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Located in Queensland, Australia, 26 kilometers to the south of Cooktown lies they mysterious Black Trevethan Range, the Black Mountain. Consisting of granite jumbles of black rocks this mountain is inhabited by frogs, wallabies, gigantic pythons and a strange beast that goes by the name of the Queensland Tiger. Many walk into this collection of large black rocks, but very few ever walk out.
The mountain is certainly significant for the Aborigines. Kalkajaka is what they call it, the name meaning the place of the spear or more loosely translated as mountains of death. The Aboriginal stories of how it evolved certainly add to mystery of this incredible mountain range. The Aboriginal belief is that the mountain originated in the dreamtime with a man, being similar to a medicine man and also a chameleon, who had the taste for human flesh. He killed and ate a young chief and so was banished and fled to the mountains, occasionally surfacing to eat a human or two from his own tribe. On his last venture out of the mountains he turned into a goanna to escape his angry fellow tribe members and had the misfortune of being struck by lightening. Being no ordinary goanna he exploded and left large piles of charred rock everywhere.
One man, however, did go in and come out. Being an experienced bushman he entered the caves armed with a loaded revolver and an electric torch.
His chilling story follows. I stepped into the opening, like other Black Mountain caves it dipped steeply downwards, narrowing as it went. Suddenly I found myself facing a solid wall of rock, but the the right there was a passageway just large enough for me to enter in a stooping position. I moved along it carefully for several yards. The floor was fairly level, the walls of very smooth granite. The passage twisted and turned this way and tat, always sloping deeper into the earth. Presently I began to feel uneasy. A huge bat beat it's wings against me as it passed, however I forced myself on, to push further. Soon my nostrils were filled with a sickly musty stench. Then my torch went out. I was in total darkness. From somewhere, that seemed the bowels of the earth I could hear a faint moaning which was then followed by the flapping of wings of thousands of bats. I began to panic as I groped and floundered back the way I thought I had come. My arms and legs were bleeding from bumps with unseen rocks. My outstretched hands clawed at space, I expected solid walls and floors, but could not find it. At one stage where I had wandered into a side passage, I came to the brink of what was undoubtedly a precipice-judging by the echoes. The air was foul and I felt increasing dizziness. Terrifying thoughts were racing through my mind about giant rock-pythons I have seen around this mountain. As I crawled along, getting weaker and loosing hope of ever coming out alive, I saw a tiny streak of light. It gave me super strength to worm my way towards a small cave mouth half a mile from the one I had entered. Reaching the open air I gulped in lung fulls of it and fell down exhausted. I later found that I had been underground for five hours, most of the time on my hands and knees. A Kings ransom would not induce me to enter those caves again.
Another strange thing about the black mountains is that a creature is said to be lurking within. Described as being cat-like it has been spotted clambering over the boulders on quite a few occasions. Now dubbed the Queensland Tiger this beast is attributed to the cattle mauling and disappearances within the vicinity.
The first "recorded" disappearance was that of a carrier named Grayner who disappeared along with his horse and bullocks. 13 years later a Constable Ryan disappeared after tracking a wanted man to the base of the mountain, and neither were ever seen again. Then a gold prospector named Renn vanished and could not be found by police teams who combed the area for weeks. Harry Owens, a station owner from Oakley Creek, disappeared at the mountain while searching for stray cattle, as did his parter George Hawkins who went to search for him after alerting police. Two police trackers entered the caves but only one came out, and he was so shaken by an experience that terrified him so much that he could give no clear account of what happened.source: INFO JOURNAL, Vol.4, No.2; WALKABOUT [Sydney, Australia], June 1972; COOKTOWN AUSTRALIA; BLACK MOUNTAIN AUSTRALIA
The 'I.N.F.O. JOURNAL' (box 367., Arlington, VA, 22210), a
publication devoted to 'Fortean' research, Vol. IV, No. 2 issue
The article, titled 'MOUNTAIN OF DEATH' and written by David D.
Browne, originally appeared in the June 1972 issue of WALKABOUT,
published in Sydney, Australia
"In Brisbane's Public Library, a yellowing newspaper cutting
tells some of the story:
"'Grim tragedy has been associated with the mountain ever
since it has been known to white man.
"'Three men with horses completely disappeared at the
mountain. They vanished as if the earth had opened and swallowed
them up, for absolutely no trace of them has ever been
discovered, although police and backtrackers and hundreds of
local residents scoured the mountain and surrounding country.'
"Then following the names and occupations of several others
who disappeared, and the dates of their disappearance. The
"Another newspaper cutting, signed Nancy Francis, reads:
"'The formation of these mountains is unique; their
appearance grotesque. They are mountains of huge boulders full
of chasms that go down to unsounded depths. Only a few rock
wallabies and a few turkeys live near these grim, forbidding
hills. The Aborigines regard the Black Mountains with dread.'
"In the files of the Cooktown police, dating back 25 years,
there is a report made by a Sergeant of Police who discussed the
mountain with a man whom he refers to as Mac.
The National Park's distinctive hard granite "Black Mountains" boulders and range originally formed out of magma that first slowly solidified under the Earth's crust about 250 million years ago.
The softer land surfaces above the solidified magma eroded away over time, leaving the magma's fractured top to be exposed as a mountain of grey granite boulders blackened by a film of microscopic blue-green algae growing on the exposed surfaces. Colder rains falling on the dark, heated granite boulders causes the boulders to progressively fracture, break, and slowly disintegrate, sometimes explosively
TDear Mr name withheld.
Thankyou for your enquiry regarding Black Mountain near Cooktown.
Please find enclosed information from the publication, The Mysteries of Black Mountain by Maureen Kozicka. This mentions some of the disappearances on the mountain but does not give exact references to newspaper articles. We also hold a newspaper clippings file on Black Mountain and i have copied and enclosed these articles.
I trust this information is of assistance to you.
State library of Queensland
Mention of vugs (Oct 20) leads me to suggest that a natural cavity of this kind may be behind the mystery of Black Mountain, some 20 miles south of Cooktown, Queensland. A number of people have disappeared into the mountain since its discovery in 1870. The possibility is that its caves connect up with an underground chasm or vug. - Mac