Briagolong Tiger
A Strange Beast

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.)
Date: October 24, 1933
Page Number: 8
It is some years since the famous Tantanoola tiger caused a considerable amount ot excitement in our neighbour State of South Australia, and in the intervening space of time reports of tracks, and even the sight of strange and fierce wild animals; have been received from the wilder portions of our country, particularly the Northern and Western Mallee. The latest scare comes from Trafalgar, in Southern Gippsland, where a presumably, reputable and abstemious farmer and his two sons say that they have seen "a big fawn-coloured, catlike beast" in the outback country. These witnesses describe the call of the beast as "snarling something like a cat, but deeper." The beast is alleged to have a "big calf-like head." Somewhat redundantly, the farmer adds that "this chap is new and strange." Perhaps the best evidence of the actual existence of the fearsome creature, is that a cattle dog who may be acquitted of hyper-imagination, induced by artificial stimulus, hit out for home at first sight of it. Local opinion inclines to an escaped lioness.
Strange Animals
briagolong_tiger001029.jpg briagolong_tiger001028.jpg
Scene at Gunyah

Gippsland Times (Vic.)
Date: October 30, 1933
Page Number: 4
The mystery of an unknown animal, said to have been seen in different parts of the Gippsland ranges during the past 12 months, has been deepened by a report made on Monday by a Trafalgar farmer. He says he has has seen a big fawn-colored, cat-like beast roaming in the rugged outback country of Gunyah. The farmer, Mr. George Siggins, and his two sons, all experienced bushmen, believe the animal is a lioness, or something like it. They will not now go unarmed into the virgin scrub near their farm, and Mr. Siggins is having a special steel trap built by a blacksmith.
     Telling his story, Mr. Siggins said: "I was walking in a paddock some distance from the homestead with my son. It was nearly 'knock-off' time, when we were startled by a strange snarling call something like a cat--but deeper. About 400 or 500 yards away we saw a huge beast moving slowly in the bracken. It had a big cat-like head, and its body appeared to be about six feet long. We had a good view of it as it crossed a clear space.
     "It repeated its cry and disappeared in the scrub. Three nights later, we heard the call several times. It was too dark to investigate, but our dog was terribly excited and nervous, and wouldn't venture more than a yard or two away. Normally, he will tackle anything in the bush, including dingoes and wombats.
     "The following day, a horse grazing near where we first saw the beast, galloped home terrified and snorting loudly. The horse has not done any thing like that before. Later we discovered huge cat-like tracks over about a quarter of a mile of roadway.
     "They had a spread equal to a horse's hoof, with the middle toe leaving a distinct claw impression. The distance between each impression was about six feet. The tracks disappeared up an embankment into scrub land. Apparently the animal took the bank in one leap--about 10 feet.
     "We think it is too great a risk to venture into the animal's haunts without the protection of a rifle. The trap I have designed will hold an elephant--the jaws are made from motor springs.
     "I know every animal that haunts the bush," said Mr. Siggins, "but this chap is new and strange, and too big for my liking. We are not going to rest until we clear up the mystery."
     All the reports received in the last year seemed to describe the same sort of animal. In Mr. Siggins' area, the Rev. Mr. Crocker saw an unusually large animal. At Tanjil, nearly a year ago, the Rev. W. G. Fitzgerald was among a group of miners who saw and heard a strange animal. Later he received a letter from a South Gippsland farmer whose experience tallied closely with that of the miners.
"About 400 or 500 yards away we saw a huge beast moving slowly in the bracken. It had a big cat-like head, and its body appeared to be about six feet long."
Seen by Tanjil Residents.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.)
Date: June 14, 1932
Page Number: 7
YALLOURN, Monday.—The old mining town of Tanjil about 10 miles from Yallourn, has been stirred by the appearance of a large animal, stated to closely resemble a lion. Mr. Spencer Stratton was startled to see the animal when out hunting rabbits, and later an old and experienced miner, Mr. E. Townsend, saw the animal outside his tent, about 10 yards away. The Rev. W. G. Fitzgerald, who has mining interests at Tanjil, was walking
through the bush, when he heard the swish of undergrowth and the pad of an animal's feet, followed by a roar which he was unable to identify.
     A search party is to be organised with guns and dogs to endeavour to run the animal to earth.
Rev. William George Fitzgerald
briagolong_tiger001022.jpg briagolong_tiger001021.jpg
A Gippsland Visitor.

