Mysterious creature spotted lurking beside beach and road
A NEW sighting of a huge, puma-like beast lurking by a Cairns roadside has been reported to authorities.
Tourist Rose Mogford spotted the giant cat, thought to be a dreamtime 'minjin', near Trinity Beach on Sunday.
According to Aboriginal legend, a sabre-toothed rainforest cat named the 'minjin', (mountain devil) inhabits forest west of the Captain Cook Highway.
Ms Mogford said the big, black cat was slinking through long grass on the side of the Captain Cook Highway.
"It was incredible and I got really excited," she said.
"I got a pretty good look at it. The first thing I saw was the shoulders that had come up really high and I thought it was a lion.
"It had a dark tail. As it walked up out of the grass, the tail was like a big long cat tail and it had big dark brown eyes and ears and then I though it looked like a puma more than a lion.
"But it was definitely a big cat walking down the road. It was not a feral cat.
"As soon as I saw the shoulders I had to stare at it to make sure it was what I thought it was."
The Canberra-based chef who is visiting relatives in Kewarra Beach is not the only person claiming to have seen the mythical creature.
A Tablelands resident who wished not to be named told the Cairns Post he saw what appeared to be an oversized "creepy" black creature on the outskirts of Mareeba more than 20-years ago.
He said in the time since the sighting he had only told six people the details of the strange encounter for fear of being labelled a "nutter".
"It wasn't rigid like a dog or pig, when it turned left into the bushes on the side of the road," he said.
"It slinked down and it's body moved like a cat would, very sleek like.
"I would describe the experience as creepy, because of how clear we saw it and knew that sort of animal shouldn't be running around out there," he said.
Ms Mogford said she was concerned that a large cat like the 'minjin' she has seen on the highway could posed a danger to residents and their pets.
"I don't want someone's dog to go or someone lying down drunk one night to get attacked," she said.
She said she had reported the sighting to Cairns Regional Council, which has been contacted for comment.
There have been numerous reports of a panther-like creature stalking visitors to the rainforest trails in the hills behind Smithfield over the years, according to the Cairns Mountain Bike Club, which tracks the sightings.
MINJIN SIGHTINGS 1892-2020
1892: Bullock driver Stan McGregor was cutting a trail from Smithfield to Kuranda during the wet season. Despite warnings from local Indigenous people about the dangers on the hillside, including the mythical 'minjin', he disappeared on the mountain. Legend has it, he was attacked and killed by the creature.
1927: A timber cutter felling trees behind Smithfield got a fright when he stumbled across an old saddle with a scary message etched into it. There was also a paw-like symbol next to the words.
1962: A surveyor working in the rainforest happened across some animal remains, before noticing a panther like creature stalking him - luckily, he escaped and lived to tell the tale.
1992: Glen Jacobs, the president of the local mountain bike club, discovered a large sabre toothed skull, which he believed belonged to a 'minjin'.
2020: Canberra resident Rose Mogford spots a giant black cat slinking near the highway at Trinity Beach. Concerned about the safety of local residents and pets, she reports the sighting to council.