and Pgymies of Australi's 'Top End'
The Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory have preserved a variety of giant, and smaller hominid races in their ancient folklore.
There were, for example, the Numbakulla giants, a tool-making people that roamed throughout Central Australia, sharing the landscape with those fearsome beasts, the Pankalanka.
They preserve traditions of the arrival from Indonesia of the Luma-Luma and Lainjung giants. These and all the other 'Megastralian' inhabitants of ice-age Australia form, I believe, the richest store of giant hominid traditions preserved anywhere in the world.
The Arnhem Land tribespeople believe a number of spirit beings inhabit the forest, swamps and mountain caves, but they are not necessarily mythical, but creatures which terrified the Aborigines in ages past, creatures different from themselves and far more primitive; giant hominids, pygmies, ape-men reminiscent of Java Man [Homo erectus], and the Garkains.
The Garkains kept to themselves, inhabiting caves and rock shelters upon the high plateaus. They wandered the swamps, hiding in the rushes where they fed upon water-lilies, and searching the stringy-bark forests for insectivorous food.
These creatures, say local Aborigines, were relatives of the more ape-like 'hairy people' identified as Yowies throughout eastern Australia. Primarily vegetarian in eating habits, the Garkains were, or still are, said to cause great problems for the Aborigines, attacking them whenever they were cornered, or of tribespeople encroached upon their habitats. The Garkain hairy people do not know how to make fire and have no tools nor weapons. They have to catch any living creatures with their bare hands. They are big, powerful beings with big feet.
They are dumb, stupid creatures and would attack Aboriginal camps hurling rocks at them. Aborigines believe that many Garkains still inhabit the Liverpool River region, and that despite Aboriginal slaughters of these hairy monsters together with their women and children in the past in Arnhem Land and the Gulf country, many are believed to still inhabit those regions.
Aborigines of the Gulf Country continue to warn travellers to beware of another hairy, half-human, half ape-like, plant-eating race reminiscent of the eastern Australian ape-like form of Yowie. These are the Alcheringas and the Aborigines say they have wandered a wide area of the Northern Territory, from the "red centre" to the Gulf country since the Dreamtime.
The Urabunna and other Aboriginal tribes from Central Australia to the Gulf country describes these monster hominids as having large heads with eyes set deep within thick, projecting eyebrows, and sloping foreheads. They walk about upon two legs with a stooped posture, and have very large feet with big toes. Their arms are longer than those of a normal human, with large hands and fingers reaching down to the knees.
These monsters would attack and kill any Aborigines that strayed into their domain, and they also attacked camps on occasions in numbers, hurling rocks and shrieking at the tribespeople, chasing them away.
The Aborigines fought back against the Alcheringa beings in the old times, and although they were able to kill many of them, they say that the Alcheringas still survive in many widely-scattered regions of 'The Territory'. As has been revealed throughout this book, giant hominids of more than one race roamed the land, and in some remote places, if some modern-day claims are to be accepted, they still do.
Side by side with the giants there also dwelt the 'little hairy people'.
Known in many parts of the Gulf country across into Arnhem Land and the Kimberley as the 'Jim Jim', the "little hairy people" are often confused with the Mimi, the fairy fold or stick people that live in caverns, and who emerge at night to drag unwary Aborigines down into their underground world to devour them!
The "little hairy people" gave their name to Jim Jim Falls where, I was informed by noted explorer Allan Robinson in 1987, the pygmy folk are believed to inhabit the territory above the falls, situated on the South Alligator River 180 miles south-east of Darwin, in Kakadoo National Park.
Old stories of pygmy-size natives inhabiting the forests of Australia's 'Top End' date from pioneer days. And it appears, these Negrito-type people are not confined to dense forest-covered mountain country. They have been claimed seen for years in the open dry regions of the interior.
Even before a party of explorers reported the existence of a tribe of pygmy-size natives in the 'Ruined City' of Arnhem Land [a natural geological formation] in the 1940's, other explorers claimed to have met up with a tribe of 'pygmies' in the McKay Ranges of Western Australia around 1930.
South-east of Alive Springs and east of Ayers Rock stands Mt Conner, home [according to the Aborigines] of the Mimi people, a 4ft [1.2m] tall pygmy-size race.
One night during May 1977 a lone fossicker, Peter Fitzgerald, was camped near here next to a waterhole beside his 4-wheel drive vehicle, when he had an unexpected visitor to his campfire. "She was stark naked, 4ft tall, young with nubile breasts, and had little hair at all on her body but for the shoulder-length reddish hair of her head. She just stood next to some bushes observing me some yards away."
"I tried enticing her to the campfire with some bread I cut from a loaf, but she would not approach any closer. Then I threw it to her and she dashed forward, grabbed it, put it to her mouth, then proceeded to eat it."
"Then she turned her head to look away, in the direction of rustling sounds coming from nearby bushes. I realised she was not alone. She then ran off into the darkness. I heard the sounds of more than two other creatures running off with her." "Shaken, I spent the rest of the night inside my vehicle. Next morning I counted six sets of child-size human footprints in the sand around my camp. I remained here for most of the day before heading off, and although I saw no more of the little female or her companions, I more than a few times had the feeling I was being watched, as I fossicked about in a nearby creek."
According to a local Aboriginal, Barney Cameron: "These little people live in fear of the Pankalanka [also known as the Pungalunga] giants. These Pankalanka people are really terrifying. They use big wooden or stone tools and make fire, with which they roast any Aborigines they catch. They eat white people too if they get them. They are like the Dinagabbie further west and both these people are giants up to two or three times the height and weight of any Aborigine or white man."
"It is eerie country out there at night. Aboriginal people keep clear of certain areas as we know the little hairy Mimi lurk in wait for unwary travellers," said Barney.
Europeans don't generally take Aboriginal 'bush yarns' of this sort seriously unless, of course, they have such encounters themselves.
Such was the case of Bill Manning and Robert Littlemore in 1980:
Bill informed me in an interview in 1983, that he and his mate were camped in the Macdonnell Ranges on the Todd River, in sparse scrub one week while fossicking for minerals. Bill takes up the story: "We were bedding down for the night on the ground in our sleeping bags, beside our fire on this particular night, when from out of the scrub we were suddenly attacked by half a dozen little blacks with wooden clubs, who proceeded to beat us as we struggled from our sleeping bags."
"We had to grab rocks and wooden stakes with which to fight them off all the while as they screamed and shouted at us, lashing out at us all the time."
"Robert grabbed for a rifle and let fly two shots, wounding one of the blacks in the leg, at which they all dashed away into the scrub, the sounded one screaming in pain. We got out of the place pretty fast after that."
"We happened to tell our story to an old tribal elder at Alice Springs some months later."
"You fellas were trespassing on their territory, that's why they attacked you. Them little fellas and their families keep to themselves in their own country," he told us.