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld.)
Date: June 16, 1932
Page Number: 5
     A mysterious animal which has been seen recently at Tanjil (Gippsland) by two residents seems to have disappeared.
     The Rev. W. Fitzgerald one of the men who heard the animal, has no doubt about it's reality. Yesterday he repeated that the cry of the creature that passed him in the bush was like no sound he had ever heard from an Australian animal. "About mid-day" he said, "I was walking on the side of a hill. I heard a queer noise just below me, as though an animal was padding through the scrub. The undergrowth hid the creature, but I listened and heard it scamble into a gully; then came its cry. It was something between the howl of a dingo and the yelp of a fox, guttural and powerful. It certainly was not the cry of a lion or tiger nor any native animal. I have spent most of my life in the country district of Victoria and Tasmania, so I am not likely to be easily alarmed. Moreover, this happened on the day following the night two other men, Stratoon and Townsend, had seen the creature. They are both level headed men. Startoon saw the animal in the evening, and Townsend came out of his hut about midnight and saw it standing about 10 yards from his door. Their descriptions of the creature suggest it resembled a cat. It was about five feet long, stood higher than a big dog. Fitzgerald said the little community was badly scared for a day or two. When the mystery animal disappeared, the alarm died down."
Yowieocalypse is yet to find the article on Rev. Mr. Crocker's sighting...
Seen in Gippsland.

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld.)
Date: November 15, 1933
Page Number: 8
MELBOURNE, November 14.
     From Toora, in south Gippsland, is reported the appearance of a strange animal at Mount Best, similar to the beast seen in a Gunyah forest a month ago.
     On Saturday, two men clearing bracken, noticed a huge strange animal cross a track into the forest area. The animal was about 300 yards away, and appeared to be three feet high with a head like a cat. It had a distinct wobble. Yesterday afternoon, ten townsmen, armed with rifles, spent about four hours beating through the forest looking for the mystery beast, without finding any sign.
     Early yesterday morning, a resident heard the roar of a strange animal coming from the forest area and spent the day searching for the animal with-out success. A distinct impression of the animal's paws, about five inches by three inches, was visible in the dust where it had crossed the track.
Settlers Alarmed.

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld.)
Date: November 15, 1933
Page Number: 13
MELBOURNE, November 14.
     Considerable alarm has been caused among settlers and forest workers in the Mount Best district, near Toora, South Gippsland, at the report of a strange animal, resembling a lioness, having been seen in the locality.
     Everyone working in the forest region has armed himself. Farmers fear that the strange animal may kill their cows. The alarm was increased to-day, when a report reached the police thal the bones and skin of a wallaby had been found near Mount Fatigue, a mile from where the animal was seen on Saturday. Eight distinct footprints have been found in the dust of the bush track. These were about 20 miles from the point on Trafalgar Road, where the animal was seen a fortnight ago.
     The Rev. Mr. Crocker (mission minister) has also reported that he saw a strange animal in the Mount Best region a few days ago. To-day forest workers in the Mount Best forest carried rifles to their work in case a glimpse of the animal was caught.
The Strange Beast

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.)
Date: November 15, 1933
Page Number: 8
We had forgotten about the strange leonine beast seen in Southern Gippsland some weeks ago, or, if it happened to recur to our minds, we dismissed it as a figment of the bucolic imagination. But it has turned up again at Toora, some distance from where it was first observed. The description of the large cat-like head tallies exactly with previous stories. The animal was seen in the heavily-limbered country surrounding Mt. Best yesterday, and whether city folk believe, in the existence of the strange animal or not the forest workers of the district took no chances, and went to their work in the forest this morning armed with every type of firearm they could beg or borrow. The local police trooper, with a platoon of inhabitants armed with service rifles, is searching the locality from dawn to dark. The carcase of a wallaby has been found gnawed by some animal with obviously, powerful jaws, and, to settle all jokes founded on home-made whisky, a local clergyman who, if his reputation does not belie him, has never seen things that were not there, has actually had a clear view of the beast.
Strange Animal In Bush

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW)
Date: November 16, 1933
Page Number: 5
MELBOURNE, Thursday.
     Lurking in dense scrub and bracken undergrowth in a deep gorge seven miles from Toora, in Gippsland, is a mystery animal like a lion, and whose, presence has the whole district on tenterhooks.
     Nobody will venture near the fringe of the forest without a gun or a dog to give warning of the presence of the animal. Parents fear for the safety of their children; and dairy farmers are afraid the animal will raid their herds.
     To-day William Sandles, whose farm is near the scrub-covered gorge, missed two cows. A close search was made, but no trace of them has been found.
     Yesterday the skin and a few bones of a wallaby which had been gnawed and eaten by an animal, were found. Two farm hands have reported seeing on Saturday, a fawn-colored animal with a huge head which resembled a giant cat. It was 3ft. high, and easily 6ft. long. They were certain that it was not a fox or a dingo. lt had a long, bushy tail, and seemed quite unafraid when they whistled. When they returned with guns, the animal had gone.
     Several other residents have seen the strange animal recently, and marks of great claws and pads have been found. Farmers believe that in recent months a lioness must have escaped from a travelling circus and that its disappearance was not reported.
Seen at Farm

