It was 1975-76 and we had heard that there was good money to be made up the north of Western Australia in Port Hedland, so we decided to drive up and see what work there was available. We were young and lured by the sense of an adventure.
We packed up the car and locked up our home and off we went. It was a long drive, taking 2 days to get up there……but my two young daughters loved the excitement and change of scenery along the way. We sang and joked all the way there and it was fun except for the parts where the road was unsealed.
We arrived there and found somewhere to live straight away in South Hedland; in no time found work and settled in and made friends.
The landscape of the north was arid and covered with Spinifex bushes and red dust as far as the eye could see. Not exactly what I expected to find, but still the sense of adventure kept us there. Adapting to the arid landscape, heat, red dust, and being awoken when the sun came up by the sound of thousands of parrots squawking; not to mention the huge Race Horse Goannas that would eye me off when I went outside. It wasn’t easy for a city girl, and one that grew up on a farm.
One day we heard about a river about 40-50klms out of town and a group of us decided to head out there for a barbecue as there wasn’t much to do up there at the time. We packed up the Eskies with food, put them in the cars, jumped in and off we all went to find this river.
We eventually found what we thought to be the river, but all there was were a few big puddles and a bed of the most unusual blue stones. I thought that these few puddles must be the only water around in this arid landscape, and wondered how the creatures that inhabit the area must be surviving.
The children discovered that the blue stones when banged together made a lovely sound, and it was determined that the stones were full of iron ore that made them clink in musical like tones.
The men decided to go off in search of wood to make a fire to cook the meat, and the ladies stayed behind, while my daughters played with the stones, and we collected some to take home.
The men had been gone about 15-30 minutes, and we were standing around chatting while the girls played on the dried up riverbed when all of a sudden there was an almighty growl/roar. It absolutely struck terror right to the core of me. I turned quickly to try and see where it was coming from, and saw my two young daughters running towards me with terror on their little faces. When they got to me they nearly tore the clothes off my back trying to scale up me to the highest point. I threw my arms around them while they were screaming/crying with fear and I ran very slowly and awkwardly towards the car while trying to hang onto them. I put them in the car and jumped in, winding the windows up, and still trembling from fear I scanned the landscape looking for what had made that growl. All I could see where Spinifex bushes and no life whatsoever.
A little later the men returned empty handed saying they could not find any wood to make a fire…..and asking why on earth we were all in the car with the windows wound up in such hot weather. We told them about the growl/roar we heard and they confidently proclaimed that there were no animals in Australia that could make that noise and to calm us down said they would go look around, of which they did, and found nothing. On their return we were still refusing to get out of the car, so we all drove back to Hedland hungry…
On arriving back in Hedland I rang my mother in Perth to tell her of our terrifying ordeal. She could not understand what could have made such a sound as there are no large lions/tigers etc in Australia. Needless to say I was so terrified out of my wits that we did not stay there much longer and moved back to Perth.
Whatever it was lurking around that waterhole in the middle of no mans land was very large by the sound of that growl. I may never know what made that sound…..whether it was a very large cat or some other animal that is not recorded as living in Australia. It was no dingo (wild dog), I know that for sure.
submitted by PL
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submitted by PL
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