The Monaro Story

Forrest Animal (Footprints in the mud)

There is some talk of organising a hunting expedition to explore the wilds of Monaro in search of the unknown animal concerning which strange and wonderful stories have recently come from Bombala, near Nimitybelle, and other places in the Monar o District. We have had in the past stories of strange animals from other parts of the interior - if report is to be believed, there are a dozen or more places where Tigers have been seen from time to time - but we have had nothing quite so interesting as this story from Monaro.

Yesterday Professor David received plaster casts of the footprints and "hand" prints of the animal from Mr Sidney Jephcott, of Creewah, near Holt's Flat, Monaro. Mr Jephcott secured these prints on a branch creek running into Sheffield's Creek, at the eastern head of Bombala river.

"I may say," He writes to Professor David, "that I took especial care on my first visit to observe any indication of human agency, and could perceive nothing of a suscpicious nature. Indeed, the character of many of the persons who claim to have seen s uch an animal during a period of at least 30 years precludes any likelyhood of a hoax. Already I have over a dozen names of reputable witnesses who have had experiences. From my own standing I can refer you to `notable Australians' and `who's who in Austr alia.' I am not a man who would be likely to risk the infamy of an intentional, nor the ridicule of an intentional deceit. You'll hardly need to be asked to take good care of these castings till such time as I may ask for their return. They are, at any ra te, what few things are - a new thing under the sun, though hardly what would have appeal to the wise king of Jeruseulum. "I may explain that one cast is of a right foot in hard mud. Another of a right foot in very soft mud. This I took as evidence of fle xibility of toes. The third is of a left hand, placed on front of a left foot, and confirming Summerell's account of the animal being on all fours drinking when first seen." Professor David stated yesterday that only four toes were represented in the cast "in reference to what Mr Jephcott terms the hand-prints, all that I can say is that they certainly closely resemble the prints of a large human hand, as he suggests."

 Sydney Morning Herald - Thursday October 24th 1912, p4



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