The Pilliga Princess

 Posted by at 12:14 pm  Add comments
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.

  21 Responses to “The Pilliga Princess”

Comments (21)
  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!

  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..

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

  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!

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