THE NULLARBOR NYMPH HOAX
Eucla is a tiny town on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain just over the Western Australian border. It became the focus of world-wide attention thirty years ago with the claim that a semi-naked white woman was running wild with kangaroos in the local bush. By way of extensive media coverage the story spread internationally and was believed by many people to be true. After several days it was revealed that the Nullarbor Nymph did not exist at all. She was invented as a hoax with the intention of extending the identity of Eucla and Australia as a whole. The following transcript of an article tells the story well.
Ceduna: Sitting in the bar at Eucla one night, drinking a few beers to wash the Nullarbor dust out of their throats, a group of blokes cooked up what is still the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in Australia. Twenty years ago they were sitting there, spinning yarns like they usually did and, from the bottom of their schooners, the Nullarbor Nymph was born. Partly as a way to put Eucla on the map, but more in the waggish spirit of the bush, they decided to have a joke with tourists who passed through by dressing up a woman in 'roo skins and taking a photo of her. Within days the story of this feral woman, blonde, beautiful and half naked who ran with the desert reds and had been spotted by kangaroo shooters out in the middle of nowhere, had spread like wildfire and the legend of the Nullarbor Nymph grabbed worldwide attention. 'It's incredible how easy it was to start up', says Laurie Scott, one of the shooters who started the hoax and who is now married to the nymph. 'We was just sitting down havin' a few beers and we cooked up a yarn around the table about this nymph bird out in the bush. 'A bloke called Geoff Pearce, who we didn't know from a bar of soap, happened to be in the pub that night and he wrote something for the papers and we went out and took some photos and it took off from there. Pretty soon we had plane loads of reporters coming into town and we were getting phone calls and telegrams from people around the world. 'It amazed us how it kept going and we got bloody sick of it in the end.' By the start of 1972 the name of the nymph was known around the world with stories appearing in Time and Newsweek magazines and on the BBC and CBS international television networks. Everybody wanted to find the nymph and all the time she was there, right under their noses serving them tea and coffee. 'I'd be serving these reporters or just having a chat to them and they'd all be asking me questions about where they could find the nymph,' says the nymph, Geneice Scott, now a 45-year-old mother, housewife and nursing sister living in Ceduna, but still willing to strut her stuff as the nymph along with her daughter Jody and grandson Dean. Geneice says she can still vividly remember the day when Laurie came to her and told her there was something he wanted her to do 'for a bit of a laugh'. 'He told me he wanted to get my gear off, slip on my bikini and dress up in these roo skins which he had just caught', she said. 'They'd also gone out and caught about five or six live roos and I was hanging on to one by the tail while they took pictures. There were a few blokes in the bushes nearby holding on to the other roos and they all let them go at the same time and there was roos going everywhere. 'I had no idea what would happen with the photos - no idea at all it would go so wide. It all got right out of proportion.' One memorable night Laurie organised with a bus driver to slow down as he entered Eucla and wake everybody up to look out for the nymph. 'Well, we had Geneice do this moonlight flit across in front of the bus and all the people on the bus saw the nymph,' he said. 'The story spread like wildfire over to Perth after that. We never made a cent out of it, but, and nobody ever got hurt.' There have been many articles written about the Nullarbor Nymph hoax. After an analysis of these and the consideration of an interview with Laurie Scott , one of the kangaroo shooters who started the story, it can be said that this article is a close account of the events as they took place in the early 1970s.