THAT’S NO TURTLE: This available light picture taken last week is the first confirmed crocodile sighting this close to Gympie for 50 years.
THAT’S NO TURTLE: This available light picture taken last week is the first confirmed crocodile sighting this close to Gympie for 50 years. Contributed

Legendary Tiaro crocodile returns

THE turtle watching camera near Tiaro caught the image of something strange last week.

"Every night we'd seen turtles and then suddenly there were none.

"Then these beady eyes appeared in the image," Marilyn Connell said yesterday.

The picture, taken in available light just before 8pm on Monday of last week, is very dark.

But the Tiaro Landcare Turtle Conservation Project volunteer thought she knew what it was.

She just needed to be sure.

Then came confirmation from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

The Tiaro crocodile, a salty, is back.

The long-running crocodile legend has not been subject to a confirmed, absolutely undeniable sighting this close to Gympie for 50 years.

"And in those days it was tidal," Ms Connell said yesterday.

"The barrage keeps salt water out of the river, but isn't any protection from the crocodile apparently," she said.

There have been reported sightings, some confirmed, in the Mary River and at Fraser Island in more recent years. But the picture Marilyn Connell had examined was taken in salt water.

It was taken way up in the fresh, near Andrew Ross's seedling farm - and quite close to Petrie Park, a popular camping and swimming spot just north of Tiaro and about 60km north of Gympie.

Mary River conservationist Steve Burgess was not a bit surprised yesterday.

"There's a long history going back to the 1960s.

"My father told me he had seen the crocodile that was shot at Tiaro being dragged into Tiaro on a trailer behind a VW.

"It's natural for it to be there," he said.

"The skin of the one killed in the 1960s is in the museum at Bauple and there are photographs."

Gympie resident Wayne Gosley was four when he saw the dead croc on display soon after it was shot.

Gympie Landcare supporter Chris de Vere says he saw a crocodile in the river at Bergins Pocket when he was a child.

Gympie Times

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