New England's Hairy Giants
One night during 1971 Mr Len Murray and a mate, Tim Hatton, were visiting Len's sister's farm in the wild Hunter Valley bush country south of Singleton NSW.
The men arrived late. Driving up a dirt road to her property, they had to stop to open a cattle gate. Tim got out of the car to open it for Len. As he did so, he was suddenly grabbed from behind by what he later described as "a pungent-smelling, huge manbeast a good 2m tall". This was verified by Len, who shone a torch on the creature. The monster was very powerful and Tim was in fear for his life. Grabbing a rifle from the car, Len fired a shot at the beast. His mate shoved and punched himself free and the men jumped back into the vehicle, as the manbeast vanished into the night.
They both agreed that the creature's hands were a good 30cm in length, and its fingers reached around to Tim's belt buckle. It also had large feet. Tim later had to have a bath to rid himself of the small of the 'manimal'.
In another incident, a local cattleman searching for stray stock on August day in 1979 in the same region, found large hominid footprints 45cm in length going up a mountainside. The man also found large roots torn from the ground in the surrounding forest. These roots were so large as to have required a two-handed creature of considerable strength to have torn them from the ground. The manlike creature had obviously been searching for food. About the area the cattleman detected a strong, almost unbearable rotting-type stench which he at first thought came from some dead decaying animal nearby, but further searching found nothing. He began feeling very uneasy and got out of the area quickly.
This stench is a common feature of Australian [and overseas] manbeast encounters. I have a theory that the smell of these hominids could be caused by the breaking down of enzymes in the creatures bodies, which is based on the breaking down of the cellulose of plants that they eat. They must have organic enzymes or gastric acids to break down the cellulose organic matter, such as plants, bark of trees etc. Be this as it may, we now move on to the Mt Royal range which lies several kilometres south-west from the Allyn Valley, which itself is situated at the southern end of the Barrington Tops, and which has already received notoriety in Chapter Three.
It was in this area back in 1887 that settlers were shocked by the discovery of the headless body of a local bushman. The evidence suggested that he had been caught and his head ripped off, by one of the hairy man-monsters said to roam this area. Westward from the Mt Royal Range lies Muswellbrook, where eerie happenings are frequent in the mountains of the eastern fringe of the town, such as the following:
A Mr Warren King and another man were driving in a Land-rover, checking out trails in the Sandy Hollow area while on a shooting trip. The time was early summer in 1976. Following a particular trail for a few hours they came to a dead end in a valley with a steep sloping rise at one end. They decided to camp here and set up their tent. Around midnight they were woken by the sounds of crunching bracken underfoot, coming from the steep slope. The noise stopped at the edge of the scrub for a short while, then proceeded towards the tent.
The men could make out the shape of a large figure about 3m tall. They had a torch next to them but were afraid to use it.
They had set their tent 10 metres from the Land-rover. The men remained in their tent scared of the beast that now walked around outside, even more so as they realised they had left their rifles in the vehicle. After walking around the tent the mysterious creature then walked away to retreat back up the slope down which it had come. After about five minutes the men dashed for their vehicle, threw their gear into it and drove off.
An interesting sideline to this story is that it was at the above location that the remains of an old campfire was found by the men.
Two years previously a Pasture Protection Board officer, who was checking the country hereabouts, and had camped there overnight, came back to Sandy Hollow Hotel, looking very scared. He never said a thing to the locals at the hotel but telephoned his boss, to inform him that he was quitting his job after an undisclosed, terrifying experience up in the hills. This was a man who had worked in the bush for twenty years.
Yowies are still claimed to roam the hills around the town of Quirindi, which lies south of Tamworth on the southern perimeter of the vast New England ranges bordering the Hunter region to the south. Early settlers of the area lived in fear of these hairy manbeasts around the turn of the 19th century. One night in the year 1890, a Mr Miller was camped outside the town with two horses. As he sat at his campfire the horses became frightened by something coming from out of the bushes. It was at this moment that Mr Miller saw a hairy, man-sized hominid approaching his camp. However, when it saw Mr Miller was aware of it, the 'manbeast' turned and walked off quickly into the scrub.
About this time, further south at Mt Wingen north from Scone, locals said that the mountain was a major 'hairy man' locale, as numerous sightings had been made about the area, and few people dared venture up onto the mountains for fear of these hairy primitives. East of Quirindi lies the town of Nundle, nestling amid hills beneath some of the wildest mountain country of the New England Ranges.
There have been numerous Yowie reports from this district in recent years, and these stories have been going on since the gold mining days of the 19th century. During February 1992, campers claimed that they found a number of larger than man-sized footprints embedded in soil in the Ponderosa forest in the mountains behind Nundle. The local Aboriginal name for manbeasts here was 'Coories', and it was by this name that the early timber cutters of the region knew them well into the early part of the 20th century.
