A new book from Paul Cropper and Tony Healy. April 2023.
336 pages, illustrations, index, bibliography. Available in softcover, hardback or e-book. Illustrations by “Buck” Buckingham. Cover art by Barry Olive.
Amazon for Australian customers.
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Also available in Australia at Booktopia.
Contact the authors using the contact form.
As many people are now aware, there is a widespread belief among Australian Aboriginal people that huge, shaggy, man-like creatures lurk in the continent’s rugged mountains and deep forests.
The mysterious beings, which have been encountered since time immemorial, are known by many names, including dulagarl, gulaga, jurrawarra, tjangara, noocoonah and wawee. In discussions with outsiders, the term “Hairy Man” is often used.
In the early 1800s, when they began encountering the hulking horrors, British colonists employed terms such as “Australian apes”, “yahoos” or “youries”. Nowadays, they are generally referred to as yowies.
In The Yowie (Anomalist Books, 2006), we presented a great deal of Aboriginal lore plus hundreds of eyewitness reports dating from the early colonial era. We assessed footprint finds, tree damage, yowie “nests” and other physical traces, and revealed seasonal variations in reported yowie activity. The book, in fact, contained everything we then knew about the damnably elusive creatures.
Now, in The Yowie File, we present scores of additional, newly discovered, colonial era reports and bring the Hairy Man saga right up to date with the gripping testimony of dozens of modern era eyewitnesses.
Such reports are the “raw material” researchers need as they attempt to make sense of Australia’s most baffling zoological – or anthropological – mystery.
The book is dedicated to our friend and colleague, Dean Harrison, founder of the AYR. Without his unstinting generosity, The Yowie File would have been a very much slimmer volume. Out of gratitude, and in tribute to the massive amount of fieldwork and research he has done since the 1990s, we have dedicated the book to him. Visit the AYR’s incredible website and Facebook page to find out what’s happening in yowie research today.
We have always particularly valued reports from the colonial (1788-1900) and early modern (1901-1974) eras, when people who encountered the strange creatures were far less likely than contemporary witnesses to have their testimony influenced by something they read.
To our eyes, those older reports are glittering nuggets of pure “cryptozoological gold.”
Lest those long-lost gems become scattered again, we have blended them with all of the pre-1975 reports we knew of prior to 2006 and packaged them, with a minimum of editorial comment, in what we hope will be a handy sourcebook.
By detailing the long history of Hairy Man sightings from the early colonial era onwards, we will finally put paid to the notion that the phenomenon is simply the result of fantasy-prone Australians ape-ing (so to speak) their bigfoot-hunting American cousins.
The following are two good examples of the colonial era reports we value so highly.
April 1843. Mangrove Creek, 12 km west of Gosford, NSW.
From the Sydney Morning Herald, 12 and 19 July 1843:
“We are credibly informed that several parties have been unexpectedly alarmed by the sudden appearance … in the neighbourhood of Mangrove … of a monster, which they designate a Yaa-hoo (from the noise he makes), who has come upon persons when encamping at night and to others in the vicinity of their houses, he is described as being nearly seven feet in height, with feet apparently like human feet, only of enormous size, with his visage turned backwards, and his body covered with apparently a down; he appears to be harmless, never having been known to commit violence, and always utters his uncouth Yaa-hoo.
There are parties who persist in stating that he was close to their house in Mangrove … eye-witnesses whose veracity we have no reason to doubt, is fully borne out by their serious and impressive description …
About three months since, two young people (brother and sister) being left at home in Mangrove Creek about mid-day, hearing a strange noise, and the dogs barking violently, went out, and upon looking in the direction of a myrtle-scrub opposite, to which their attention was directed to the dogs, they observed a dark hairy figure, which, from its height above the scrub, they conjectured to be nearly eight feet. Against this figure the rage of the dogs was directed.”
Being alarmed, [they] ran for a neighbour, who, upon arrival was equally frightened at the strange visage and uncouth sounds of the monster. Shortly after, the dogs made a rush, and the figure went off in an opposite direction; one of the dogs, we should observe, remained away above half an hour, and returned quite exhausted.
December 1871. The Jingera, part of the Gourock Range, south of Captains Flat, NSW.
