Alien Big Cat public research at National Archives of Australia


Dear Rebecca and Mike

Alien Big Cat public research at National Archives of Australia – potential traces of WWII USA military ‘mascot releases’

Your book, ‘Australian big cats’, inspired me to dig deeper into this story of escaped US military mascots while stationed in Australia during World War II.  I thought there would be some trace of something within the Archives, but had little idea how unknown and tricky it was to find.  Simply put, most of the files I found had never been seen by any member of the public until I cracked them open as a public researcher.  These took time to find, and get opened, and then sift through the files.  What a blast that was!  Needless to say, I have little doubt there is more to be found! Alas I ran out of steam and time to go through the lot or indeed analyse it in any meaningful way.
I hope you find this raw documentary material useful.  I know I don’t have time to do more with this, at least for the next few years anyhow!

Here are the ‘fruits’ of my research since October 2010 (to February 2014) on this subject within Commonwealth Government records held at the National Archives of Australia.  After a flurry of activity in 2011, I’ve recently copied (digital camera photos – zero cost to me, except for time) the two main files that I found. These cover correspondence between the Australian Health and Quarantine authorities and the military forces, including US forces in Australia during World War II about their mascots brought onto Australian soil via unregulated, and unstoppable, troopships carrying US military personnel.  Strangely enough the files seem to indicate the Australian authorities had has much if not more difficulty with Australian personnel bringing exotic animals into Australia by air transport via New Guinea at the time.

Exciting stuff for historical ABC research!  Does it contain any ‘smoking guns’?  I can’t see one, but I think the records would need a very careful read – with corroboration ‘outside the records’ via other sources to fill in the inevitable gaps - to be certain about that.

So, what’s here?
    •    Complete copies of two files (V3/5/6 parts 1 & 2) that cover ‘the main deliberations’
    •    Extract copies from three more files
    •    Patchy handwritten notes from 17 files
    •    A list of 57 files which I compiled while doing this research
    •    Supporting descriptions from Archives’ RecordSearch database
    •    Useful background information about using records held at National Archives

Explanation

Start with the file list
    •    Lists 57 files that I have seen (or attempted to see at the time), seemingly most relevant to this subject.  Practically, this shows the level of detail that is searchable to find things held by the National Archives.  Much of this wasn’t on the RecordSearch database when I started this research, and was instead found by me on paper based item inventories.
    •    Listed by series number.  What’s a series?  See Fact sheets 5 & 6 (Useful information folder).  In the Series description folder, you’ll find descriptions of the series themselves to which the files listed belong.  The series tells you the context of creation of the records – who and what created the records you’re looking at.
    •    The Item control symbol is usually the file number that the creating government agency used at the time to control (create, maintain and access) the records.
    •    The Item title is the brief, and often cryptic words or phrases used to describe the file content by the creating government agency at the time.  Sometimes these follow arcane name rules, sometimes not.  Often, National Archives has augmented the title to make the content a bit more accessible.
    •    The item barcode number is the unique identifier of each file listed in the RecordSearch database – available to the public on the naa.gov.au website.  You can use this number to easily find the file again!  See Fact sheet 13 & 14 (Useful information folder).
    •    The first opened date is the date the file was first made available to the public.  Any date from Oct 2010 onwards in this list means I got those files opened first – no one else in the public domain had ever seen them up to that point.  That’s probably still true for many of the files on this list.
    •    Comments in the same column are hopefully self explanatory:
    •    [no comment] – I failed to take any notes, or didn’t have time to look through the file content
    •    Digitised – the contents of this file have now been digitised (at February 2014) and is available for viewing online within RecordSearch on the naa.gov.au website.  Perhaps you’ve seen them already!  Use the item barcode number to retrieve the file in RecordSearch.  Go to www.naa.gov.au, select links for ‘search the collection’, then ‘RecordSearch’, then ‘Advanced Search tab’, then ‘Items’ and plug in the item barcode number.  To see the digitised content, click on the document icon.  These digitised files – circus quarantine files – have stories to tell in and of themselves about how the quarantine system worked (or didn’t!) and changed over time.
    •    File partially copied – I’ve gone through the file and copied what I thought to be the most relevant pages
    •    see notes – see handwritten notes (hard to read) for this file in the File content notes folder
    •    Seen – I skimmed through the file content and found nothing relevant for WWII
    •    Whole file copied – I’ve copied the whole file, everything on it.  See file content copies folder.

File content copies folder
    •    This folder contains colour copies (digital photos) of documents either partially copied – a selection of documents from a file; or the whole file – all of the documents on the file.
    •    There are two subfolders – one for a single file in series A1658 and one for 4 files in series A11984.  Each of these files are labelled with their item control symbol (see the file list described above).  Open a folder to see individual documents - each have their own number (an artefact created by my digital camera).  Those numbers put the documents in order as they occur on the file, and usually I’ve started with the file cover, front and back, then copied the documents from the back of the file (the earliest document) to the front of the file (the latest document).
    •    I have copied the entire file content of the two main files (as described earlier), V3/5/6 parts 1 & 2.

