Imjim & Turramulli, Monster-Men of the Queensland Bush
The rugged eastern
mountain ranges of Queensland, extending from the Lamington Plateau and MacPherson
Range of the south eastern border country all the way up to Australia's northernmost
point, Cape York, still contain many vast regions of inaccessible forest country
seldom, if every visited by man.
It is from these high imposing rainforest-covered peaks and deep valleys that
eerie stories of mysterious hairy man-like giants and pygmy folk have been
emerging since the earliest years of European settlement in the 19th century.
And these traditions are by no means confined to the east coastal and far
northern mountain ranges; for even in modern times people are reporting encounters
with hairy hominid primitives in remote out-of-the-way regions of the central
To the old coastal Aboriginal tribes and also those of the interior, the land
was inhabited by a host of hairy manbeasts. In the far west of the state Aborigines
feared the Pankalanka people, the fire-making giants who delighted in roasting
and eating Aborigines, while the tribes from the Gulf country to the Atherton-Cape
York wilds lived in equal terror of the Turramulli manbeasts, and the slightly
smaller 'neo-giant' Imjim creatures.
Further south to the border ranges of the Lamington and MacPherson country
the tribes believed the forests were inhabited by the 'Wolumbin' and 'Widgee'
giants. To further confuse matters the Cape York Aboriginal people feared
the 'Wirri Wirri', a dwarf race whose men had pointed beards and carried spears
barbed with snakes fangs, one prick from which meant death. There were also
the 'Junjdy'. the "little hairy red men".
Obviously four races are involved.
The features of the Pankalanka people [average 2.6 to 3m in height] tend to
link them to the Bulloo, Goolagah and Jogungs of western and eastern New South
Wales Aboriginal tradition; whereas the Turramulli resemble the Gigantopithecus-like
Jimbra of Western Australia.
The Imjim of far north Qld and Widgee of the southern border country were
a primitive man-ape like race, better known further south as the Yowie.
The little Wirri Wirri and Junjdy creatures were one and the same people,
the Negrito Aborigines of the north Qld rainforests.
The hairy beings with which our Aborigines populated the remote wilds of old
Qld were no mere myths to the early European settlers, who on occasion came
face to face with them, any more than they are to those people who in modern
times, have had the 'meeting of a lifetime' with one of these relict survivors
from the dawn of Man.
In the course of many lengthy field investigations, carried out over a wide
area of Qld by Heather and I, we have gathered a great number of 'hairy man'
reports. The following are but a small portion of these encounters, with "Queensland's
The 'hairy man' has been part of Qld settlers folklore since at least the
In 1964 a Tweed Valley stockman, Richard Adams, was mustering a mob of cattle
on horseback on a steep hillside, on the edge of rainforest, situated at the
foot of the Lamington Plateau cliffs, when the cattle and also his horse suddenly
took fright. It was at this moment that, barely 16m ahead of him, an enormous
muscular, hairy man-like beast appeared on the edge of the forest, menacingly
brandishing a large tree limb.
The beast, whose face Richard later described as being somewhere between human
and ape, stood its ground snarling, as the terrified stockman turned his mount
to gallop off down the slope.
And in the same region, around 1935 residents of an isolated farm were startled
one night by the frantic bellowing of their house cow. Their cattle dog tor
off into the darkness, barking furiously. The dog attacked something, but
suddenly let out an agonising yelp, then all was quiet.
The farmer and one his farmhands went out armed with lanterns and guns. They
found the corner fences down, the cow dead with a broken neck - its head almost
torn off - and the dog crushed against a tree where it had been thrown.
In the distance they could hear something crashing through the bush up the
A search next day failed to explain what had killed the animals. However,
many neighbouring farmers believed it was the work of one of the"Monster
men of the Lamington Plateau".
Aborigines refuse to enter the valleys hereabouts, for fear of these horrible
manbeasts they believe still lurk these, and which they say would kill and
eat anyone that crossed their path.