From The Monaro Mercury, 9 Dec 1871, The Empire, Sydney, 13 Dec 1871 and The Queanbeyan Age, 14 Dec 1871:
“From the fastnesses of the Jingeras, adjacent to or in the district of Monaro, comes the startling intelligence that a “wild man” has been seen in that place.
A little girl, the granddaughter of Mr. Joseph Ward, senior, of Mittagong, asserts that she has met an old man, whose back is bent and body covered with a thick coat of hair, in height (to use the girl’s words), about the same as her grandfather. The strange being in question had nails of a tremendous length on his hands and he seemed desirous of shunning the girl. The main points of the assertion are given with remarkable earnestness by Mr. Ward’s grand-daughter; nothing can shake the simple outlines of her story.
Mr. Kelly, of the Jingeras, … says that he has himself seen the “wild man” … there is a tradition among the settlers of this place that the mysterious monster, the “yahoo”, is a denizen of the mountain country … and that it is only observable in stormy weather, or on the approach of bad seasons.”
Thoroughly modern yowies
While we treasure the very early yowie stories, we also greatly value contemporary eyewitness reports that illustrate the ongoing nature of the phenomenon.
We hope that the dozens of additional modern-era cases (none of which appeared in our previous book) will persuade most readers that mysterious ape-men continue to be reported from one side of the continent to the other by people who, for the most part, appear to be sensible and honest. Readers may also find it significant, as we do, that many modern reports emanate from the very same areas that were notorious for “Australian ape” activity a century or more ago, and from locations Indigenous people know to be abodes of the Hairy Men.
The following story, which veteran researcher Dean Harrison considered to be the “yowie report of the year” in 2018, is a good example of the modern era cases in our new book.
13 Nov 2018. Beechmont Road, near Canungra Land Warfare Centre, QLD.
When 53-year-old Glenn Kilmartin contacted Australian Yowie Research on 17 Nov 2018, Dean Harrison immediately interviewed him and visited the location. Paul Cropper conducted a long interview with Glenn on 24 November.
Glenn: “I’m a truck driver. I work out of a quarry at Beaudesert delivering mainly road base.
“This thing scared the absolute crap out of me. It happened at about 10.10 am at Witheren, [travelling north] on Beechmont Road.”
That stretch of road forms the western boundary of Canungra Land Warfare Centre, a vast, rugged area that has, for many years, been Australia’s main jungle-training base.
“I was coming down the hill empty, and started going around a sharp right-hand corner, and thought I saw a boulder rolling onto the road off the embankment, so I hit the brakes to avoid hitting this ‘rock’ – and it stood up!
“I managed to skid to a halt [the creature had been in the right-hand side gutter] but had already started to step out as I was still skidding, and it spun around to face me, so [when the truck stopped] it was standing right in front of my bonnet. It seemed shocked that I was there.”
The enormous creature was standing so close to the truck that all Glenn could see at first was its upper body, from naval to shoulders. “He was a metre-and-a-half, across the shoulders. I reckon he would have been [the weight of] three good-sized men, so … 400 kilos – that seems about right.
“The truck is an International S-Line, a standard tip-truck – bonnet out the front, no bull bar – so it was lucky I didn’t hit him, otherwise … I think he could have picked up the front of the truck – probably about three ton – I reckon he could have done that.
“It had hair probably two inches long all over its body; really dark brown with a reddish tinge, like an auburn tinge – not like rust – and matted. It had a naval – I could see through its hair. The top of my bonnet is six feet off the ground, so its belly button was six feet high.
“I had my sun visor down, so I had to scrunch down and duck my head to see its face. The head was as high as the top of the truck; that’s nine, nine-foot-six, and he was a bit higher than that – ten foot, if it was an inch.”
It had “… a rounded head – it wasn’t that conical head some people talk about. It looked like a chimpanzee’s head [and it] looked too small for its body. No neck – like its head was on top of its shoulders [but] it seemed to be sort of pushed forward, like it was growing off its chest rather than off its shoulders.”
The face was largely free of hair “from its lips up to its eyebrows – no hair on the top of its cheeks. It didn’t have any hair on its ears, either.
