Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 20th, 2011
September 19, 1947
IT SWIMS, WHISTLES AND
SPOUTS. WHAT IS IT?
A mysterious black creature that spouts, swims against a strong current, and
whistles loudly, shrilly and nocturnally, is the foremost subject of
discussion all through the Swan Hill district.
Apparently the animal – if animal it be – has been in the neighbourhood for
many weeks, but the only men who claim to have seen it – Messrs C. L. and J.
S. Moser, of Swan Hill, and A. Rice, of Bendigo – have been reluctant to
tell their story without further verification.
Mr. C. L. Moser said yesterday that he and his brother and Mr Rice had twice
seen the creature in the Little Murray River, almost four miles upstream
from Swan Hill.
The first time was on the night of August 1, when they saw it lying on the
edge of the river. It seemed to be about 3ft to 3ft 6in in length, and
black, but they paid little attention to it, thinking it might be a pig.
Just a month later, on September 1, said Mr Moser, he and his companions
heard heavy splashing at the same spot, and became curious. They saw the
“object” swimming upstream against a powerful current at walking pace.
Mr Moser said the creature’s head and neck were about 9in thick. About 1ft
of it was out of the water, and it was spouting about 5ft into the air from
what appeared to be its neck.
The party turned a powerful light on the strange animal, and followed it for
about two chains [more than 120 feet]. Then it swam to the opposite bank,
where it “lay in shelter and emitted a loud shrill whistle that could be
heard half a mile away.”
The party had a rifle, and could have shot the creature, but “disliked the
idea of destroying something they knew nothing about.”
Once, when the creature turned, they saw that it “had two very bright eyes,
but no visible ears, though its ears might have been lying close to its
They were disinclined to investigate further, but when they left the
creature’s whistle had “reached staggering proportions.”
Mr Moser said that Mr W. J. Maher, who owns the adjoining property, had told
them that he had heard whistling in the vicinity for many weeks, and that
children in the neighbourhood feared to venture out at night.
Mr Moser is prepared to swear he has described correctly what he and his
companions saw. He recalls that some years ago the late Mr W. Berry
reported having seen what is thought to be a seal in the Murray. In 1933 a
sea lion escaped from a sideshow at Wangaratta, and was heard in the
Boorhaman swampfor weeks.
Could this be the same animal?
Thanks to Jerome Clark for sharing this historical news item.