The Pilliga Princess

 Posted by at 12:14 pm
Apr 092005

Pilliga Scrub, NSW Australia

The Pilliga Scrub is a massive expanse of thick bushland in the central upper half of New South Wales and covers an area of about 80 x 120 kilometres. Much has been lost in there, never to be found again, from sheep and cattle, to people and vehicles. Even today, it is dense and forbidding, although what used to be a dirt track that ran through the middle is now a major road called the Newell Highway.

There are a lot of stories that have emerged from the forest, and one in particular that sticks in my mind is that of a bag-lady who lived in the Pilliga Scrub. She was often seen with her old battered shopping trolley loaded with her belongings along the road, and truckers would see her at night walking in complete darkness.

She was a recluse, old, grey haired and crazy, and they dubbed her the Pilliga Princess. For many years, she was a familiar sight to regular travellers, particularly truck drivers along that stretch of road. Because the Pilliga Scrub had (and still has) unexplained stories of terror associated with it, the locals will tell you you’d have to be completely crazy to be in the scrub after dark. Anyone passing through for the first time saw the Princess as an almost terrifying ghostly figure, even if they hadn’t heard the scary stories beforehand.

More recently:

One night in 1993 the Pilliga Princess was hit and killed by a truck. The trucker who hit her said she had been wandering across the road and he hadn’t seen her until it was too late. He told how as she was lit by the headlights, she turned to look directly at him and ran toward him, arms outstretched. The last thing he saw of her alive was the white hair flaring out around her wild-eyed face and the expression was one of manic glee.

Since then other truckers swear they have seen her walking her trolley at night, just as she had done for years before she was killed. One truck driver even claimed to have hit her trolley, but with no Princess in sight.

If you are from that region, or have driven through there and have seen anything unusual, I would love to hear from you. Thanks to the person who emailed me the following image from the Australian Cemeteries Index, we now know the name of the Princess.

The grave of one Pilliga Princess


There are many more Pilliga stories from truckers, and there are a couple in particular that I’d like to include here later.

  45 Responses to “The Pilliga Princess”

Comments (45)
  1. omg, thats scary 0.0
    the scary thing is after her dead, people still seeing her??
    is it houndetd?!

    dude, youre amazing of telling story that good.
    and the best part is: its all treu! 😀

    man, I LOVE YOU!

    • I live in the town and piliga area you are talking about and it is freaking at night if you ever go there you will notice people like to stay inside at night for that reason 😊 also if you go into the piliga bush there is this cave a old slavery camp site it is very eerie at certain times at night you can hear the slaves moaning and crying and screaming there chains rattling them whistling and singing and at night if you look directly into the cave to long you can see two glowing red eyes staring back at you.animals refuse to stay in the area even wildlife are scared of the area if you try to light a camp fire it wont even stay lit for long it goes out for no reason you can see there chain links in the cave walls human bones have been unexpectedly found in there as well

      • Hi Kathline, do you have a location for the cave. I would love to be able to check it out, IN THE DAYTIME!

  2. i grew up around the pilliga scrub and cuttabri wine shanty my great grandmother was Lorna Dowd she ran it from 1974-1997

  3. beast completly beast

  4. i grew up at the cuttabri wine shanty my mother being lorna dowd i have experiences that no one would believe so i keep them 2 myself

    • Thats a real shame Debra, it sounds like you need to tell your stories for your own sake/sanity. I would love to hear them regardless of how scary/strange they may be. I have a few strange/freaky stories of my own but not from that area. Here’s to brighter days.

  5. i pig shoot in the pilliga and i havent seen a thing scarey in there (YET)!

  6. It’s not strictly about this princess, but a freaky sorta thing anyway, Around 10 years ago I was at my friend’s uncle’s farm out thay way somehwere, not sure exactly where, anyway we were riding the quad bikes around the house and having fun, so we decided to take a right along the track, we rode a good 800 metres away from the house and up this little incline, there was thick trees either side and scrub, on the way back we were slowing coming down the incline and on the left there it goes into a drop into the scrub, but there was a clearing in the trees (the ground was thick scrub but the trees had a gap of easy 6-8 metres), but there was one long branch extending the length of it, now this branch would of only been as thick as a man’s forearm, but something caught my eye, and I will remember it till i die, but there was this little girl around six sitting on the branch, wearing a white dress, white gloves and a white hat (like they wore in the olden days). she was just sitting there, I locked the brakes on the bike and yelled out to my mate to come back but the girl was gone, he thought i was just talking out my ass, but it was so freaky, and there is noway any human could of got through the trees and thick scub, nor could a branch so thin hold someone’s weight. Even now i still remember it clear as day. but even through research, I’ve never heard/read any weird stories of children dying around that area.