It is pretty wild country behind Nundle township, and there remain vast wilderness areas there where no white man has yet penetrated. During March 1990 several enormous footprints were found in the Ponderosa area by a man while fossicking. These measured 44cm in length by 22cm width across the toes. Then in March 1991 a lone tourist while bushwalking above the gorge near 'Hanging Rock', sighted a tall hairy male creature about 2.6m in height, as it ambled along a bush track in a gully below. He watched the creature with binoculars for a few minutes until it moved out of sight among the trees.
Most of the locals need little convincing of the existence of these primitive, hairy hominids in the wilderness around them and have many personal experiences to relate, such as the following:
George Partridge, now about 60 years old, and a personal friend of this author, often talks to me of his own "close encounter" with the 'hairy man' or 'Nundle Giant' as 'he' is better known to the locals. George, who has lived all his life at Hanging Rock village, the little community perched high above Nundle township, and nestled amid surrounding forest-covered mountains, has shown me the exact location, where in 1948, when he was about 8 years old, he saw a sight that he is hardly likely to ever forget.
"One afternoon, a young mate and I decided to go and pick some wild cherries in the forest over at Mt Pleasant, in a valley forming part of the mountain." "We took a galvanised tin bucket. We were working our way down a steep gully. However, before we reached the bottom where the cherries grew, we were stopped in our tracks when we saw, about 100 yards below us, this hairy [reddish] human-like creature, a good 7-8ft [2.1-2.4m] tall - the height of the cherry trees - standing there with his arms raised picking the cherries."
"Actually we wondered if 'he' wasn't some kind of large bear." "We decided not to wait around to find out and bolted back up the mountainside the way we had come, dropping the bucket as we did. We were at least two and a half miles from home and were exhausted by the time we reached my place". "My parents laughed when I told them of the "big hairy bear" we had seen, 'Ah, there's no bears in Australia', my mum said". "A few days later my dad [George Steven Partridge] went down to the spot and retrieved the bucket, but saw nothing".
The Hanging Rock region was alive with miners during the mid-19th century following the discovery of big gold deposits in the nearby Nundle/Peel River area, and it was not long before they learnt of, or saw Yowies while searching lonely forest-covered gullies for signs of the 'yellow metal'. Aborigines of this region warned the prospectors and early settlers not to venture about this area alone or unarmed, otherwise they might be attacked by 'hairy men' or 'Coories who had inhabited the ranges hereabouts since before the appearance of the first tribespeople. The Coories were cannibalistic also, and made stone tools and fire, and were either normal human-height or sometimes a bit taller.
They also warned the settlers of other, much larger "great hairy men" the Goolagahs, the stone tool-making "giant hairy ones" who would kill and eat anyone they caught in the mountains. Primitive hominids have certainly inhabited this district from very early times [see Chapter Four], as shown by the fossilised hand recovered at Nundle in 1971.
I quote an article of "The Central Coast Express" of Wednesday 21st April that year:
Fossilised Hand found at Nundle.
Prospective members of the Central Coast Lapidary Club,
Pat and Bob Morris whilst holidaying at Nundle over the
Easter break, discovered what appears to be a fossilised hand
The report was featured on television and radio news
programs and aroused great interest amongst the visitors to
Nundle, including members of the C.C.L.C. - as it appears
there is a similarity in the specimen to a human or ape-like hand,
and the find could be of great scientific value.....
The 'Nundle Giants' created considerable fear among many of the inhabitants of the outlying farms and timber mills in the old days, and still do among some people today, especially once darkness falls and these manbeasts emerge from their lairs to roam the forests and farmlands, disturbing stock, and leaving their tell-tale large footprints in the mud of waterholes and creek banks.
The New England range is a region of mystery. Where cattle and sheep, and even some humans have vanished mysteriously. Stock found dead and mutilated,, their necks broken, and their butchered and partially eaten remains dragged across paddocks into the scrub, the crude stone tools of the culprits left at the scene. is a region of mystery. Where cattle and sheep, and even some humans have vanished mysteriously.
The 'hairy man' of New England is undoubtedly, the great unsolved mystery, overshadowing the widely scattered farming communities amid the vast wilds of the surrounding mountain ranges. It concerns the mass of reports of sightings of these man-ape creatures, and discoveries of their sometimes massive footprints on remote properties. By day the open farmlands appear quite unremarkable , but after sundown an inky blackness covers the hills and mountains, and residents feel uneasy venturing out of their homes; for many recall the old tales, that it is at this time that the hairy manbeasts emerge from their remote lairs to roam the countryside.