Leaving radio operators Privates Dave Brieley and Dave Oliver to man the base camp radio, we began our preliminary search at 2 pm, moving off in two groups down the Cedar Valley side of the 'Saddle', to explore down two gullies separated about a quarter of a mile apart and which drip down into Cedar Creek, a wild, almost inaccessible area.
The plan called for the establishment of a secret base camp in a remote gully near the 'Saddle' between the ruined Castle and the western side of Mt Solitary, placing us between Jamieson and Cedar Valleys. From here the search for evidence would be divided between two groups [unless a third became necessary], one led by myself, the other by Sergeant Peter May. The expedition began on the morning of Saturday 13th October, when our party was driven out by army trucks to our 'jump-off' point at the Golden Stairs, Narrow Neck. After a lengthy march out to the Ruined Castle, we established our base camp above a densely wooded gully just below the 'Saddle', between Ruined Castle and Mt Solitary on the Jamieson Valley side as planned.
Leaving radio operators Privates Dave Brieley and Dave Oliver to man the base camp radio, we began our preliminary search at 2 pm, moving off in two groups down the Cedar Valley side of the 'Saddle', to explore down two gullies separated about a quarter of a mile apart and which drip down into Cedar Creek, a wild, almost inaccessible area. As luck would have it, I led my group along the slope overlooking Cedar Creek extending south. The ruggedness of this area defeated us, and we decided to climb back up the steep slope, which eventually brought us, through dense gum forest, to the top of a ridge above another gully, dropping down on the southern side of Mt solitary.
It was a windy day as we forced ourselves through the dense undergrowth of shrubbery and gums. Then, suddenly, here embedded in the forest soil we found a number of large, indistinct man-like footprints, consisting of two sets of tracks, about a dozen each, separated 16.2 m apart extending down the gully in the direction of Cedar Creek. Although it had not rained for about three weeks, and the prints had been weathered by wind and dry conditions, it was still possible to measure them. They measured up to 50 cm in length by 38 cm in width across the toes. Even allowing for size distortion in the originally moist soil, the tracks were quite large and obviously not those of any normal human.
The time of our discovery was 4.30 pm, and while the other search party was radioed to join us I photographed the tracks, which due to the shadowy conditions of the forest and their weathered condition, was unsuccessful. Further eastward up the slope amid trees the soldiers came upon weathered remains of several more, much smaller man-like footprints. These measured 46 cm long by 23 cm wide at the toes. [The next day I made a plaster cast of the best preserved specimen of these smaller tracks].
This foot impression measured 42 cm in length by 23.5cm wide across the toes, 20.5cm at mid-foot and 12cm across the heel. Because the impression had been made on sloping ground, the heel impression was 3.5cm deep while the toes were deeply impressed to a depth of 7.5cm.
We estimated that the hominid [surely a male] who had left this set of footprints would have stood about 9ft [2.75m] in height.
On the strength of these three sets of footprints, it appeared to us that three giant hominid creatures had been present hereabouts only three weeks prior to our arrival.
Fading light forced us to return to camp. Following another, though fruitless search for further evidence in the Cedar Valley area the following day, our two groups returned once more to base camp, where the soldiers received radio orders to abandon the expedition the next day.
Any disappointments were however to be overshadowed by the eerie events that were to unfold that last night at base camp.
After tea the soldiers all retired to their tents, leaving myself, Wally Path and Greg Diamond to talk around the campfire. Nearby was our camera equipment, which included an infra-red camera of Greg's.
Time was 11.30 pm, when our attention was drawn to strange sounds emanating from about 50 m away, in the densely wooded gully situated on the eastern side of our camp. The sounds were of something walking, breaking twigs underfoot.
Flashing a spotlight into the gully we saw nothing. By this time the soldiers were aroused and for a time periodically flashed torches about the gully, before once more retiring to their tents.
The sounds in the gully had, however, encouraged myself, Wally and Greg to remain awake, keeping a silent vigil for the unseen visitor.
At 2..22 am the moon rose above the valley, visible among the surrounding tall gums. It was about this time that we spotted, in the moonlight, a tall, shadowy figure moving among the trees above the gully, from north to south about 16.2 m away from us, breaking twigs as it walked quietly in the darkness. [We later estimated the figure to be somewhere between 2.3 and 2.6 m in height.] At this point, as I quietly reached for my camera, Greg Diamond in a panic, [and no doubt after a million dollar photograph!], rushed toward where the mystery figure had been seen, wildly shooting flash pictures in every direction, his noise enough to make the figure retreat back down into the gully for we did not see or hear it again. Needless to say, Greg's rash action did not result in even one Yowie photograph!
This time the soldiers were all aroused and for the remaining hours of darkness everyone spent an uneasy night. A search at first light failed to find any evidence of the mystery intruder. By the time our expedition had returned to Katoomba that afternoon, the news had been flashed Australia-wide that it was a Yowie that had visited our camp.
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