    • Back when we walked through the bushes in 2007 my daughter back then was only 4 and in the bushes a fair way up the track there was a small car on its roof and it had bullet holes in it and was all rusty as if it had burnt..

      my daughter bent down near the car and then turns to us amd says “mummy help them ” I couldnt see what she could and she went on to tell me there was a little girl and her mum and the mum had a baby in her belly and the car was on fire and we needed to help them..

      the little girl was crying asking my daughter for help..

      thats all I can tell u re a girl..

    • My daughter described exact same picture of what you saw young girl 4-7 y/o she was sitting in tree on a long protruding branch. dressed like and old English style clothing all white . She tried showing us even tho she was pointing directly at the little girl me and two other adults couldn’t see anything. Was just getting dark. Freaked us out so took al kids in the house.
      Was a bush area behind my friends house At Wilton/ Picton area NSW

      • Oh it was in 2010

      • Wow! Years ago I lived in Thirlemere near Picton. Don’t know if same little girl but similar age about 5 yrs old maybe 6 or 7. Floated through my bathroom/ hall wall into my sons bedroom. I was pregnant so 1991 this happened. She was dressed all in white olden day clothes. Scared the hell outa me at first.

  7. im gunna use this story for my new ute so i have a kinda theme behind it

    • Im a truck driver of 31 years an spent 18 years straight running Melbourne to Brisbane n return. I clearly remember one night about 2 am I was completely buggered an wasn’t goin to make to the end of the Pilliga so I pulled into Pilliga no2 rest area n jumped in the bunk. When I woke around 7ish I jump into the hot seat an looked out at my bonnet an there was dust all ova it an a large hand like print in the dust but the hand print was like a human hand but twice the size of a average mans hand but it had 2 thumbs one each side. I actually got out an looked around but there was no other prints any where an even spookier was there was no dust any where else on my truck…. I have been told the same thing has happened to other different drivers in the past.

  8. I attend the Pilliga regularly. A group of us stay in an old early 1900 hundreds farm house in the Pilliga. I’m talking well off the main highway around several kilometers off the main road and surrounded by forest. We go out spot lighting at night. To date, I ain’t seen anything out of the ordinary in the scrub. Only on one occasion, around 2am, I was woken by the noise of the back door of the farmhouse opening. It sounded as if someone had attempted to open the door. My first thoughts were, it must be one of the other guys up for a leak. But a quick look around the room proved all were in bed. The farm house is very old and the door scrapes the floor when opened. There was no apparent wind that night so this true occurrence remains unexplained. And, I wasn’t game to investigate.

  9. I remember as a child around 1980 travelling with my dad who was a truckie telling me with a little grin on his face to keep an eye out on the road for the Pilliga Princess because he may not see her. When I asked him who she was he said exactly the same thing, old grey haired woman with a shopping trolley walking on the side of the road. I would have my eyes peeled to the road hair standing up on the back of my neck all through the night but I never saw her. I reckon I was about 10 then. Coonabarabran was creepy enough back then, the bush fires on the hills in the distance would light the night sky up orange, the last truck stop before leaving the town had an old circus trailer with a big scary clown painted on it and the door on it was always open and I would see it year after year but I would never dare to go in there. I think dad did see her once as well but he was up and down that road every 3 weeks for 30 years and if he did see her ghost after that he never mentioned it. I went through there in 2013, the circus trailer was gone and I headed through the the Pilliga, this was at about 2am on a Friday morning heading north but there was no way I was going to stop, my eyes were darting from one side of the road to the other but this was to avoid wildlife and saw nothing. Or maybe something like this stays with you forever who knows. The other thing he mentioned that was rumored in the area was some big hairy ugly thing but thats another post.

  10. I believe you %150!
    My dad is a truck driver but hasn’t seen her yet and hopefully won’t!!

  11. My husband had seen the princess who is a truck driver. He said she was white and slowly walked across the rd. He slowed down, knowing who she was. But it freaked him out, seeing a ghost was certainly a surprise.

  12. I was stuck out their for two days and night’s after I blee a front wheel barring on my old F100. During the first night i had stuff go on in my truck like the CD player turning on and off the keys where turned off. I seen nothing but glimmers of dull light in the shape of an old lady and it was a rough first night. Second night i managed to move another truck stop away that was 51km away from tge first spot and nothing happened that night. Have hurd many stories about it all as my old man has been a truckie his whole life and most truck drivers wont stop and rest in the pilliga.

