Plenty of odd things in news
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.