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In the dry season dark
Stationed in a small observation post at RAAF Scherger, an ADG patrol encountered a creature they couldn’t explain. Private John Wellfare reports.

A DARK night in remote far north Queensland can play tricks on a person’s eyes. But can it play tricks on the eyes of four trained Air Force members and a tracking dog?

A patrol of airfield defence guards had a spine-tingling brush with some of far north Queensland’s more exotic wildlife when deployed to RAAF Scherger for Exercises Northern Awakening and Kakadu.

Stationed at a small observation post near the base’s sand quarry, the ADGs, from No. 2 Airfield Defence Squadron’s No. 4 Rifle Flight, encountered a large and unidentifiable “creature” on two separate occasions, both at night.

Leading Aircraftmen Mathew Cash, Cy Holland and Chris Hey had been sent out to intercept a Mauveland special forces team that had launched a raid on the base and was withdrawing along a creek line near their position.

The three ADGs, accompanied by a dog and its handler, moved from the creek line to the other side of the quarry, planning to intercept the enemy group as they entered the clearing.

Leading Aircraftman Cash explained what happened next.

“We came across the quarry and pulled up, looked around and this creature was sniffing on the ground, following exactly where we’d come through,” he said.

“It pulled up on a mound [about 50m away] and just sat there.

“We had our night weapon sight and our [night vision] on, watching it, and [the creature] was just sitting there sniffing and watching us.”

He said the creature stood about waist high on all fours, had a small head, was spotted and moved like a cat.

Leading Aircraftman Holland couldn’t reach a logical verdict on what type of animal it was.

“The two front legs were bigger than the two back legs, [with] big shoulder blades,” he said. “I would have said it was a hyena, but obviously we don’t have hyenas here.”

Even the trained tracking and attack dog seemed put off by the sight of the unusual creature; it quietly crept to the back of the group and stayed out of sight.

When asked about the creature, RAAF Scherger’s chief caretaker Flight Sergeant Brian Hughes believed he knew the answer.