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."
The nearby Megalong Valley covers a considerable territory, stretching from its junction with the Wild Dog Mountains and Cedar Valley to the south, northward to the Kanimbla Valley which ends at the base of the ridge down which Mount Victoria Pass descends. Apart from the farms that dot the area, it is wild country surrounded by dense bushland, particularly toward the southern end of the valley where deep and often impassable gullies and canyons defy all but the hardiest bushwalkers.
The first Europeans to settle this wilderness accepted the tales of Aborigines they had befriended, of hairy manlike monsters, half-man, half something else they could not understand, that roamed the forests. Settlers were warned to stay indoors at night or else these wandering giants might capture them, carry them off into the forests and devour them. These monsters were the yowies-"great hairy men".
In fact, early farmers of the valley often blamed the Aborigines for stealing their vegetables, but the local tribespeople claimed the yowies were responsible, pointing to the distinctive, often larger-than-human footprints left about the vegetable plots by the creatures. These, they pointed out, differed from human footprints in that they displayed an opposable big toe.
The yowies continue to make their presence known in the Megalong and adjoining valleys. One December day in 1978, Mr Steve Delainy was bushwalking in Megalong Valley when, as he worked his way through the dense undergrowth of a forest in the vicinity of "Packsaddlers", he spotted a six-foot-tall, hairy ape-like creature moving among nearby bushes. It was enough for young Steve to turn around and return the way he had come, but at a much faster pace.
During 1976, a camping group of two dozen men and women established camp in the Wild Dog Mountains south-west of Narrow Neck behind "Packsaddlers". Nothing happened during the night, but in the early hours of the morning something strange visited the camp. One of the girls awoke to see "a 2.7-metre-tall, hairy ape-like male creature" examining the camp cooking equipment and other goods. She screamed and the commotion aroused the group. The monster threw down what it was holding and dashed off into the scrub.
Beyond the Wild Dog Mountains lie the Jenolan Ranges and, rising behind, high above them, the vast range of the Kanangra Boyd National Park. It is yet another region steeped in ancient Aboriginal folklore as the home of the "great hairy men". It was about 2.7 metres tall, muscular and hairy, and walked on two legs into the dense scrub without looking back at us." That was how two bushwalkers described a mystery intruder in their camp at dawn one morning in 1982 near Boyd River Crossing, high up in the rugged, forested gorges and mountains that form the Kanangra Boyd National Park.
The early Aborigines hereabouts were not the only ones who took the yowies seriously: the early white settlers living on the fringes certainly did, judging by the many tales that have come out of the region from last century. When questioned by early settlers about the creatures, the Aborigines often insisted that the yowies were terrifying to look upon yet were harmless to man unless provoked or their young endangered, or if anyone decided to stay too long in any location that the creatures had already chosen as 'their' territory.
I have led numerous field expeditions into this vast wilderness and am convinced these 'manimals' still roam these mountains. The following are but some of the many recent stories concerning encounters with the Kanangra man-apes. One night in May 1980 a scout group was driving in a minibus from Jenolan Caves to Kanangra Walls when the weather turned bad. As the bus drove through heavy rain along the Kanangra dirt road, the scoutmaster who was driving was astonished by what he saw on the road.
There ahead of him in the rain, illuminated by the headlights and moving across the road, was a hairy, rain-drenched gorilla-like beast, a full 2.7 metres in height. The man-ape stood in the road as the scoutmaster applied the brakes. But the monster quickly moved off with a stooped and shambling gait into the undergrowth in the darkness. The scouts were alerted in time to get a quick look at the retreating manbeast.
Publicity about their encounter brought forth the tale of another rover scout troupe who, several years before, believed they had found a "yowie lair". They were investigating rock overhangs for signs of animal life in the Jenolan Range not far from the more famous Jenolan Caves when, in a deep gully near the base of the steep Kanangra Boyd mountains and above a creek, they found a bed of soft ferns placed in a rock shelter. Nearby, deeply embedded in creek mud, they found a number of unusually large ape-like footprints.
According to Aborigines, the yowies either wandered about the ranges in ones and twos or in small family groups, sometimes using the cave entrances and rock overhangs in the Jenolan Caves area as lairs long before the coming of the white man or the Aborigines. It is a fact that, while early settlers accepted tales of the yowies at face value, many modem campers tend to take such traditions with a grain of salt-except, of course, those who have experienced 'close encounters' with the 'hairy man'.
For example, about January 1989, two young women and their male companions were camped near Kanangra Creek. While searching the valley floor below the Walls, they came upon a number of larger-than-man-sized footprints in sand. Laughing the tracks off as the work of some joker, they later returned to their camp to find it ransacked, and the same large tracks visible in surrounding soil.
With night coming on they remained at the site, still thinking the tracks and the vandalised camp to have been the work of a joker. However, they were all soon made to feel uneasy. Something seemed to be moving about in the dense scrub close to their camp. Then the unseen intruder began emitting a series of horrifying screams and howls. The terrified group stayed up all night, large tree branches at the ready to protect themselves.
In March 1978, another group-Ted Graham, Peter Collins, Jean Bailey and Betty Nile-were camped below Kanangra Walls while exploring the valley. Walking along a track about 4 pm they saw, 133 metres ahead of them, a long-armed manlike creature, 2.4 metres in height. "It seemed to walk with a stooped gait, its arms moving about as it did so. It stopped, turned and looked in our direction, then moved off," Ted said.
The group spent an uneasy night huddled around their campfire. The next morning they cautiously returned to the spot where they had seen the mystery creature. There on the track and in nearby forest soil they found footprints measuring 50 cm in length by 20 cm width. Their outline displayed the familiar opposable big toe. As already mentioned, Aborigines say the yowies are territorial creatures. While inhabiting an area of forest for food, they will frighten off all other creatures, even others of their own kind from other groups, keeping that area for their own nourishment until they move on in their never-ending migratory wanderings across the ranges.
Click here for Part 10 of Man-Apes of Eastern Australia
Excerpts From Chapter 16 Mysterious Australia 1995 - Rex Gilroy Parts 1-13