File content notes folder
    •    This folder contains my handwritten notes – if I made any - for files I didn’t copy.  Probably not that useful, as my handwriting has a definite readability half-life!

Series description folder
    •    Here are descriptions of the series themselves to which the files on the file list above belong.  The series tells you the context of creation of the records – who and what created the records you’re looking at.  See Fact sheets 5 & 6 (Useful information folder) for more information about that. To see the series descriptions, drill down and open the html files.  These are all available for viewing within RecordSearch on the naa.gov.au website.

Useful information folder - Archives
    •    This folder contains basic information about finding and using records held by the National Archives of Australia.  Open the html files to see page dumps, all available on the naa.gov.au website, under ‘the collection’ tab.


So, enjoy delving into this rich archival content.  And may those ABCs leap off the page for you!  If you wish to quiz me about any of this, please do.

All the best

David Hearder


Some of the files David Hearder  found are now here.
Allow for the files to drop on the page which might take a minute. 
Because of the large numbers of files, it took us several days and media fire had problems with the connection.
If anyone wants all of the files then they should just contact us and arrange a USB stick to be mailed to us.




Victorian Sambar Spotlighters keeps creating hoaxes

Not sure why they are doing it.
I am hoping they are just link baiting for "fun".
There Facebook page is here
But they keep promoting junk.
Even when they are told they are just hoaxes..they delete the comments and do not respond to private messages.
To see the calibre of the actual people who post on it..many have identified the obvious puma...as a possum.
The frame grab of the puma is from the video under the still.
They also have another hoax on their page further down..







Another Hoax big cat photo

Winter is here.
Time for digital fun it seems on facebook..

Blurry photo,cat waits for car to approach and doesnt move,light doesnt look right,no eye shine, no decent details and the poster claims "its a friends photo".
So..I think he is lying..
Its more than likely just a outdoor garden model..set up by morons..
Click images to enlarge..
 Saturday Update-The clown just pulled the photo down off his page.

source 








Sunday Update....Tanya Woodliffe appears to have solved the model question.source







Eukey Cats and dumb ideas

Stanthorpe taxidermist Mario Pennisi
Eukey Cat




Interesting story...shame they had the taxodermist move back for the deceptive photo to throw off our scale..on purpose.. :)
And this quote "They are just feral cats that have adapted to living in the bush and have grown bigger because they're hunters now and aren't being fed out of a bowl." 
Jesus..you would think a taxidermist would have a clue.
Think about it..there is zero advantage to being bigger for a cat..they now need more food.
And more food /less food..take your pick..and living in the wild..doesnt make cats somehow become bigger in the wild.
They are limited by genetics...




EVERY now and then a community encounters something that cannot be explained and the Granite Belt is no different.
For years farmers, passers-by and local residents have reported sightings of a large wild black cat or according to legend, the "Eukey Panther".
John and Judy McNiven live at Eukey and a few years ago they took photos of something they can't quite explain.
"It was probably around 11.30am and it was 10 years ago this month," John said.
"Judy spotted it first at the sink. There were a pair of them. Two identical black cats out near the vegie patch. They stopped at a distance of about 70 metres. They were playing with each other. We didn't know whether to grab the gun or the camera."
John and Judy describe the animals as having "cat like" movements but that they were much larger than any regular cat.
"I wouldn't have gone around and said they were panthers but I would certainly say they were very large cats," John said.
"I've trapped wild cats before and I've never had a cat approaching that size."
Reports of sightings such as the Eukey Panther are not rare, in fact the phenomenon of these large cat actually have a name "phantom cats" or "Alien Big Cats".
They are reportedly large felines similar to jaguars, cougars and leopards, which appear outside of their naturally known habitat.
Sightings have been made right across Australia, commonly along the Great Dividing Range and the south-west of Western Australia.
"We did a lot of research after we saw them. Apparently a lot of people have seen them," Judy said.
"There's lot history, people have been seeing them for a long time, they must be somewhere. There's a lot of food and a lot of territory for them to exist without them being seen.
"You do see feral cats out here, that wasn't what these were."
John was less sceptical.
"They're probably cats that have gone wild and over several generations just gotten bigger and bigger," he said.
 It was revealed in 2001, through a Freedom of Information request, that the New South Wales Government had been maintaining a file on big cat sightings. Further to this, in 2003 a NSW state inquiry concluded that "it is more likely than not" that "big cats" were roaming in the outskirts of the state.
Wildlife experts even commissioned an expert to examine the evidence.
Dr Johannes Bauer investigated and concluded: "Difficult as it seems to accept, the most likely explanation of the evidence... is the presence of a large feline predator."
There are a few theories on how the cats originated in Australia including that they are descendants of the puma, brought to Australia during the gold rush in the 19th century by American miners, that they were left by travelling circus acts, and that American soldiers smuggled them into the country during the Second World War.
Stanthorpe taxidermist Mario Pennisi has shot large feral cats and claims they are what people are seeing.
"The stories I used to hear years ago, when I was in my 20s, they used to call it the Sugarloaf Panther and residents in the Sugarloaf area often saw it," he said.
"They always used to talk about this black panther but when I used to go out shooting, all you used to see where these big black feral cats."
Mario has shot two giant cats in his life, including the one pictured and he doesn't buy into the Eukey Panther myth.
"It's been a few years since I've seen a feral cat now. Back in those days a lot of people used to dump cats.
"They are just feral cats that have adapted to living in the bush and have grown bigger because they're hunters now and aren't being fed out of a bowl."
Last week the Stanthorpe Border Post received a call of a sighting of "a large black cat" running across the road at Eukey. source

