Plenty of odd things in news

Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS - Lau­ren Pi­lat

WHILE jour­nal­ists thrive on gath­er­ing hard- hit­ting news for the Hills Gazette, it is the quirky sto­ries that brought be­wil­der­ment to the news­room over the years.

From sto­ries about twofaced cats, UFO sight­ings, Mc­Don­ald’s icons, bush doofs and a Hol­ly­wood­in­spired sign, we look at just a few of the more quirky sto­ries to come out of the area over the past 40plus years.

As cat videos be­came pop­u­lar on YouTube, sto­ries of weird and won­der­ful fe­line friends were spread, in­clud­ing the mys­tery around sight­ings of big black cats in the Perth Hills.

Cat sto­ries al­ways seemed to ‘ have legs’.

The story about the twofaced kit­ten was re­ported first by then- Com­mu­nity News jour­nal­ist Linda Parri and went vi­ral, with in­ter­na­tional news or­gan­i­sa­tions also sink­ing their claws into the tale of the ar­rival of the unique lit­tle fe­line.

The kit­ten was born at Swan Vet­eri­nar­ian Clinic but un­for­tu­nately later died due to liq­uid on the lungs as a re­sult of its con­gen­i­tal de­for­mity.

As for the big black cat sight­ings, it’s a mys­tery that’s been wrack­ing the brains of count­less Perth Hills res­i­dents and jour­nal­ists for years.

It seems only a few have ever had the chance to see the elu­sive cats, though sto­ries about peo­ple sight­ing them are not as rare as the crea­tures them­selves.

The most re­cent story we pub­lished about big black cat sight­ings was by jour­nal­ist Sarah Brookes, who came across Mt He­lena res­i­dent Lisa Speyer’s tale.

Ms Speyer said she saw a “pan­ther” sized cat that “was crouched like a cat and had dis­tinc­tive eyes”.

The sight­ing sparked other res­i­dents to come for­ward and share their sto­ries about see­ing such crea­tures, with Vaughan King, who grew up in Kala­munda, say­ing the big cats were likely de­scen­dants of es­caped cir­cus an­i­mals or US Navy pets or mas­cots.

Mr King said it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the pres­ence of big cats in the Hills was proven true.

One mys­tery to have come out of the area that was solved this year was the where­abouts of the so­called Fly­ing Ham­burger air­plane that was iconic to Mid­land Mc­Don­ald’s in the 1980s.

The eight- tonne Douglas DC3 out­side the lo­cal Mc­Don­ald’s hosted the coolest chil­dren’s par­ties for about 15 years be­fore it was re­moved and taken to an un­known lo­ca­tion.

That lo­ca­tion was re­vealed in 2018 when Luke Howe re­told how his fam­ily came to own the historic plane at his fa­ther’s gar­den in Myalup.

It may not have been a Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­tion but the Hills be­came the sub­ject of Tin­sel­town when the Shire of Kala­munda con­sid­ered in­stalling its own ver­sion of the fa­mous Santa Mon­ica Hills sign in its own back­yard.

News of a se­cret drug cul­ture bub­bling be­neath the sur­face in the Hills had lo­cals talk­ing.

The bush doofs, sim­i­lar to a rave party, were op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in state forests and their lo­ca­tions were a closely guarded se­cret, making it dif­fi­cult for po­lice to act.

And one of the sto­ries that stayed with me was Jules, the reg­u­lar at the Dar­ling­ton Ten­nis Club, the first dog to ever re­ceive a mem­ber­ship to an Aus­tralian club.

Al­though this is the fi­nal edi­tion of the Hills Gazette, quirky sto­ries will con­tinue to come out of the lo­cal area and we’ll con­tinue to cover them in our new for­mat with the ex­panded

Eastern Re­porter pa­per and Com­mu­nity News’ on­line com­po­nent.

It’s usu­ally a case of the quirkier the bet­ter for a pa­per that thrives on un­usual char­ac­ters and events.

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