How the early pioneers were able to penetrate this "green hell" was beyond us , yet these hardy settlers had done just that. As early as 1842 they had reached the Carrai Plateau to establish farms now long vanished with the advancing jungle.
It was not long before the settlers began finding strange footprints around the creeks where they took their cattle to drink. That same year children of the settlers were frightened by what they described as a tall, hairy man-like beast, who came towards them from out of nearby scrub one day as they sat playing in a clearing, forcing them to flee for their lives.
A search party was organised soon afterwards, but no trace of the mystery manbeast could be found.
Some days later the strange beast was seen again near cattle and was this time pursued. However, it eluded its pursuers among the trees in the dense jungle.
In 1848 at least two of the mysterious hairy creatures were seen on separate occasions by cattlemen. On the second occasion the cattlemen pursued the beast up a mountainside where they appeared to have it trapped. However, before anyone could shoot it, the manbeast climbed down a cliffside to disappear once again into the forest below.
Hereabouts Paddymelons must number in the thousands, as we were continually trying to dodge them as our two vehicles - George Gray's Landrover and Heather's Torana - drove deeper inland beyond Daisy Plains.
During our investigation on the Carrai Plateau it frequently crossed my mind that university 'experts' [who have never bothered to investigate this area], have attributed the "Yowie myth" of the Carrai to early miners having released pet monkeys hereabouts during the 19th century.
Pretty big monkeys!
Our destination this time was a deserted alluvial gold mining camp, situated on the banks of Middle Creek. Hereabouts the country changes from limestone to granite and from rainforest jungle to dense gumtree forests but still very much the sort of country where, if you wander too far from the roadway, you will most likely never be seen again.
Mr Richard Gilson, who formerly operated a tin mine at Middle Creek, could never get Aborigines to work for him To quote Mr Gilson in an interview I had with him soon after our Carrai search: "The mining camp contained tin huts for living quarters up above the creek".
"The Yowies would often terrorise the men late at night. Although never seen, the creatures would emit loud screams, and one night one of them left scratch marks on the wooden door of one of the huts". "The next morning the workmen discovered a number of 15 inch [38cm] long footprints near the door. Soon the men took to carrying firearms with them whenever they had to go into remote places."
Farmers around Kempsey, especially in the foothills of the Carrai, frequently carry rifles with them while mustering stock in remote areas. They recall only too well incidents that have occurred thereabouts over the years, of hairy manbeasts that have strayed from their mountain lairs onto remote farming properties.
The story is still recalled how in 1965, a husband and wife left their remote foothills farm one morning to shop in Kempsey. Their 15 year old daughter was left behind alone to do housework. She had tidied up about the house and was in the back yard feeding the chickens, when the family dog, chained up near the house, began barking furiously, then cringing, crawled inside its kennel.
The girl suddenly aware that something was behind her, turned dropped the bag of chicken feed she had been holding, and screamed in terror. There, standing several metres from, and towering over her frail 1.8m height, was an enormous hairy manlike beast a good 2.6m tall, and showing a ferocious look in its eyes, which she later recalled, were set deep inside big eyebrows.
Large teeth showed from its snarling mouth, and it had an overpowering odour.
The manbeast moved towards her, but the terrified girl rushed up the back door steps, into the house, slamming and bolting the door as she did so.
For some minutes, she later recalled, the beast paced around the house emitting a loud grunting sound, then all went silent.
She was beside herself with terror when her parents returned a couple of hours later, and although she could describe exactly what she had seen to them and later to police, nobody in authority took any action. No search was organised to attempt to track the mysterious intruder due to the vastness of the nearby wilderness.
We had been unsuccessful in securing any photographic evidence of the elusive Yowies of the Carrai, or finding any fresh footprints. Yet we had obtained a large number of new reports from Kempsey district residents, enough to encourage us to continue investigations here in the future.
Yowie Expedition Page - Click Here
MAN FIGHTS YOWIE - George Gray
Kempsey timber man, George Gray, fought with a Yowie for ten minutes before it let go and abruptly left his cabin back in 1968. It was 4 ft tall covered in bristly grey hair, with deep creases under its humanlike eyes. George Gray wrestled with it on the floor, tried to get an armlock on it but its skin was extremely flappy and loose so that he could feel no muscles.
