A man carrying a didgeridoo caused an armed gunman scare at a train station in Australia last Thursday.
For those unaware of the didgeridoo’s existence, it’s a large wooden wind instrument developed by the indigenous people of Australia. If you remember the whole vuvuzela thing from a few years back, a didgeridoo is kinda like that, only larger, more bassy, and far less annoying. The call of the didgeridoo is quite distinctive, but not to everyone’s tastes.
Didgeridoos can be extremely long, although their average length is around 4 feet long--or about the same size as a long hunting rifle. Which someone might mistake it for if the didgeridoo were to be carried around in a black sack.
Wil Austin was on his way to Parliament House in Melbourne to teach an indigenous education workshop last Thursday morning when the train he was on was delayed. Austin had no idea what was going on but patiently waited along with a bunch of other passengers eager to get off the train and not be late for work that morning.
Then the murmurs started. People were saying there was a problem at the station and that someone might have even brought a gun. Austin didn’t look outside the train window but had he done so he would have seen heavily armed police in body armor storming into the station and telling waiting travelers to get out of there.
Austin was late, however, so as soon as the door’s opened he booked it as fast as he could. This, of course, made him stand out in the crowd and caused him to get stopped by the waiting police officers who asked to look in his bag. There they found a didgeridoo and not the rifle they were expecting.
“Everyone was running and I probably looked pretty suspicious, I suppose, just waltzing around and slowly walking out of Flagstaff and I think that’s where police stopped me,” Austin told reporters after the scare. “A few police officers approached me — they kind of chased after me to catch up because I was on my way, but one requested to look in my bag.”
Once officers determined there was no gun, Austin was allowed on his way.
As it turns out, a concerned passenger reported a possible gunman on the train during the morning commute. So soon after the tragedy in New Zealand, perhaps everyone down under is a little on edge.