Crocodile found in the Logan River (1905)

Crocodile found in the Logan River, 1905. From left: John Storey, Alf Hinds (storekeeper), Jack Hinds (storekeeper), G. H. Cook (schoolmaster), Mr Rumpt (hotel keeper), Fred Manitzky (blacksmith). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 4314

On June 22, 1905, rumours a crocodile had been living in the Logan River, south of Brisbane, were confirmed when local storekeeper Alf Hinds spotted something “floating on the surface of the water, under a willow tree”. Hinds, with the assistance of his brother Jack and publican Charles Rumpf, towed the dead crocodile “down to the ferry landing, and pulled it up onto the bank”.

According to the Brisbane Courier newspaper, the 3.83m crocodile had been shot at a few days prior, but not for the first time. Earlier in the year it was reported that William Hammel, an aerated water manufacturer, had sighted “a large alligator” on the bank of the river. He shot at the creature with his rifle, supposedly wounding it, before it “took to the water and disappeared”. The final, fatal shot is generally attributed to one Charlie Goetsch.

The discovery of the dead crocodile caused great excitement in Logan Village. Locals posed behind their new trophy and schoolchildren were given an opportunity to inspect this “curiosity”. The Brisbane Courier published a photograph showing a small schoolboy’s head next to the open jaws of the croc, which was later skinned and its stomach revealed to contain corn, several ducks and small turtles.

From Brisbane Courier, 19 August 1905, p.12

During the crocodile scare some were skeptical. A few weeks prior to the discovery of the dead crocodile a cheeky journalist from the Beaudesert Despatch newspaper attributed sightings to "the bad grog dispensed by the Waterford publicans".  The Beaudesert Herald hit back by publishing a letter to the editor saying, "For the benefit of your readers it may not be out of place to mention that the writer of the paragraph referred to was not afraid to sample the "bad grog" on the occasion of the opening of the Waterford Dip. Drinks were free. Nuff sed"

The question remained: how did a crocodile end up so far south? Rumour had it that nine years earlier, two well-known Brisbane residents were given a crocodile as a Christmas gift, but the contents of the package mysteriously went missing. If true, it lends credence to the admonition that pets aren’t just for Christmas – they’re for life.

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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Do you have the identity of the people in the picture?I recall my mother saying two were her uncles from Canungra. If you are interested, I could let you know.

Hi BerylFrom left: John Storey, Alf Hinds (storekeeper), Jack Hinds (storekeeper), G. H. Cook (schoolmaster), Mr Rumpt (hotel keeper), Fred Manitzky (blacksmith). I'll add this to the caption.Kind regardsMyles Sinnamon (blog editor)

Fred Manitzky was my great-grandfather. I didn't hear about the croc in Logan River until after he had passed away. I remember him as an old man at Tamborine Mt, being cared for by his unmarried daughter Maud.