12 years ago I moved to Woodford. Our house backs onto a fairly deep valley which has very thick bush.
I arrived home around 5.30pm and walked down the drive to say hello to my dog. He was a bull mastiff cross Great Dane. While I was patting him I heard something in the bush behind my property. At first I thought it was my kids so I jumped over the fence to tell them I have told them not to go in the backyard with the dog unless I was with them. He was quite unpredictable.
As I looked towards the noise a large black cat emerged from the bushes. It was quite big. It was down the slope behind our wire fence approximately 25 meters away. I don't think it knew I was above looking down as it didn't look up or run off. It just walked along. I would estimate it was at least 40 kilograms. I was stunned. My dog saw the cat as we'll and he just like me watched in silence. The cat was walking from the left of my fence line to the right. I had to move to another position to see it pass my neighbours house and then head of into the thicker bush and out of sight. As it passed my neighbours house I could compare the size of it to her dog which was a German shepherd. The cat was almost the same size only a lot sleeker. I got a real good look at the way it walked and how it looked. It was definitely not a house cat or feral cat.
I worked at an animal park called Bullens Animal World which was in Wallacia. I had close contact with all sorts of animals from elephants, camels, lions, tigers, monkeys and yes we had a black panther named Shieba. This cat behind my house was a little bit bigger than Shieba but identical to her shape and the way it walked. I could see the shoulder blades, head shape and the distinct shape of a black panther (leopard).
I have told people this story before and 9 times out of ten you know they don't believe it. Some times you wonder yourself and re think the situation but you know what you saw.
It was about three months after this sighting whilst I was riding my mountain bike down a fire trail across the valley from my house when I could smell a fox. As I came to a bend in the track I could see definite paw prints. I looked like a fox was walking down the trail when a large cat has jumped on it and there was a struggle and the cat took the fox. I compared the cat print to my hand and it was the size of my palm. A lot of the prints were smeared and distorted from the definite struggle but there was one perfect print with the claws exposed. The claws had cut into the ground like you would expect a large cat claw would.
I know that cats don't walk with there claws exposed but I would say that in this situation of an attack on the fox that it's claws would definitely be out.
I have helped skin a dead leopard once and helped the guy remove the claws and I can tell you that these prints were made by the same size paw. Also working at Bullens animal world i cleaned cages and saw a lot of prints from the big cats so I know the shape very well.
I rode home to get my son and go back to find the prints but the time we got back to the track it was dark and we couldn't find them.
The next day I had some plaster to make a cast but it was raining heavy and the prints would have been washed away so I didn't bother going back.
The next incident was in lawson on my cousins property. I was going for a walk down the back of his place. I had to climb a couple of fences when I found a large print in some donkey poo. Yes he owned a donkey. The print was again a large cat print. This time I had a camera and took a photo.
I used to be a hunter. Rifle and bow. Mostly bow hunter and I am used to animal track and I know exactly what a roo print looks like when there feet come together.
This print was a large cat.
Unfortunately I have looked every where for the photo of the print but can not find it. I am hoping that it is on a disc but until I can locate it I can't show you guys.
The same year my wife dropped me at woodford railway station at 4.50am. She saw a large black cat run from behind the bicycle locker behind me and over the road into the bush.
She said it was a little taller than my knee.
Kind regards Mark
Please feel free to discuss anything related to these two topics.