A Letter from Rex Gilroy (cont)
Looking back over my 50 years of research on the Yowie mystery, I see an evolutionary pattern in my work, beginning with the youthful enthusiasm of a teenager gathering old Aboriginal and early settlers stories of encounters in the bush with the “hairy man”, to the beginnings of my earliest field investigations and footprint finds; how I at first believed that the “hairy man” was some form of long-haired
bipedal primate, which might be a surviving population of Gigantopithecus blackie which had made
its way into Australia during the Pleistocene period.
Yet I eventually realised that the cast footprints of
the Yowie that began appearing in the 1960s, and also those recovered during the early 1970s, were
more hominid than primate. At the same time I was beginning to uncover recently-manufactured crude
stone implements from remote areas of the Blue Mountains. These, together with Aboriginal accounts
of the “hairy men and women” being able to make fire and cook their food, soon led me to realise that
I was dealing with remnant populations of living Homo erectus.
This belief was meanwhile being
reinforced by discoveries first with my late father, Mr W F [Bill] Gilroy, and later by my wife Heather
and I, of actual fossil skull-types of Homo erectus over a wide area of Australia, mostly in areas once
inhabited by the “hairy people” according to Aboriginal traditions.
I learnt also that ‘Yowie’ was but one of many, indeed a great many names throughout
Australia, by which these beings were known to our Aborigines.
In fact, I discovered that these names
all identified any non-Aboriginal race with which they once shared the continent, be they average
modern human height beings, pygmies or giants. All these names meant “hairy man”, “hairy woman” or “hairy people”, and they were all called such not because they possessed long body hair, but because
they wore cloaks of kangaroo and other marsupial [fur] hides, just like the Aborigines in early historical
photographs which can still be seen today.
Thus as my information and evidence grew I was able to discard previous ideas on the physical
appearance and identity of the Yowie.
A similar evolution of my theories, both on the origins of the Yowie and of pre-Aboriginal
hominid evolution as a whole, can be seen in the way that my ideas have changed over the years as my
collection of fossil hominid skull-types grew. In September 1969 I recovered a 52mm tall giant hominid
lower back premolar tooth at a fossil site now covered by Westmead Children’s’ Hospital in Sydney’s
The discovery of my first giant hominid fossil footprint followed in April 1970 at Mulgoa, at the
eastern base of the Blue Mountains. Then in May 1972 my late father found the mineralised endocast
of a large ‘archaic’ Homo sapien skull at an old Pleistocene site at Tarana, just west of the Blue
Mountains; followed by my own discovery of a smaller endocast of a ‘late’ Homo erectus skull-type
about 30 metres away in the same strata, demonstrating upon various grounds to be discussed further
on in this book, that Homo sapiens were already present in Australia by 300,000 years ago, and that
they shared the land with their ‘father’, Homo erectus.