An urban legend is a sacred tale, spread by word of mouth, telling of the many mysteries that lie within the concrete paradise that is our world. And as for muck up day? The greatest urban legend of them all. Muck up day antics are kind that are rarely seen but often heard. Think ‘putting superglue in all the school locks’, ‘carrying your teacher’s mini into a pit surrounded by stairs’, ‘letting loose a few pigs’ or ‘planting a fully grown tree in the middle of the oval’. These stories are circulated all around the country as a source of national amusement, amazement or if you’re a principal- fear. Luckily for you, we’ve collected the craziest, most scandalous and bizarre muck up day legends, soon to be revealed right here.

We’ve all heard of one. The most epic, daring, border-line crazy Muck up Day story that makes us question whether the tale actually happened. These urban legends, told over and over again by word- of- mouth, grow and spread to become even more awe-inspiring and mythical. The charm of these legends is not whether they are real or fake, factual or exaggerated, but rather as a bold and astonishing interwoven narrative of the ritual of graduating high- school.

The ‘treasure hunt’ was arguably the tradition that began the war against muck up day, which has now resulted in it being ‘banned’ at most schools, and fondly renamed ‘final day of classes’. A scavenger hunt usually consists of harmlessly completing tasks and gathering objects according to a list, but of course, muck-up-day-edition scavenger hunts are a little more than that. Though there are few, the best muck up day recounts we’ve found are from the previous century. So let’s take a communal flashback to the good old days- starting with the 70’s. Get ready.  


The Hunt

The muck up days to ruin all muck up days.

Before the pressure to behave on muck up day, there was 1974, and it started with an all-night scavenger hunt. It started with students being separated into teams, squeezing into their mum’s cars and rolling around an unsuspecting Sydney, looking to check off all the items on the ‘wanted’ list. One brave student and his team, after seeing the beauty of the decorative life buoy of the HMAS Kuttabul Naval establishment, decided to steal it from a wall right next to the guard box. Naturally, it could only get better from here. The same team managed to ‘kidnap’ a DJ from a radio station at 4AM, after explaining they were on their ‘pre-muck up day scavenger hunt’ and let in. Luckily, they were broadcast live and the kidnapping went smoothly due to the full co-operation of the DJ. They brought him (along with the buoy) back to their school, which was already crawling with police. Another group had scaled the roof of Government House and stolen the Australian flag, resulting in a complete re-examination of Government House security. This was the start of the long tradition of muck up day scavenger hunts to plague the general public.  

A small step forward brings us to 1997, where one cohort participated in what could be the most memorable muck up day in Australian history. Again, it all started with students gathering at dark in teams of 4 or 5 and paying $2.00 (what a bargain) to get a hold of the list of items to be collected on the night-long hunt, with some being leaked beforehand. The $2 would go towards some prize money for the winner or bail, depending on how things went. Armed with alcohol and the motivation of money, mischief and unparalleled glory, the teams set out to get the most marked off their lists in the allocated time.

The following made that list:

  • A street sign with your name 
  • A street sign with a teacher’s name
  • A photo of you streaking outside the Sydney Opera House during the day
  • Plane tickets for that day (domestic and international)
  • Flashing, yellow roadwork signs
  • Lane dividers
  • A park bench
  • A telephone booth 
  • The fish from the library
  • A photo of you in a teacher’s bed (extra points if they’re there with you)
  • A kidnapped kid from the years below
  • Or, for an instant win: A live cow or the bucket on the top of KFC.

The street signs, roadwork lights, telephone booth and fish are confirmed to have been successfully acquired. There were,  of course, other (non-PG-rated) items on the list and bonus points for ‘creativity’. A dead possum was among the spoils brought for this category. The night ended with all the teams meeting in Reid Park under the lights of the stolen roadwork signs and the glowing smiles of a bunch of kids who had just made history. Before the winner could be announced, a different set of lights, namely, police lights, began flashing. As sirens cut through the air they tried to make a run for it, but most of them were caught since there’s only one road in and out of Reid Park. They later concluded that it was probably not the best place to meet up. The incident was reported nationally and internationally, beating John Denver’s death in the headlines for a week. The feat ended in one person getting locked-up while others were merely suspended from their school formal and punished with ‘fines’, community service, countless meetings with the school board and the scorn of ruining of muck up day for everyone graduating after 1997. 


There’s something cinematic about a bunch of school-leavers crawling around the city for the sake of ‘going out with a bang’. So little is known about these treasure hunts, in fact, almost all evidence of it has been removed online. The treasure hunt will remain forever in our hearts. Things will never be the same as it was the turning point leading to the crackdown on all year 12’s and muck up days. So now you know who to blame. 

DISCLAIMER: To make it clear, we are merely documenting the best muck up day stories in the country and we don’t condone damaging private property, underage drinking or stealing cows. We definitely suggest that you stay home on muck up day and study really hard for exams.

So what’s your verdict? Are ye olde muck up day ‘treasure hunts’ false or factual? Or do you think you’ve got a story that’s even more legendary? Share your muck up day urban legend on social media with #mudurbanlegends.