FLASHBACK: The monster crocodile that killed two girls
IT'S hard to imagine the horror of a monster five metre crocodile attacking two schoolgirls as they rode across a creek on their way to school.
But in 1933, that's exactly what happened in the small rural Mackay community of Pindi Pindi.
As debate raged this week about whether a crocodile spotted off Eimeo Creek and Slade Point should be moved or culled, the historic account of the crocodile tragedy is chilling.
Sisters Mary and Thelma Adams left home to ride their horse to school on March 9, 1933 but they never arrived, the Daily Mercury reported at the time.
The girls, aged 10 and 6, had to cross Alligator Creek, a tributary of Blackrock Creek on their way to school and the horse's return home, wet and trembling, caused alarm and prompted an immediate search.
Thelma's body was soon found in the creek and at first it was thought the girls had been thrown from the horse after it had taken fright for some reason.
But Mary could not be found and a large search party was organised, led by Constable Gallagher, of Kolijo.
By this time people believed something terrible had happened.
The girls' horse was brought to the scene and its nervous reaction led to the theory that a crocodile had lunged at it during the river crossing, the girls had been thrown off and Mary had been taken by the reptile.
After days of fruitless searching, dead wallabies baited with strychnine were set in the creek.
On Friday, March 17 one of the carcasses had gone and the body of a 15-foot (five metre) crocodile was found floating about two miles away.
It was retrieved and cut open to reveal the remains of a child and clothing, which later was identified as that worn by Mary.
The incident horrified the people of the Mackay district and when another large reptile was sighted at Town Beach soon afterwards they were on high alert.
There had been numerous reports of attacks by large crocodiles since the start of European settlement in the region, and many had been shot, but the girls' deaths were the first attributed to a crocodile.