Large kangaroos like this picture near the golf course at South Grafton, have been known to attack people in the yards of their homes.
Large kangaroos like this picture near the golf course at South Grafton, have been known to attack people in the yards of their homes. Tim Howard

Nine memorable kangaroo attacks in the Clarence Valley

HUNDREDS of kangaroos live in close proximity with humans in many Clarence Valley communities without a problem.

But the relationship breaks down from time to time, with occasionally disastrous results.

The attacks mostly take two forms. The most dangerous comes from the territorial behaviour of large males, whose power and determination has caused terrifying injuries to people who encounter them.

Female roos will also attack if they believe a person is threatening their joey or has surprised them and left them feeling trapped. Often the victims of these attacks are children and the injuries can still be severe.

Kangaroos also pose a threat to dogs and have been known to kill them. According to a website collating kangaroo attacks, the only known human fatality occurred when a man tried to save his two dogs from a kangaroo.

In the past 20 years the Clarence Valley has recorded a number of roo attacks on children and adults. We've looked through our files for a sample of them.

1996

KANGAROOS love the Grafton District Golf Club course at South Grafton and in 1996 Steven Shorten, then 13, was having a hit.

While looking for a wayward shot, he ran into a 1.5metre tall kangaroo that grabbed and repeatedly jumped on him, resulting in massive facial wounds and cuts to his abdomen, back and legs.

The attack also resulted in extended legal action when Steven's father Rodney Shorten sued the golf club.

2000

Mr Shorten's case was thrown out by the NSW District Court when he first sued the club, but the appeal court ruled that the club had failed to warn golfers about the "small risk of injury from an occasional aggressive kangaroo".

Mr Justice Gerald Fitzgerald said the club had known of four previous kangaroo attacks but had taken no steps to prevent further incidents.

The club has since added a warning on its scorecards that reads: "Wildlife can be hazardous - do not approach"

2002

A GRANDMOTHER saves a young girl in South Grafton by throwing herself on the kangaroo.

The victim required stitches and surgery but there was no report on the condition of either the grandmother, or the kangaroo.

2004

HEROIC mum Tracy Toyer fought off a one-and-a-half metre kangaroo that attacked her six-year-old son Peter in the backyard of their Gulmarrad home.

Peter and his sister, Jessica, aged 3, were playing on a trampoline when the attack occurred.

Mrs Toyer grabbed the kangaroo's paws as it ripped at her child and kicked the animal in the belly.

BATTLESCARS: Six-year-old Peter Toyer shows the scars left from his confrontation with a 1.5 metre kangaroo on Friday.
BATTLESCARS: Six-year-old Peter Toyer shows the scars left from his confrontation with a 1.5 metre kangaroo on Friday.

She grabbed her son and daughter, Jessica, 3, who had frozen with fear, and carried both children into the house.

She was unsure why the kangaroo attacked.

"The only thing we can put it down to, is it's being breeding season and they have just cleared a whole heap of land not far from our place, so the kangaroos have lost all their natural habitat," she said.

2005

A UNIVERSITY of New England student study finds cases of kangaroo aggression in developing coastal communities are becoming more prevalent.

University of New England PhD student Guy Ballard is part of a research project that is investigating the interaction between humans and kangaroos in rapidly developing areas on the Coffs-Clarence coast.

About 300 homes at South Grafton are issued with questionnaires about kangaroos and their behavioural patterns.

Mr Ballard says the survey has prompted researchers to look at cases of kangaroo aggression and community preferences for species management.

2006

AGAIN in Gulmarrad two years later, Marion White's neighbours hear terrified screams as a 1.7m kangaroo attacks her in the her Colonial Dr home as she put out the garbage.

"By the time I realised it was going to attack me it was too late," she told The Daily Examiner after the attack.

"It got me on the ground and I tried to fend it off the best I could, but it was hopeless; by that time it was really attacking me."

Mrs White said she started screaming, then her neighbour and his wife came out and grabbed the wheelie bin in an attempt to scare the kangaroo away.

The animal then turned its attention to the neighbours.

A traumatised Mrs White said she was scratched across the face and back, and was left with holes in her leg and arm.

2007

FOUR-year-old Tetley Bryant is playing in the backyard of his family's South Grafton home when a large female kangaroo launches itself at him, knocking him to the ground and delivering savage scratches to his torso.

His mother, Mandy Bryant, rescues the toddler, flailing her arms and yelling at the angry animal.

She said her son was playing about 30 metres from the kangaroo, not disturbing it.

"At that moment the kangaroo looked at him and went at him really quickly," she said.

"It was horrible, it was jumping on his back making this horrible grunting noise and you could hear the wind being knocked out of him every time it bounced.

"He has been incredibly brave about the whole thing, but he doesn't like going outside by himself any more."

2012

A SOUTH Grafton woman fears she could have been killed when a huge male kangaroo attacked her in her backyard.

The attack put Sue Lawrence in the trauma unit of the Coffs Harbour Health Campus for five dayss, recovering from horrific injuries to her lower legs.

She said the kangaroo, she estimated to be more than 2m tall, attacked her at least five times after pushing her to the ground.

It sliced open her calf on her right leg and ripped out the muscle and inflicted deep puncture wounds in her left leg.

Denise Pavlovic and neighbour Sue Lawrence, who is on bed-rest for at least two weeks after being attacked by a kangaroo. Photo: JoJo Newby/The Daily Examiner
Denise Pavlovic and neighbour Sue Lawrence, who is on bed-rest for at least two weeks after being attacked by a kangaroo. Photo: JoJo Newby/The Daily Examiner JoJo Newby

Mrs Lawrence was able to push herself into the garden so the animal was only able to strike at her legs.

"If I hadn't been able to do that it could have been a lot worse.

"If it had been anything else, I'd be gone."

2013

A KANGAROO no bigger than its victim hospitalises a five-year-old South Grafton boy.

A woman who cares for the boy, who with the victim cannot be identified, says the attack occurred in the backyard of their home on Saturday when the boy went outside "for a couple of minutes".

"I heard terrible screaming and raced out to the back of the house," the woman said.

"He had come back into the house and his little face was covered in blood.

"But when I took his shirt off and saw the injuries to his back and arms, I started to hyperventilate."

The carer said the boy had a deep, jagged gash from his shoulder blade to under his armpit.

2016

YOUNG Noah Reid saves his little sister Alyssa when she is attacked near their family home in South Grafton.

The roo, believed to be a mother protecting her joey, attacked Alyssa, inflicing a gash on her scalp, scratching her face and bruising her ribs.

Noah found the roo pinning his sister to the ground and bravely chased it off her.



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