Australian police were forced to use pepper spray to subdue a "Big Red" kangaroo after it attacked a 94-year-old woman in the town of Charleville, Queensland.

The woman, Phyllis Johnson, said the kangaroo attacked her while she hanging her laundry in her backyard on Sunday.

"I thought it was going to kill me," Johnson told the Courier Mail from the hospital where she was being treated for scratches and bruises. "It was taller than me, and it just ploughed through the clothes on the washing line straight for me."

Just before the encounter, Johnson said she saw a blur of red fur. The kangaroo then knocked her to the ground and kicked her. She managed to get to her feet, grab a broom and hit the animal enough to daze it, the Guardian reported.

"She fought it off herself with a bit of help from the family dog," said her son, Rob Johnson, who called the police. The kangaroo had "a bit of a go" at him too, he said.

Police Sergeant Stephen Perkins, who is head of police in Charleville, said the first officer to arrive on the scene was forced to pepper spray the kangaroo to avoid injury.

"The animal jumped away, then saw another officer at the back of the police car and went for that officer - and he also had to deploy his capsicum spray. So the roo had to get sprayed twice," Perkins said. "After that, it hopped away from the scene, but police could still monitor its location - it didn't go too far."

Wildlife rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service trapped the animal. The kangaroo, which is a male, is to be examined by a vet before a decision is made about his future, a government official said.

And before now, Pekins said he had never heard of police using pepper spray against a kangaroo.

"It did subdue the animal and drew its attention away for the officers - so it worked," he said.

Despite her scare, Johnson said she didn't want to see the animal harmed.

"I definitely do not want it killed," she said.

The rampaging kangaroo was later identified as Eddie, a pet orphaned as a joey, who escaped from his neighborhood enclosure Sunday, the Guardian reported.