Bob Brydon believes the pungent odour that some people are smelling at the moment could be the Damson Plum tree, which emits an unpleasant smell when in flower.
Bob Brydon believes the pungent odour that some people are smelling at the moment could be the Damson Plum tree, which emits an unpleasant smell when in flower. Scottie Simmonds

Bundaberg's smelly mystery

EACH night about 6.20pm, Kepnock woman Betty Lowis closes all the doors in her house for 25 minutes to escape a terrible smell that wafts across her home.

“It's a horrible, green potato, earthy kind of stink,” she said.

Mrs Lowis has lived in Bundaberg for 40 years - 32 of those in her Kepnock home - and said the smell seemed to appear only during October to December, and only for the past five to six years.

“By 6.45pm it goes,” she said.

“I just can't understand the horrible smell.”

It appears she is not the only person trying to escape the pungent smell, with a number of NewsMail readers sharing their suggestions in the past few days as to the possible cause of the pong.

Marilyn Jarvis had lived at east Bundaberg for the past five years, but has this week moved to North Bundaberg.

Ms Jarvis has been unable to escape the stench despite her move across town.

“It's followed us,” she said. “We swear it's not us.”

She said the biggest concern for her was the fact no one could pinpoint the cause.

“We don't know if it's harmful or if anyone with a medical condition like asthma might be affected.”

Avoca resident Bob Brydon said he lived at Home Hill, in north Queensland, before his move to Bundaberg in 2002.

“When I lived there, I found these trees in the park and when they were in flower they smelt,” he said.

Mr Brydon said the trees, known as a Damson Plum, were called “long dead dog trees” because their stench smelt like a dog that had died some time ago.

He said the trees were located around the town.

“Up north, the smell used to come in the afternoon and used to waft with the breeze,” he said.

Others believe the smell could be cane beetles getting ready to make their debut in December.

But Bundaberg birdwatcher Bill Moorhead, who also takes a keen interest in insects, said he did not think it could be an insect.

While Mr Moorhead said he was no expert, he was not aware of bugs causing a strong smell.

“I've never heard of insects causing a pungent smell by doing what they do normally,” he said.

Bundaberg Regional Council was also unable to shed any light on the matter. The council said it had not received any complaints about the smell and was not investigating its cause.

Do you know the cause of the mystery smell? Leave a comment below.



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