  13. About two years ago my husband and I parked our caravan off the road near one of the truckstops and stayed overnight. We drove down this track about four or five hundred metres from the truckstop so we would be away from the noise of the trucks on the highway. We saw or heard nothing out of the ordinary. I had no knowledge of the story of the Pilliga Princess then. My mother told me later.and seemed in awe that I would spend the night in such a scary place.

  14. i am go to use the piliga princess in my assestment for school my dad gave pillaga princess a ride in his truck

  15. I hunt out there quite regular and have never experienced anything unusual until the last time we went shooting. It was day time, me and a mate decided to walk through the scrub looking for game, the area we walked was a square block of bush. We parked up and walked down the road until we reached the middle, about a km from the car. Then we walked right, straight through the middle. Once we was half way we could plain as day hear drums pounding, like tribal drums. It stopped after a few minutes. We continued our walk. Once we got back to the ute we could hear it again. Whatever it was, it was in the scrub between us and the ute.
    That night we got to sleep. I always zip my swag up tight just to stop the bull ants getting in. In the morning my mate woke me up complaining, saying why the F did you unzip my swag. I went to reach the zip and mine had been unzipped down past my feet too. It was definitely shut when I went to sleep. Our fire was put completely out too and we was about 1m from the fire staying warm. My mate refuses to camp out there again. I still go, and walk alone at night sometimes. Yet to have anything to wild happen!

  16. I live in the town and piliga area you are talking about and it is freaking at night if you ever go there you will notice people like to stay inside at night for that reason 😊 also if you go into the piliga bush there is this cave a old slavery camp site it is very eerie at certain times at night you can hear the slaves moaning and crying and screaming there chains rattling them whistling and singing and at night if you look directly into the cave to long you can see two glowing red eyes staring back at you.animals refuse to stay in the area even wildlife are scared of the area if you try to light a camp fire it wont even stay lit for long it goes out for no reason you can see there chain links in the cave walls human bones have been unexpectedly found in there as well

  17. I grew up in the pilliga forest in a town called kenebri.I’ve heard of the princess many of times

  18. Dose any 1know were she lived

  19. Hi…i did hear somewhere in the piliga a movie was gonna be made about the story…. but i cant find anything on it can u help

  20. Very interesting reading..

  21. I know people who hunt out there regularily and they ran into an off-grid, off-map settlement in the middle of the place on one recent trip. They didn’t stick around to find out what the locals were like, reckoned it was all a bit too scary, but it would be a good place to disappear into if you wanted to do that.

  22. HI Everyone,

    I’m a Director and filmmaker working on a doco/reality show looking into legitimate paranormal or spiritual encounters – we can’t go past the Pilliga Princess.

    Could anyone who has had authentic experiences with the Pilliga Princess or any other happenings in the Pilliga please contact me at if you are willing and happy to share your experiences.

    Andy, Kelly and Kathline I would love to hear from you!

    Ashlee Jensen

  23. Today I heard of the pilliga princess in the comments on a truck sales website and immediately goose bumps overwhelmed my body. Christmas 2017 my son and his mate went for a shoot and camped about 30klm into the forest North West of the town of pilliga. We were all armed up with plenty of guns and knives so I was under the impression we were safe and there was nothing in the forest to fear. When we got into this particular part of the forest it was late afternoon and the forest was extraordinarily dry and eerily lifeless. We had only seen one dead pig on the side of the track about 10 klms back on the way in and when we stopped to investigate there were no tell tale signs as to the cause of its demise. We set up camp an the two boys bunked down in swags on the ground with their guns beside them and I set up a stretcher and dooner on the tray of my ute and hung a tarp on all 4 pegs on the ute Bars to create a tent. The dead silence in the forest was amazing. I had never camped anywhere before where there had been no animal noises at night So with the shotgun loaded beside me and a huge pig knife in the stretcher I finally dropped off into a deep sleep at around 11 pm as I was buggered from all the driving . I was never a believer in paranormal ghosty crap or any other sort of unexplained phenomenon, so when I was awakened by a woman saying my name in my left ear so vividly that I could feel her breath on the side
    of my face , you could imagine how startled I was. I could hear noises like somebody was walking around the camp so I grabbed my knife and three the tarp back from the ute Bars only to be greeted with darkness and sudden silence. I jumped off the back of the ute and ran to the drivers door, opened it and turned the headlights on NOTHING but silence and me standing there covered in goosebumps I checked on the two boys and they were still asleep so I sat on the back of the ute for an hour or so in complete darkness. Once I had settled I went back to sleep and put the whole experience down to maybe a bad dream and after telling the boys what happened we left the forest the next morning. Now, after stumbling across the stories people have told of the pilliga, I am not so sure that I dreamt what had happened.