The creature did not seem angry but appeared to be trying to wake him and get him out the door, and made no sound. It was large in the chest and shoulders, and enormously strong.
Tales of giant hominids on the Carrai Range inland from Kempsey further north are legendary. They have persisted at least since the 1840s and this mysterious, eerie, vast region continues to hold the imagination of relict hominologists to this day.
Made famous during the mid-1970s, partly by the Gilroys reporting eerie encounters with “hairy male and female” beings receiving attention at that time, which included an experience by local timber cutter George Grey [see Chapter Twelve “Giants from the Dreamtime”], other so-called ‘researchers’ hopped on the bandwagon in the wake of our expedition there in April 1977, hoping to ‘cash in’ on our researches by getting some media attention themselves.
It is unfortunate that their antics only gave the sensation-hungry media in Sydney and elsewhere plenty of opportunity for ‘tongue-in-cheek’ reporting of what was for us a serious investigation! Some of the early settlers’ tales of the Carrai and the nearby Bellbrook area are reminiscent of old stories of the “Monster-Men of the Lamington Plateau”, which lies inland from the Queensland Gold Coast side of the New South Wales border, forming part of the Border Ranges.
The Carrai is a vast, virtually impenetrable, rain forest jungle-covered plateau which rises up from the coastal plain west of Kempsey, and which has a history of ‘hairy man’ encounters dating back to early 19th century settlement times. Reports of sightings and fresh footprint finds in that wilderness continue to the present day, from loggers, gemstone hunters, campers and day tourists, who travel the narrow dirt forestry road from the plateau’s base, which is the only access into this eerie forestland.
Accompanying our expedition on the plateau was George Gray, well known local bushman and a man who had had a personal experience with a Yowie. George Gray related to us stories of sightings, of often enormous hairy ape-like [ie Gigantopithecine] beasts thereabouts, made by miners who had worked the tin, copper and gold deposits of the plateau during the 19th century.
George’s own encounter with a Yowie had taken place eight years previously, while he was working at the lonely [and later dismantled] saw-milling settlement of Kookaburra, deep in the Carrai forests some 80 km west of Kempsey.
George could recall every detail of what to him was a fight for his life.
The night, he said, was moonlit and very cold when he climbed into bed in his two bedroom hut. In the other room were his two young sons, Robert and Dennis. Some time around 1am, George was suddenly jolted from his sleep by something weighing on his chest. He woke up to find a creature which he described as being somewhere between and ape and a man.
George grabbed an arm of the strange beast and found it quite greasy. In the 10 minutes that George Gray wrestled with the creature in his room, he was able to get a reasonable description of his assailant. He said, “It was no more that 4ft [2.1m] tall and had a face somewhere between that of any ape and a man, with hair all over its body between 5-6 inches [12.5cm] long and grey in colour”.
The creature began trying to drag George out of the hut in the direction of the back door, the way it had probably first entered the hut. George called to his two sons repeatedly, but the boys were too terrified to help, remaining in their room. Finally George was able to free himself from the clutches of the strange beast, which immediately fled out the back door and into the darkness.
The next morning he told the story to his boss, who then asked George to keep his experience a secret from the rest of the work force, lest the men pack up and leave the camp.
George showed Heather and I the spot where his hut had once stood, which was on a rise overlooking the flat where the sawmill had once stood, and through which the dirt road continues on to the even more isolated Daisy Plains, which besides having once been worked for timber, was and still is used for cattle grazing.
Like the old Kookaburra sawmill site, which the forest will eventually re-claim, Daisy Plains is an open, grassy hillside, with an old abandoned cattle yard and nearby on the roadside, a crumbling deserted farmhouse, all encircled by the encroaching forest. By day both locations possess that eerie feeling that you are being watched from the forest by unseen eyes, but by night it is even more pronounced, and many campers are known to avoid these places.
The entire Carrai possesses this all-pervading eeriness. Here no sun penetrates this green world of vines, swamp and jungle, a land where time seems to stand still.
The full extent of the vastness of the green jungle world fully hit us as we stood on the summit of the hillside of Daisy Plains. Here, looking in every direction across the horizon, there was nothing but mountains, valleys and jungle; a seemingly impenetrable land where any creatures, either still unknown to science or else where any creatures, either still unknown to science, or else long thought extinct could easily survive, hidden from human gaze.