The Black Panther of Coolatai

G’Day Mob,

I have made a terrible oversight. An omission of the highest order. I have been chattering away on this blog for nearly three years and I have not once introduced you to Coolatai’s claim to fame. Our legend. The story that put us on the map.

Coolatai has a black panther.

Here in Australia there have always been whispers of a mysterious black panther slipping quietly through the bush. This may seem unremarkable to the rest of the world but Australia is an island continent and the closest we have to a large feline is a house-cat or the Tasmanian Tiger, which we shot out of existence back in the 1930s. So a panther is quite exciting.

Many innuendos surround our panther (almost always referred to in the singular). It escaped from a zoo or a circus some reports claim. The Americans brought it over as a mascot in WW2 another authority states. But it was here in Coolatai in 1958 that the biggest “panther outbreak” occurred when 13 year-old David Wheatley was thrown from his horse when it spooked at a “large, black-furred, panther-like beast.”

The story made headlines in the national press. Old Coolatai –ites came forward with sightings dating back a decade. Another young bloke was holed up in his caravan all night as the panther prowled around outside. Even a visiting Sydney pianist insisted he had seen the panther on the road. The Wallaroo Hotel fattened on the rumours.

The legend grew. In 1995 a book titled “Mysterious Australia” was published and an expert stated the panthers (note the use of the plural – obviously there had been a breeding program) lived in Coolatai and made an annual migratory pattern through-out the north-west.

Today there is a painting in the Wallaroo Hotel showing the black panther attacking a huge black feral pig; and though no tracks, nor skins, nor bodies have ever been found, the stories persist. A report in the esteemed Coolatai Bush Telegraph only a few years ago suggested there were panther kittens living under a local house and fleeting black shapes are common on the road home from the pub.

But what of photos I hear you ask? Well these are what I have obtained from dogged research. Behold and be amazed.

142 Black Panther Kitten

142 Tip Panthers


20 responses to “The Black Panther of Coolatai

  1. And yet I detect some cynicism between the lines. You must believe!

  2. panther kittens are so cute! hahaha

  3. Robyn Campbell

    Yes my late Father and one of my sisters claim to have seen it.I think it may have been after a visit to the “Roo”

  4. My partner and I saw the black panther at Coolatai on Sunday 2/7/2017, coming home from a dirt bike event. We saw the rare end of it, from behind the last ribs, it’s haunches and tail. It was stalking a roo and it’s joey which were on the road. We tooted the car horn to clear the Roos from the road and we startled it so it turned and ran into the roadside grass. We didn’t see the front end, just the back half. It was definitely a panther back end and about mid thigh height on an average male adult in size.

    • Wish you had had a camera Sonia (I bet you do too). I’m a little envious – I have not seen the panther yet but it is good to hear he is still around.

  5. Keith Clark

    On 10/9/2017 Approx 10ks north of Coolatai my wife and I saw a large black cat cross the road in front of us it took 3 or 4 bounds to go from one side to the other.If I had have thought about it I could have removed the chip from the dash-cam,hindsight is a wonderful thing KEITH &SUE

    • Do you have dash cam footage or were the chips blocking the view?

      • Keith Clark

        Sorry Sonia did you see in or near where we saw it(10 to 20 Ks north of Coolatai)

      • We saw it on the Coolatai Road. We were heading towards Wallangra from Coolatai and we were about 5kms out of Coolatai.

      • Keith Clark

        We left Coolatai heading toward Yetman (10 to 20 Ks) are we talking the same area.

      • Very similar area. Where you were heading north, we were heading east from Coolatai. But if you drew a straight line between where you saw it and where I saw it, it would only be about a 15km difference.

      • Keith Clark

        It might help with other sightings

  6. Keith Clark

    SONIA,My wife and I saw what we saw and where I wrote “chip” it should have been “SD” card I think Most people would understand what I meant without being a smart a–e(ass) KEITH

    • Sorry if I offended you Keith, that certainly wasn’t my intention. I wasn’t being a smart arse, I genuinely thought you meant you had a bag of chips blocking the dash cam – I read your post wrong. Again, sorry for that, and I do believe you and what you saw – if you look at recent posts to this site, you will note that I, too, have seen the panther. No need to be rude and nasty!

  7. Young David Wheatley was my uncle , both my parents have seen it as well as grandparents

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