Hairy Happenings in Western NSW
Along the Macquarie River some 70 kilometres by road from Bathurst there is a large, deep waterhole in the river known as Johnson's Hole. There are many other waterholes along this river, some of them upwards of a kilometre or more in length, while others have become silted up over the years. West of Johnson's Hole there is a mass of immense rocks known as "The Granites", among which are a number of caverns.
Johnson's waterhole is situated at the far end of a hill that extends to The Granites. There is a fault in the side of this hill, caused by an ancient landslide, which gives the bluff its peculiar appearance. This geological feature has for generations been known as the "Yowie track", for a Yowie's lair was said by old settlers to be in The Granites, and every evening it was supposed to make its way along a track to the bluff to plunge into the waterhole below.
The Aborigines avoided the locality, and also many whites as well. No none would camp near the waterhole at night, nor could horses or cattle be made to go near the place. At the height of the gold rush days in the 19th century, many miners and prospectors frequented the river here by day, and most of them feared the Yowie, and certainly, no one went about the area unarmed. Those who had dared to venture near the waterhole at night, reported hearing some very peculiar noises, accompanied with the splashing of water, coming from the centre of the deepest part of the waterhole near a large rock.
During the year 1887 a gold miner, who was also a well respected resident of Hill End, while working near The Granites stated that, as he was passing by the hole at daybreak one morning, he heard a loud cry. Looking up where the rock was he saw a large, dark man-like form standing upon the rock. Seeing him, the hominid jumped from the rock into the water and disappeared, as the miner beat a hasty retreat back the way he had come.
The Hill End district still remains a notorious region for modern-day Yowie reports, as will be demonstrated further on. Today Johnson's Hole still retains its eerie, uneasy feeling. Weird cries have been heard at night in the surrounding area, and large, man-ape like footprints claimed found in soil near the river from time to time.
One evening, around dusk, in 1990 a young Sydney couple on a camping trip, decided to stay overnight near the hole. They knew nothing about its reputation. During the night, something walked up to their small, two-man tent, and began tearing it from the ground. As the girl screamed, and her male companion fought his way out of the tent, he felt himself grappling with a dark hairy and putrid-smelling form that quickly broke off the attack and dashed off into the darkness
Miss M Hodge of Bathurst related an experience of her own to this author in December 1979 which concerned the Johnson's Hole area. When a little girl in 1900, Miss Hodge lived on her parent's property, which stood opposite the 'Hole'. Aborigines thereabouts never swam in the Hole and even today horses and dogs also will not remain near the Hole at night. Miss Hodge said she once saw a horseman who had been mustering sheep, ride all the way out of the hills "white as a sheet". He told her parents that he had seen a large 'baboon-like' man, a giant which had terrorised him. Miss Hodge herself saw a man-sized black-haired Yowie, sitting under a rock near her home one day. Old timers often discussed the possibility that the creatures might inhabit caves that lie in the hill surrounding the Hill End township.
One day in 1924, a Mr David Squires was kangaroo shooting in an area of open to thickly timbered country west of Dubbo. Having shot one big 'roo' on this particular afternoon, he was in the process of skinning it when, suddenly he became aware that he was not alone. Glancing up he was shocked to see, standing 10 metres away beside a tree, and with one huge hand resting upon it, a two legged male creature a good 2.6 m in height. At first he thought it must be someone who had "gone wild when he was younger", but the hominid's height soon dispelled that notion.
The manbeast appeared to be in splendid physical condition, and was covered with a thick coating of bluish-grey, coarse-looking curly hair about 8cm long. The body, arms, legs, hands and feet were in proportion to its height, as were the neck and head. Recovering his senses, Mr Squires slowly reached for his rifle, checked that it was loaded and the magazine full, and placing it beside him resumed skinning the 'roo'. "I finished that job with one eye while the other was watching the Big Bloke", he said later.
The creature had so far made no move nor sound, and continued watching Mr Squires for the next 10 minutes, staring inquisitively at him with large, grey-blue eyes, which he noticed, were set in facial features half-human, half-apelike. Then reaching up the tree trunk as far as it could, it scratched it in several places, before turning and walking slowly off into the scrub. "I was tempted to drop it with the rifle just to see if I, or someone else could tell what it actually was; but I refrained from doing so, when I recalled how easily it could have killed me without a chance to defend myself", he told friends later.
The next day, together with police, black trackers and other bushmen, he returned to the scene to try and track it. Yet although the men searched an area of a couple of kilometres of the surrounding bushland, they found nothing, mainly because heavy rain the previous night had completely erased any signs of the mystery manbeast. When measured with a carpenter's tape, the distance from ground level to the top of the highest scratches made in the tree trunk by the creature, was a full 4.3 metres!
In the midwinter of 1964, two pig shooters, Eric Rolf and Morris Patton, both of Sydney, went on a weekend camping trip to the Fish River near the town of Oberon, west of the Blue Mountains. In those days the men knew nothing of the hairy man-like creatures that local traditions said, inhabited the surrounding wild mountain ranges. They knew only that it was an area plagued by wild pigs, and they anticipated a good 'kill' that weekend.
They stayed at a cabin situated on Water Supply Road, on the Fish River outside Hampton, which lies east of Oberon, and across the Hartley Valley from Mt Victoria. The area where they stayed is in rugged mountainous terrain. On the first night of their camping trip, Morris, his three cell torch in hand, left Eric alone in the cabin to study platypus living along the river bank. The time was about 9pm on a very dark night, and all the time Morris was gone Eric had a strange feeling that they were not alone. .He was glad when he heard the footsteps of his friend approaching the cabin door.
The door opened, to reveal a terrified-looking Morris, white-faced, gasping out that he had just seen some hairy man-like 'thing' out there in the dark. After he had calmed down, Morris said he wanted to return to the river bank to see if the 'thing' was still there. Eric, not wishing to be left alone decided to accompany him, but they armed themselves with two stout tree limbs for protection before they left. The men were reluctant to use their rifles against what they thought was probably a "wild man".
As they reached the river, Morris flashed his torch about. Standing 30m away on the opposite bank of the river on the edge of thick scrub, they saw the mystery manbeast, a 2.3m tall, man-like, ape-like creature, vary dark-haired, stooped in appearance, with its arms at its side, and very broad shouldered. There was a pungent odour about the area being emitted by the strange hominid. Then, after about 30 seconds, the mystery 'manimal' turned around and ran off into the scrub, making no other sounds but for the breaking of foliage as it ran from the startled campers.
At this Eric and Morris ran back to the cabin. The mysterious manbeast made no other appearances during their stay.
Some time ago Eric Rolf informed me that, over the years he has returned to this area on wild goat shooting trips, and while roaming the bushland has often experienced the feeling that he was being watched by 'something'.