“A flat nose – like a boxer who’d had his nose broken a couple of times. I didn’t see any teeth – it had its mouth closed. It was dark around the eyes and its eyes were black, and the centre of the pupil was hazel coloured.”
Paul: “Did you get the impression you were looking at an animal or a human?”
Glenn: “Animal. The face – I saw three different expressions: shock, embarrassment, then anger. It went wide-eyed with shock when it first saw me, furrowed its brow, and it was, like, ‘Oh – I shouldn’t be here!’ or ‘He shouldn’t be here!’
“And I don’t know whether I’m imagining it – but it seemed to be a little bit embarrassed; then its brows knitted deeper and became an angry expression. Those expressions flashed over its face – they were its only human [characteristics].
“Then it grunted – just a loud grunt, not a howl – a short, sharp grunt – and slapped … well, punched, the centre of my bonnet, with his palm instead of his fist – like a push: ‘Get outa my way!’
“It didn’t move the truck much, but it shuddered the bonnet. Didn’t do any damage [except for] a fine crack up in the bonnet’s top left-hand corner; that’s [because] the bonnet was pushed into the truck’s body. But there’s no mark where his hand actually impacted the front of the bonnet.
“But, oh yeah, I felt it – felt the push. It was almost as if I’d hit a small car or something – a definite shudder in the truck [which is] nine-and-a-half tonne empty.
“I saw his hand, but I didn’t get the chance to count fingers, I just figured he had four fingers and a thumb, but I couldn’t attest to that, because really, it was all over in five seconds – like, from start to finish.
“Then he just turned to his right and – two steps and he’s gone – outa there – into the bush on the left-hand [western] side.
“Then I just rolled down the hill – didn’t put it in gear – around the [bends] and pulled up at the bottom, and just sat there. I was shaking; rolled a smoke, and I couldn’t believe it.
“I’ve never seen anything so big, so ‘magnificent’ is the word I’d use … because he was just … whatever he was, he was a really fine specimen – you could see his muscles underneath the hair; pecs and abs and all that. Everything about him was magnificent. He was an ugly sucker, but his body was just beautiful.”
Because the creature was standing so close to the truck, Glenn didn’t see any genitalia, but it seemed quite obvious it was male.
“And when he walked off, I could only see its rear end – and his bum was covered in hair, too.”
Paul: “Did you talk about it to anyone?”
Glenn: “No, I didn’t tell my wife until a week ago – I didn’t want to get labelled a whacko. I was worried she wouldn’t believe me, but in the end she did. She said, ‘Well, I’m sure there’s other stuff out there, too, that we haven’t discovered.’ And I told [the rest of] my family today. I decided, ‘Well, I’ve got to get it off my chest.’”
A yowie “hot spot”
After his near-collision, Glenn checked out the AYR website and noticed that another (or the same) yowie had been seen crossing the same stretch of road on 10 March 2015.
While listening to a sound file of Paul’s interview with that witness, Robert Cook, (Case 252 in the new book) and viewing Dean Harrison’s film of the site, Glenn thought it likely his encounter occurred at “exactly the same spot.”
In fact, two other people have reported very similar events in the vicinity of Canungra.
On 21 March 1986, a gigantic, long-legged, shaggy ape-man ran across Beaudesert Road, which passes through the Land Warfare Centre (LWC) about four kilometres north of the site of Glenn’s experience. When interviewed by Paul, the witness, soldier Lester Davidson, said that “The infantry fellows at 10 RIC had seen quite a few … in the bush in the LWC. Plenty of stories.” (See The Yowie, p. 84)
Three kilometres east of the LWC, 17-year-old Aaron Carmichael actually collided with a similar creature on 2 March 2001. His car, considerably damaged, was sent spinning off the road. Dean Harrison thoroughly documented that incident, photographing the damaged car, just a few hours after the event. (The Yowie, pp. 67-68)
Dean Harrison, Aaron Carmichael and the damaged vehicle.
About the authors:
Tony Healy and Paul Cropper have investigated all manner of strange phenomena in Australia and other countries since the mid-1970s, and have collaborated on many projects, notably in co-authoring Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia (1994), The Yowie (2006) and Australian Poltergeist (2014).
Contact the authors using the contact form.