Ape-Men in Australia
by Rex Gilroy
Copyright (c) 2001 Rex Gilroy.
This article is composed of extracts from my 2001 Yowie book:
“Giants From the Dreamtime”
-The Yowie in Myth and Reality.
Copyright (c) 2001 Rex Gilroy, Uru Publications.
[Released in March, 2001, click here for Ordering Details]
Yowies in Australia
Man-Apes of Eastern Australia
Excerpts From Chapter 16 Mysterious Australia 1995 - Rex Gilroy Parts 1-13
Click at End of each Article for Parts 2-16
Part 14-16 Is The Updated Version From the 2001 Yowie Book
" Giants From The Dreamtime - The Yowie in Myth & Reality."
Early last century, European settlers' tales of 'hairy man' sightings covered much of central Victoria, where the local Aborigines had another name for the fearsome creatures-"Doolagarl" (similar pronunciation to the southern NSW tribal name "Doolagahl"). Port Phillip District was the name by which Victoria was known prior to 1851. Early settlers once referred to the 'hairy man' of the Port Phillip District. They were huge beasts, said to roam the countryside beyond old Melbourne. Both settlers and Aborigines kept clear of them.
It was said about this time that people went missing along some of the old bush tracks. Several miners on their way to a gold claim saw a horseman ahead of them suddenly snatched from his mount by a huge, hairy 'man-ape' that dashed from out of tree cover. About this time, Tasmania was having its own problems with the hairy man, for whom the former Tasmanian Aborigines had several different names such as "Makoron Koro ("hairy man") and "Booang Koro" ("hairy giant of the forest, also known as the "Abominable Man").
High mountain plateaus and lakes mostly dominate the interior of Tasmania, the vast forests remaining largely impenetrable. Cradle Valley is one area of early sightings still talked about by locals. It was here in the 1860s that a group of explorers were terrified one night at their campfire by a thunderous roar that came from out of the depths of the forest.
Aborigines with whom they later spoke told them they had heard the cries of the Makoron Koro, a giant manlike beast capable of killing anyone who chanced to cross his path or invade his territory. A whole population of the creatures was supposed to inhabit the region. According to the tribespeople, these hominids wandered the mountains either alone or in pairs, but often in family groups. The males were very powerful, muscular and hairy, whereas the females had less hair than the males and were a little smaller but had long, pendulous breasts. Sightings in the Cradle Valley continue to the present day.
Turning to Australia's western half, there were literally dozens of names for the 'hairy man' among the many Aboriginal tribes, including "Tjangara" (South Australia), Jinka" (Western Australia), and "Pankalanka" (Northern Territory).
Back in 1898, a Mr Jack Petheridge was one of a party of graziers in search of good pasture lands beyond Broome in the 'top end' of Western Australia on the fringe of the wild north-west Kimberley region. Penetrating inland across the Fitzroy River, they entered the Oscar Range country. Jack was 25 years old at the time and a good shot with a rifle, supplying the group with kangaroo meat during the expedition. What follows is from Jack's own diary, still preserved by descendants now living in Perth.
"My companions and I had been out from Broome for two months, and as we were low on food again I went out one day to shoot more game. I approached a stand of trees and dense shrubbery. When it was but 30 yards distant, I heard rustling among the foliage. "Then, to my horror, an enormous ape of the gorilla family emerged into view, fully 14 feet in height. His snarling mouth displayed large teeth and his eyes were deeply set within thick eyebrows. His forehead sloped back, and long thick reddish-brown hair trailed from his head which was sunk into the shoulders, giving him a stooped gait.
I observed his large genitals and his strong muscular body and arms which appeared much longer than a normal man's. His hands and fingers were very large and he gripped a high tree-branch with his left hand as he stood looking menacingly at me. "The man-ape began advancing toward me and it was then that I fired a shot at the brute's chest. He screamed and clutched his chest but kept coming, so I fired again-a fatal shot at his head-and brought him down only feet from me. The man-ape was covered over much of his body in thick reddish-brown hair and had very large feet with an opposable big toe.
I ran back to camp to tell my disbelieving companions but, after they saw the body, the first thought was how many more of these gorillas were thereabouts. But the creature's great height and bulk was much more than any ordinary gorilla to our knowledge and, anyway, what were such animals doing in Australia?" The men left this "gorilla" lying there and abandoned the region to head for home. Jack later returned to the area with a naturalist, but, by then, months had passed and they could find no trace of the animal's bones.
There are many historical accounts preserved across Australia, all of which demonstrate that our pioneers took the existence of the 'hairy men' very seriously. But what of the far older traditions of our Aboriginal people? They had of course known of the 'hairy man' for untold thousands of years before European arrival on this continent. Indeed, they claim the Yowie/Doolagahl, etc., like the other giant races mentioned in the previous chapter, had existed here long before the appearance of the first Aborigines!
The Aborigines Australia-wide recognised two types of giant hairy-man being: the more ape-like yowies who were both herbivorous and carnivorous but who did not make stone tools or fire; and the giant tool-making hominids, of which it appears there were more than one type, as some knew the use of fire. As I have said, the early Aborigines venerated the yowies as very sacred creatures, usually not to be harmed. There were, however, exceptions whenever the hairy men became a nuisance, as in the case of the "Turramulli" giants of Cape York in Queensland's far north.
Hereabouts the Yalanji and other tribes recognised two forms of hairy man-the "Turramulli" and the "lmjim". The Imjim were a much smaller man-beast answering to the general description of the yowie, whereas the Turramulli giants appear to have been much closer to the general appearance of the Gigantopithecus. According to the Yalanji people, although the Imjim were big and strong hairy creatures, they were nowhere near the height and strength of the Turramulli. Yalanji elders say that, while the Imjim were from 2 to 2.3 metres tall, the Turramulli giants were a good three metres in height and very ferocious.
Quinkin Mountain, situated deep in the Cape York interior, was, they said, one lair of the Turramulli monsters, and the Aborigines kept clear of the region as much as possible. The Turramulli giants used to emerge in groups from the mountain to forage for food on the surrounding plain. They were even known to chase Aboriginal hunting parties from their 'kills' and feed upon them.
Eventually, however, the Yalanji people banded together and determined to wipe out the Turramulli monsters. They fell upon the monsters in several battles, spearing them to death. Some were said to have survived, retreating further into the mountain country where to this day, say the Yalanji, they may still live. There are remote areas of the Cape York region that Aborigines will not enter or remain in for too long for fear the Turramulli will capture and eat them!
Aborigines of Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which was formerly joined to nearby Arnhem Land during the last ice age, preserve traditions of another Gigantopithecus- type monster similar to Turramulli. This giant was known as "Gurumuka". The Gurumukas were described as a race of up to three-metre-tall, powerfully built, hairy male and female creatures with big teeth. They were omnivorous in their eating habits, so ate flesh. They also ate Aborigines, and were most active at night-and heaven help any Aborigine caught by one of these prowling cannibal giants! Gradually, however, the Groote Eylandt Aborigines summoned up the courage to stand up to the Gurumukas, eventually killing them off.
Click here for Part 3 of Man-Apes of Eastern Australia
Excerpts From Chapter 16 Mysterious Australia 1995 - Rex Gilroy Parts 1-13