The Mail (Adelaide, SA)
Date: November 18, 1933
Page Number: 3
MELBOURNE, Saturday.
     The mystery beast that lurks in the dense undergrowth seven miles from Toora, in Gippsland, has been seen again. By slinking into the open near a farm house and escaping, it has intensified the uneasiness of the townspeople.
     Farmers believe that it is an escaped lioness. A party of armed farmers will probably hunt for it tomorrow.
     It was seen yesterday by Eric Fink, a farmer in the Mount Best district, but after he ran into the house to get a rifle it disappeared.
     Fink has reported in Toora that he was working near his house with two other men, when, on looking up, he saw a strange animal much larger than any dog moving in the dense bracken near a gully.
     Others saw it, and agreed that it must be the "lioness," for it was much too big to be a dog and was a light fawn color.
     Fink ran to the house to get his rifle and bullets, but when he returned the animal could not be seen. He tried to follow its tracks without success.


     Yesterday six men went out with rifles to track down the strange animal, but they could not pick up its trail.
     At least nine parents in the area will not allow their children to go to the State school. They fear that the animal will attack them.
     They believe that the mystery beast escaped from a travelling circus within the past few months, but little was seen of it until recently.
     A week ago two farm hands said it. It was 3 ft. high and 6 ft. long, they said. Three days later the skin and bones of a wallaby which had been gnawed by an animal were found. The following day two cows were snatched from their paddock.
     Now nobody will venture near the fringe of the scrub in which the "lioness" lurks, without a gun or a dog to give warning.
"Farmers believe that in recent months a lioness must have escaped from a travelling circus and that its disappearance was not reported."

Whenever and wherever mysterious animals are reported speculation follows as to what is may be and where it may have come from. Large exotic predators (lions and tigers and bears - oh my!) tend to spark people's imaginations and it is often speculated that if they are indeed on the loose then they must have escaped from traveling circuses or menageries. After all, where else could they have come from?

Fortunately, circus staff and townsfolk tend to notice when such large exotic predators go missing and the rare occasions that they do go missing are always big news. It is highly unlikely that a lioness (or something similar) could escape without it being noticed and reported.

Yet, the escaped-circus-animal mythos continues to remain a popular theme in the folklore...
Gippsland Residents Mystified.

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld.)
Date: November 22, 1933
Page Number: 13
MELBOURNE, November 21.
     The strange animal, which has been seen during the last week or so near Mount Best, in the Toora district, South Gippsland, is no figment of imagination. This is amply proved by the numerous occasions on which it has been seen.
     Yesterday William Easton, a resident of the Mount Best district, saw an animal between 5ft. and 6ft. long walking through the bush, within 150 yards of where he was clearing bracken from a ridge. The animal is believed by some to be a lioness. "It was yellowish fawn in colour," Easton said to-day. "I was near enough to see its face clearly. It has whiskers like a cat, and it walked with wobbly galt right across the clearing and down into the gorge. I had a shot gun with me, but it would have been useless at such a range. I have never seen anything like it in the bush before."
     From Maffra, also in the Gippsland, came the report to-day of another strange animal, which had not been seen, but whose footprints measured 6in. long and 3½in. wide. Several people have heard the animal, and state that it emits a squeal. The residents are too alarmed to open their doors to investigate the cause.
William Easton ... saw an animal between 5ft. and 6ft. long walking through the bush, within 150 yards of where he was clearing bracken from a ridge... "I was near enough to see its face clearly. It has whiskers like a cat, and it walked with wobbly galt right across the clearing and down into the gorge. I had a shot gun with me, but it would have been useless at such a range."
150 yards = 137 metres. That is quite a long way away to see the face clearly let alone that it had "whiskers like a cat"...
Gippsland Times (Vic.)
Date: November 23, 1933
Page Number: 8
A resident of George's Creek where the weird noises are heard and the wild animal roams, received a great fright while out in the scrub country working. The resident heard the animal call and he made for home which he reached in record time. It is rumored he beat his dogs to the house. "So we have a champion in our midst." The local "Sherlock" is on the track so it should not be long before the animal is captured.