Some of the cast from Lions in the Sand (from left) John Gallagher, Marty Rahardt, Adam Rae, Dylan Arkoshy and Taylor Bailey. Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate.
Some of the cast from Lions in the Sand (from left) John Gallagher, Marty Rahardt, Adam Rae, Dylan Arkoshy and Taylor Bailey. Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate. TREVOR VEALE/ The

The truth of lions in Jetty sand

IT'S HARD to believe - but it's true.

On the night of May 25, 1953, five lions and an elephant escaped from a circus trailer in Coffs Harbour after it was hit by a north bound train.

The elephant died of its injuries, but the lions ran for the sand hills.

On the same night a convent ball was being held at the Coffs Harbour School of Arts Hall; in attendance were Captain Reginald Wunderlich and members of the 13th Battalion.

They set out to search for the lions, and by the next day, had captured them all.

Playwright Kevin Tierney read this story and, perhaps obviously, thought it had enough drama to become a play - Lions in the Sand.

"As well as being a good yarn this story is our story, it's all about where we live, and lots of people still remember the event," Kevin said.

"It was even captured on film by John Gerard for cinesound newsreels and went international."

Lions in the Sand premieres on Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, 7pm, at CHEC's O Block Theatre - tickets are $15/$10, to book, call Kevin on 6654 0465.