climb Mount Bellenden Ker.

According to the report a Mr Arnold Leamann a northern guide and bushman reported that he had seen one. It was about the size of a dingo but with a short flat head, rather like a tiger. The body was tall and striped like a tiger. It was perched on a branch of a tree and snarled and spat at him.

In 2017 the ABC reported that former tourism operator Brian Hobbshad had an unlikely encounter with a family of the animals in 1983.

Mr Hobbs said he was camping with a friend when, in the middle of the night, something startled his German shepherd.

"I hopped out of bed and put her [the dog] on a short leash, grabbed a spotlight and started to look around the camp towards the ravine area where I'd been walking the dog previously," he said.

"All of a sudden I had these sets of red eyes looking at me and there was a male, a female and two pups — I got within 20 metres of them."

He said the animals made next to no noise as he approached and seemed curious about him and his camp.

"These animals, I've never seen anything like them before in my life," he said.

"They were dog-shaped — I had a shepherd with me so I certainly know what dogs are about — and in the spotlight I could see they were tan in colour and they had stripes on their sides."

According to Mr Hobbs the family of animals paid his camp another visit before the night was out and again made no signs of aggression.

Jane Leadley has lived near Lake Barrine since the late 1960s and said that she had an encounter with a strange creature in the early 1970s.

“I was driving between the Mount Hypipamee Crater Road and Longlands Gap Road near Upper Barron heading south,” she said

“It was late afternoon, the light was good and I saw this creature just about to walk into the long grass, but it stopped and looked at my car driving past.

 “It had a long tail that was curved up at the end with stripes and it had a flat head.

Jane said it was about the size of a dog, but nothing like a dingo and too big for a cat

“At the time I remember saying what the ---- is that,” she said

“The reason I remember it so well is because it had a flat head and different shaped ears.”

“It sort of looked like a Tasmanian tiger, but only because it had stripes.”

Jane said at the time she stopped telling people because they didn’t believe her.

“I know it happened and seeling all the comments on-line recently and that we all describe a similar thing, it’s just too much of a coincidence.”


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