Sublime track, Austinmer Cat

Hello there,

I email you today in regards to a large animal sighting this morning at
Sublime track, Austinmer at 6.20am. It was just becoming light as I was
walking up the track and just as I approached a clearing halfway up a flight
of stairs I briefly stopped to catch my breath. I was by myself.

I heard what sounded like a log dropping into the scrub. It was quite a
break of silence in the tweeting of birds and the ocean behind.

I glanced over to see the outline of an object moving it's head. It was
black and it's head was moving side to side, as if it was looking for food
or in search of something. It was around 25 metres away.
I stood there for around 15 seconds on the stairs in awe and terror. I had
not passed anyone nor was anyone following behind me.
It finally started running like a panther / large wild cat down the
mountain. I proceeded to run up the stairs in the hope it hadn't heard me or
saw me. It definitely wasn't a log as it stayed in the same position for
around 15 seconds moving it's head from side to side.

Have you had anyone else contact you recently in regards to any sightings
around that area?
I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael

Sceptic believes..now

Spotted a big black cat at cockatoo in victoria on sat jan 16th 2016
crossed the dirt road as it entered the bush track near houses,i saw this 3
foot long tail exactly like a big cat, it jumped into the bush moving
exactly like a cat as they move their front legs under neath them as th
apparently same sightings in same area have been reported over last few days
as i've just found out, spotted near an old log are other reports but i was
a sceptic but not now..

Dave

South Australia Cats

Hi, my name is ###### I have sent you a sighing report of a big cat that I
had encountered in Aldinga, South Australia. I thought I would tell you
about an encounter my friend ### and I had one night when we were camping
in Halls Gap in the Grampian's at the beginning of the year. We decided to
go out for a walk to try and spot light some animals at night at around
9:30pm, we had been spot lighting for a good half an hour before it started
to rain a bit and we had decided to head back in the direction of camp and
just up the main street in Halls gap I had spotted a very large animal very
low to the ground and it was grey in colour, I pointed it out to my mate he
did not see it but we decided to follow it in the direction it had gone,
### pointed the torch in the direction that it went and he pointed out some
very large yellow/blueish eyes just watching us from just inside the tree
line. My mate was the one who said that looks a lot like cats eyes peering
at us, we started to walk towards the eyes, maybe not the smartest of ideas
but we didn't feel threatened, and the animal disappeared very quickly and
quietly, very stealthy. I am not saying it was a big cat, but it was a very
large low slump animal, very stealthy and which had a blue/yellow eye shine.
It looked about the size of a large dog from what I had seen and the eye
shine was about 2 and a half feet of the ground. I have been in two minds
for a long time in whether to report it or not. My mate and I also encounter
some very large cat like prints at a lake between Stawell and the
Grampian's.


South Coast NSW Big cats

Hi my name is ####, and back in 2002/3 I saw a large tan coloured cat run  across the road in front of my car driving between Gerroa and Gerringong, NSW
The best way I can describe it is as a cougar.
I now live in Kangaroo Valley and black panther sightings are common but this was definitely tan
coloured, but very very large with a very long slinky tail.
I hope this helps.
It was approx 2am and it is a farming area and it had come from large cow pastureland.

NSW Country cats

Hi,

Not sure if this is the information you're after but on a recent bike ride through the bush I saw a very large black cat.
I had been sitting very still for a long time soaking up the ambience. When I returned to my bike I looked up and about 100 meters away I saw a large animal passing by. At first I thought it was a feral pig but noticed the shape of the body. It was definitely a cat.
When I measured it's height against the bushes it walked behind I estimate it was around one meter high. Perhaps it was common feral cat but if it was it was a very large animal.
The area was around 50kms north of ###  NSW.
No photos I'm afraid, too quick. But there was evidence of large cat like foot prints and a very large scat which was full of feral goat and pig fur.
I hope this helps.
cheers

Yellow Cats

I doubt I'll be believed. We run country on the ###### of NSW and have been there for three generations. Today I saw what I initially thought was a dingo because it was yellow. It ran down across a track and into a gully. It stopped and I could still see it so went to reach for the rifle but noticed it had a snub nose and really long, straight tail. One of the dogs jumped out of the ute to go after it and it ran again but stopped amongst some fallen logs and bracken.
 I could still see the top of it's head, the line of it's back and it's tail over the top of the bracken.
I still think I must be hallucinating.