Mostly, encounters with Australia’s Yowie are fleeting. A glimpse of a large, hairy animal running upright through the bush and disappearing behind the thick undergrowth, the sounds of heavy, thumping footsteps, thick tree branches snapping like twigs – and then silence.
As a clear sign of intelligence in the elusive creatures, Yowies it seems, prefer to keep a wide berth from their human cousins … but sometimes, encounters become far too close for comfort, and sometimes turn nasty.
This week, weirdaustralia reports on when Yowies attack!
In Jerrawerra: the short, hairy man of the woods, the unnerving experience of young Pat Wring, a shepherd, was recounted. While boiling his billy, young Pat’s dogs began barking from down an inaccessible cliff. When Pat went to investigate, expecting to find his dogs having cornered a kangaroo, he saw something completely unexpected.
The 1878 newspaper report of the encounter stated: “Pat’s surprise may easily be imagined when his eyes looked down on a hairy monster. Standing upright, a body apparently as round as a horse, arms as round as a man’s thigh, three claws on each foot it stood, to the best of his belief, about 4 feet high. The head resembled a pig’s, but turned upwards.”
Only one of Pat’s dogs, accustomed to hunting and bringing down kangaroos, was brave, or foolish, enough to go near the creature. The short, hairy monster picked up the attacking dog and threw it into the air. The dog landed on the rocks about 30 yards away. The dog sprang at the creature again, and again, it was thrown into the air.
From atop the cliff, Pat threw a 14 pound stone at the strange animal, fearing that his dog would be killed. The stone hit its mark, but it had no effect. The creature sprang up and began to climb monkey-fashion up the cliff.
“Pat saw no more, as he thought it was time to run for his life; he never looked back. His heart beat so audibly that he fancied it was the quick stamping of the strange thing behind him.”
While Pat escaped unscathed, unfortunately, his brave dog died shortly after its violent encounter with the short, hairy man of the woods.
Stockmen stalked throughout the night
In Stone-throwing Yowie stalks four terrified stockmen, a creature fitting the description of a Yowie, stalked four stockmen out camping one evening in 1892. The creature began by throwing stones at the four men while they were fishing in the early evening. The men fled back to their camp, where they again came under attack from a volley of stones. Again, they packed up and fled their camp on their horses. What followed was a terrifying night-time flight through the bush as the unknown stone-thrower continued to stalk them in the darkness.
“Just as daylight was approaching, [the stockmen] thought they were at last in safety, and were preparing for three to sleep, while one kept watch, when presently one of the men distinctly saw the form of a large creature, resembling a man, being about the same height, but much larger in the body, standing about 50 yards above them, on the spur they had been going up, and was directly in front of them, preventing them from going any farther.
“He stood for a moment in a clear place between the trees, and could be distinctly seen against the sky, in the pale light of coming day. He stood only for an instant, and then moved slowly and silently down the hill. All this time the horses were very fidgety, and snorting as if they smelt something they were afraid of…
“Presently they could see the animal sneaking quietly up the hill towards them, and this time on one side. They galloped off again down the spur. There were no stones thrown till they were in motion, when several flew swiftly past them, and they narrowly escaped being hit by some. The animal followed them for a short distance, and then, after throwing one more stone, made off up a very steep spur, a place no horse could possibly climb, and they saw no more of him.”
Forty years later came another account of men on horseback being attacked by a large unknown creature.
Shaggy beast like a gorilla attacks three
Adelaide’s Mail on 27 February 1932 carried the following sensational headline: Armed Men Hunt Strange Monster. Shaggy Beast Like Huge Gorilla Prowls Mountains: People Terrified. Attacks Three.
The report began: “Armed bushmen are hunting for a mysterious beast, shaggy and powerful, that has attacked three men in the mountainous region between Blight and Yackandandah. The people are terrified.
“Its footprints have been found, but opinions vary as to the identity of the animal. Some say it is 7 feet high and is hairy-headed, and looks like a clumsy deer, and that it has razor-like claws and four white tusks. Those who have seen the beast were too terrified to know exactly what they saw. They say variously that it is an old-man kangaroo, grizzly bear, and a mad gorilla. It is the pivot of a dozen different theories, but the countryside is unanimous that the strange animal lurks in the shadows and leaps on passing horsemen.”
The article continued with a narrow escape from a night-time attack by the hairy beast.
“A farmer, on a recent moonlight night, was riding home about 10 o’clock. Just as he bent over the saddle on the horse, there was a grunt and a scuffle, and a heavy, lumbering figure leapt at the head of his horse. The animal bolted with the farmer holding on for his life. Later an inspection disclosed footmarks like those of a grizzly bear. A few nights later the farmer heard the strange visitor lumbering and grunting around his hut. Outside the horses whinnied in terror. Three of the most daring men in the district went out to hunt through the mountain wilderness for the prowling terror. With guns ready they spent the night out in the open, but found no trace.”
“Later they were passing through the eerie shadows on the Running Creek road, talking of their exploit, a shade sceptical, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the thing that they had been seeking was on them.”
“The horses were scared, and rearing, broke the shafts of the buckboard, on which the men were riding. The three men were thrown to the roadway. Grabbing their guns they fired, but in their confusion the mystery animal scuttled back into the bush, apparently unharmed. When daylight came, the men found the prints of the animal, but could not guess what it was.
Soon after this encounter, a young drover was lucky to escape with his life.
“On Thursday William Nuttall, a 21 year-old drover, with some women and men friends, was riding home to Myrtleford. The moon was shining. Young Nuttall got off his horse to tighten the girth, and the others went on slowly. Those ahead heard him shout, ‘Ride like mad! Some strange beast is attacking me’. The mysterious animal had hidden in the shadows and made a sweep at him with its paw. It ripped Nuttall’s shirt to ribbons, but missed his body. Nuttall’s horse took fright and bolted, but he stuck to the saddle.
“When Nuttall looked round he saw a large hairy creature. A sudden swerve by the horse unseated him, and he dashed for the wire fence which divided him from the railway line. He raced for life along the rails with the animal close on his heels.
“About 20 or 30 yards ahead he saw his horse standing on the roadway, shivering with fright. Nuttall leapt the fence with a bound and, regaining the saddle, urged the horse on.”
While some speculated that perhaps an old, half-blind kangaroo was responsible for the attack, Nuttall did not accept that theory. He was convinced that he had been attacked by an animal resembling a gorilla.
While Nuttall was lucky to escape with his life, years earlier, another man was not so lucky.
A deadly attack by a Yowie?
Just a year after the four stockmen were stalked throughout the night by what appears to be a stone-throwing Yowie, a shale miner, Charles Wilson, from Glen Davis near Newnes in New South Wales, went missing. He was apparently found dead several days later, the condition of his body suggested he’d been the victim of cannibalism. Following numerous sightings over the years, and an account of the abduction of a child, locals were convinced that the “giant hairy man” was responsible for poor Wilson’s gruesome death.
Read more at The wild hairy man of the Blue Mountains.
From these accounts, it seems the Aboriginals’ cautious attitude and respect towards the hairy creatures of the Australian bush is well founded.