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Flying Dog

Written by Annie O'Riley ( on July 30, 2012

This article was published in the Argus (Melbourne) on the 6th of August 1898. (Punctuation and spelling as per original article)




This morning, while a boy named Watts, accompanied by a cattle dog, was crossing one of Mr. Anketell’s paddocks in the ranges, about three miles from Dandenong, a large eagle suddenly swooped down on the dog, and burying its talons in the animal’s back rose in the air with it before the boy could come to the rescue. The dog howled, and struggled in a vain endeavor to get free, and was carried to a considerable height, when it managed to catch the eagle by the bony part of the wing. The bird used it’s beak with terrible effect, but the dog, with the instinct of self-preservation, kept its hold on the wing, and the pair, tumbling over and over like acrobats, fell to the ground. Here the plucky little boy, running to the assistance of his canine friend, succeeded in despatching the eagle by striking it repeatedly on the back of the head with a stout stick. The dog, which weighed over 25 lb weight (about 12 kilogram), was badly cut about the body and head from the attacks of the birds claws and beak. The eagle measured 7 ft (2.13 metres) from tip to tip across the wings, and was a most formidable looking customer.”

The farm where the incident occurred was 3 miles from Dandenong and belonged to the Anketells. I found, in the 1903 electoral roll that an Oliver Anketell and his mother lived on Wellington road, Lysterfield. Oliver is listed as a farmer and Ellen’s occupation is home duties. Ellen passed away in 1905 at age 81. The Watts family are a bit harder to pinpoint in the area although I did find a death notice for the infant son of W.C. and F. Watts at Dandenong in 1895.

Written by Annie O'Riley. Annie is the author of and has been researching local history for over 30 years. She is constantly finding new stories and characters to write about.

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