Man-Apes of the Blue Mountains
The vast expanses of
the Blue Mountains, where waterfalls over mighty cliffs plunge deep into the
gloomy depths of forests, beneath whose mantle lies a dim twilight where sunlight
never falls, amid moss-covered rocks, ferns and tangles of vines, in a rainforest
world seldom if ever seen by modern humans, is a land of many mysteries.
Yet of all these mysteries, there is one in particular which has since early
European settlement times been the subject of endless speculation, the Yowie
or 'hairy man' of the Blue Mountains.
The early settlers learnt of many mysterious monsters from the tribespeople,
but none created as much fear among the natives as the Yowie, or 'hairy man',
which they said, were fearsome man-like beasts that walked upon two legs and
were very hairy and muscular. The Aborigines, and also lonely settlers, feared
the cries of the Yowie which came from the forest depths at night - loud moans
and wailing or sometimes terrifying screeching sounds and loud grunting.
The Aborigines described the Yowies' diet as consisting of vegetable matter,
such as certain plants, roots, berries, leaves and barks. They were also meat-eaters
and cannibalistic, eating any Aborigine or settler unfortunate enough to be
caught by one of these monsters.
Once again, we see practically identical descriptions to those recorded elsewhere
across Australia; observations made by Aborigines over a vast period of time
covering untold thousands of years. As mentioned earlier, in Chapter Two,
European settlers first became aware of the Yowie on the Blue Mountains in
the early years following the first successful expedition across this range,
by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson , and the subsequent arrival of settlers
who established farms on the western side of the mountains.
Early Katoomba residents during the 19th century claimed "hairy men and
women" were to be seen frequenting the forests beyond the town, or in
the Jamieson and Megalong Valleys, where they foraged for berries and other
plants, or hunted game moving about singularly or in small family groups.
Since those early times the Yowie has become an integral part of Blue Mountains
To quote from "The Illustrated Sydney News".
October 3rd, 1889:
Talking of Lindon, which is situated some six miles from Springwood, reminds
us that it has attained of late years considerable notoriety as the reputed
haunt of a 'Great What is it?' in the shape of - laugh not, gentle reader
- a hairy man!
Germany has its legendary lore.
Why should not the Blue
Let us entitle it The Legend of Lindon.
The Grisly Details.
Once upon a time about three years
ago, or thereabouts, the
the peaceful little village of Lindon was shaken to its centres
by the report that a monstrous and mysterious apparition
had appeared to a lady, the wife of the caretaker of Sir Henry
Parkes' property at Faulconbridge.
It seems that she was in the act
of gathering a few sticks
when a commotion amongst the fowls attracted her attention,
and on looking up, before her stood a Thing about seven
The black hair growing on its head
trailed weirdly to the
ground and its eyeballs were surrounded by a yellow rim.
It was - the hairy man!! [orchestra,
pizzicato and bluefire].
Now one would suppose that the
reflected glory from so
great a man as Sir Henry would have lent the lady courage
to face the monster of the yellow-rimmed eyeballs and
request its name and address, but no, she just dropped her
sticks and skinned out of that, giving utterance to piercing
Her husband, on learning that a
'hairy man' was in the back
yard, sailed forth with his gun to put daylight through him,
but he of the flowing locks, in order to avoid an unsought -
for publicity, had disappeared, taking several of the fowls
with him to soothe his lonely hours.
But, and this was imparted to us
with great solemnity, he
left a track three inches deep behind him!
When a fowl, or series of fowls
during the night, people of Lindon wisper with bated breath -
The hairy man!
Parties who have seen his tracks
institute search parties for
his discovery. Mr Cummins, of the Royal Hotel, Springwood
offers fifty pounds for him, in order to fasten him up in a hen
coop and exhibit him to an admiring public, or sell him as an
advertisement to a hair-restorative company.
Down in the gloomy depths of the
gorges, where vines are
clinging to the rocks that have survived the ages; in that dim
twighlight where the sunlight never falls; beneath the awful
precipices that echo with everlasting clangour the ceaseless
thunder of the cataract - keep your weather eye lifting for
the hairy man!
It is a sweet little place is Springwood,
and they believe this
delightful yarn. So they do all round the neighbourhood. Why,
even the guard that took us to Lawson in the van poured into
our ear the legend of the hairy man, and what made the tale
doubly affecting was the fact that the narrator had partaken
freely of the succulent onion.
Yet early journalistic
scepticism such as the above failed to have any effect upon the majority of
the inhabitants, who from Lapstone to Lithgow accepted the existence of the
"hairy men" of the Blue Mountains without question. There were too
many sightings made by bushwalkers and isolated property owners; far too many
footprints of the creatures found in remote valleys; and far too many Aboriginal
traditions of these hairy giants, for the existence of the Yowie to be dismissed
out of hand.
It was in a deep forested fern-covered gully east of Bullaburra one day in
1905, that a Sydney botanist, Mr C. E. Peel, was exploring for specimens,
when he caught sight of a 5 ft tall, hairy, ape-like female creature grubbing
for roots on the forest floor. Mr Peel kept quiet, hidden among ferns watching
her every move.
He watched as she fed upon young plant shoots and roots, then she moved on,
clambering over rocks. He followed her at a safe distance as the strange female
moved on two legs deeper into the forest. However, she moved too fast for
him and he soon lost sight of her.