Over the years people have disappeared without a trace in these wilds. Eerie
cries are often heard at night, terrifying campers.
In March 1990, a Sydney based fossicker, Mr Craig Turner, was exploring a
remote jungle creek in the Numinbah Valley, when he found over a dozen freshly
made hominid footprints in the mud of the bank.
Quickly obtaining casting plaster from a nearby town, he was able to make
casts from three of the footprints. Measuring 40cm in length by 17cm wide
across the toes and 15cm wide at the heel, they were spaced up to 1.5m apart
and were embedded 4cm deep in to mud. The creature who left these footprints
must have stood at least 2.6m tall and weighted around 250 kg.
Of all the manbeast tales from Qld's vast wilderness areas, few are seldom
as terrifying as those concerning the notorious "Monster Men of the Lamington
Plateau"; the wild, rainforest covered volcanic basalt massif rising
1,000 metres above the surrounding countryside, just north of the NSW border
and Tweed Valley below to the south, and the Numinbah Valley and Gold coast
hinterland on its eastern side.
It was due to warnings by the early Aborigines that the pioneers of the region
took to carrying guns at all times when working in remote areas.
A banana farmer, Ken 'Stoney' Thomas, in the Glen Eagles district further
north in 1976, claimed he had a visitation from a female Yowie. The female
hominid emerged around sundown from out of forest on the edge of his farm
as he was finishing work in a paddock. "She was about 1.8m tall, slender built, a little hairy, and long breasts
that might have drooped about 8 or 9 inches [20 to 23cm] . Her forehead was
sloping away from very protruding eyebrows and her face somewhere between
an ape and a human in appearance," said Ken.
Ken retreated to his farmhouse, unsure if the weird female was liable to attack
him. As he and his family remained in the house, the strange 'womanbeast'
wandered around the house and other buildings before returning back into the
Next morning when he searched for signs of the previous night's visitor, he
found a number of bags covering his bananas had been ripped from the trees
and their contents eaten, or scattered along a track, where he found strange
footprints leading up into the wilderness of Owongorella National Park, a
region of steep escarpments and rainforests.
Aborigines of the region believe a sizeable population consisting of small
family groups of hairy 'Widgee' beings still roam over a wide area between
the Mt Tambourine, Lamington., MacPherson and Tweed ranges, southward into
the forests of Lismore and Casino inland from the NSW far north coast. It
is also the domain of the Wolumbin giants.
Evidence of the former presence of these 'megastralian' tool-makers came to
light in 1979, when a farmer near Nimbin, south of Mt Warning, dug up a huge
stone hand-axe on his property. It weighs 15.5kg and is reminiscent of similar
examples unearthed near Bathurst in central western NSW.
The forests surrounding the Mundunjin Power Station in the Lamington district
have been a frequent locale for 'Widgee' sightings for many years. It is a
mist shrouded mountainous region rising 1,700m above sea level, and an eerie
place from which many bushwalkers keep clear. "Bushes shake when it [Widgee] runs through trees in late afternoon.
All wildlife leaves the area when any hairy people are around this place,"
says an Aborigine tale.
The nearby Focal Peak country is seldom visited by Aborigines. It forms part
of the Mt Warning-Tweed ranges and they say, supports a large number of 'Widgee'
[Yowie] and 'Wolumbin creature, which are also known by other names, a we
The Wiangeriburra Aboriginal people, who for thousands of years wandered the
Lamington Plateau, and the surrounding valleys, which included the Kerry,
Tweed and Numinbah and the whole of the Gold Coast hinterland, believed that
their territory was also shared by three other races; the Goomeejungmund tallanbana,
or "Giant hairy men who come out of the swamps and forests", otherwise
known as the Widgee [or Yowie]; the Goommund tallanbana, or "Giant men
who tower over the trees"; and the Tamarramai eejungmund tallanbana,
the Small hairy people who come out of the swamps and trees".