    • I was travelling to the gold coast on my own was 38 at the time… thought I could make it all the way!
      I fuelled up at the petrol station before you turn onto the Pilliga highway around 1am , I grabbed some cans of redbull and chips determined to mate it through
      The lady who served struck up a conversation asked where I was going .. etc ,, lovely lady , she said don’t stop hun!

      Ok … so got into in about a good hr and felt overwhelmingly tired And pulled up in an empty truck stop for a stretch … it was so still
      No breeze no noise no crickets not a sound
      I jumped back in and locked my doors
      Set my alarm for 20 minutes
      .. fell asleep…
      next thing I remember was bright lights and a honking horn .., a massive truck was pulling up behind me .. I freaked and took off
      He didn’t follow me and I didn’t stop until Goondiwindi .

      Looking back I think he was trying to tell me to NOT. Rest in the Pilliga

  24. I’m an ex trucker and I’ve seen the princess, even heard her talking,.

    I also remember seeing the angel of Goulburn hill too. Similar to slim Dusty’s song, angel gear in that old would nearly kill you.

  25. back in the 80s i drove a truck adelaide to brisbane twice a month. one night a scruffy grey\blond haird woman jumped up into my truck while i was stopped at goondawindi.she said can i give her a lift as i was heading south . not something i would normaly do but i agreed to. i was about 24 at the time and she looked in her we drove away i heard other truckies talking on the cb saying the princess was hanging around looking for a lift. then i knew who had got in my truck.she said she wanted to get to west wylong to see friends or family.i took her to coonabaraban and dropped her off.she offered some services to thank me for the ride but i declined her offer and roar’d off into the night.i cant remember ever seeing her again after that.but she was no myth she was a real person. sad to hear of her tragic ending.

  26. I used to have a truck that went through the Pilliga and no way in hell you would stop. The silence was so deafening on the only time l ever stopped with my partner who was driving . We heard noises like a moaning and groaning but it was almost like it was on the wind . I woke up and felt this overwhelming sadness that night and l wanted to cry . We heard later she had been killed after being hit by a truck . Her story was quite sad . Maybe someone could verify – story goes that she was once a beautiful woman married to a Dr who left her and she was left with nothing . She had a breakdown and used to live in humpies along the way . She would return favours for smokes/ grog / food. It is said that people tried to get her help but she returned to the Pilliga . Her spirit is said to remain because she is earth bound due to not finding peace 😢. Very sad if it’s true . The area is full of natives who were killed and tossed aside so they roam finding no peace . Regardless – it is a place of very different energy unlike l ever felt .

  27. Hey guys,
    I drive truck through the Piliga and down the Mendoorin Rd through the day on the way down from Brisbane and then very early hours of the morning coming home about 6 or so times a year and I would not be keen to stop and sleep the night. I’m not a believer in ghosts and the similar but the eerie and unsettling feeling that you are being watched or someone or something is close by in the silence is enough for me to keep going. When you see goats,pigs.roos huddle together on the the side of the road in the dirt and their to scared to go in the scub well that says something to me. And the amount of skid marks leading to nowhere. Spooky place. Still hope to see the piliga princess one day though,then she can prove to me ghosts are real🤔

  28. Hi there my names Andrew Gray I live in the uk I was in Austrailia in 1987 and I worked for a company called Machetti Transport based in Melbourne I travelled the Pilliga and often saw the d lady walking these roads the first time I saw her I was expecting to see a broken down vehicle but never did I use to remember thinking who would be this far out in the Bush miles from anywhere I thought I was hulusernating with the long drives and severe lack of sleep. But I spoke to another driver that had also come across her and he told me that this lady called the princess by truck drivers had traced these roads for years I also red that one night she ran at a truck screaming and this unfortunately took her life I was told she was avery scary lady and also crazy 🙂

  29. The Pilliga Princess was a lovely lady. A bit eccentric, but lovely to talk to. My Mum picked her up one day and drove her to Dubbo. I can’t remember the reason she was going there.
    She didn’t bath very often, do had pretty bad body odour. But other than that, she was nice.
    Life was not always kind to her. That is why she lived like a recluse in the bush

  30. I have met her, I’m an ex Tourist Coach driver ,now an Author ,have been in the Pilliga many times as I gathered bush foods from there, I have now written a Horror Fiction about ‘Lil’, it’s an outstanding,, story about her Ghost, if anyone is interested in my story ,please contact me ,it would be a great Movie,it’s nothing like the other movie,this story is a Classic, I have also written a story about the ‘Nullarbor Nymph’ ,another Aussie Classic..…Cheers Allan

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