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Search for the elusive Yowie

8 July 1982

CLAIMS of fresh sitings of the mysterious Yowie, or "great hairy man" of ancient Aboriginal folklore, In the Gold Coast hinterland have revived tales stretching back 100 years from areas of far northern NSW and southern Queensland.

Australia's authority on the Yowie and it's traditions, naturalist Rex Gilroy of Katoomba. believes the creatures exist. They are, a race of "relict - primates from ice-age times which reached Australia at a time when land-bridges connected Australia and America to the Asian mainland, he says.

The general physical description of the Yowie matches that of America's ---Bigfoot- and also Asia's Yeti (abominable snowman).He says the creatures are direct decendants of the 20 ft tall extinct forest ape species Giantopithecus, that roamed, 'their pointed skull dome and receding forehead, thick eyebrow ridges; their long arms and fingers reaching to knee level.

Their loping walk on two legs, and also their feet which possess an oposable big toe," he said.

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"Coupled to the fact that these creatures are all herbiverous in feeding habits and inhabit the remoter mountainous forest regions, there can be no doubt that we are dealing with a race of 'relict primates' known to reach. heights of up to 10 feet tall, weighing around 500-600 Ibs.

"Their footprints have been studied from plaster casts and these match fossilised examples of the Giantopithecus". Mr Gilroy's research into the Yowie goes back 25 years to his last month at high school, when he read of the creatures in ancient Aboriginal myths and legends.

The Yowies have always been confined to the rugged eastern mountain ranges of Australia he said. They appear most common to far north Queensland, far northern NSW, the Blue Mountains and southern coastal NSW mountain ranges and the Shoalhaven district, as well as the Victorian Alps.

Some stories indicated the animals may still inhabit Tasmania. "Even New Guinea has it's 'hairy devilmen', or Kiboornees", he said.

"While males are often strong, muscular animals, with long thick hair, females are slender, have less hair, and long pendulous breasts."A 7 ft tall female creature of this description was seen in the Gibraltar Range between Grafton and G1en Innes, "It stood up and walked upon two legs up a rise and into dense scrub." ,

"Yowie Man" and noted field naturalist Rex Gilroy, of Katoomba, holding plaster casts of some of the giant,-sized Yowie tracks found by him in the Jameison Valley NSW in July 1979.

In an effort to scientifically research the Yowie phenomena, Mr Gilroy, who is director of the Kedumba Nature Display museum, Echo Point Rd, Katoomba established the Australian Yowie Research Centre. Here the evidence is gathered, scientifically assessed, and shared with other scientific bodies overseas involved in the same research.

"We have gathered quiet a volume of early reports from northern NSW which show early European settlers were describing these beasts long before the discovery of the gorilla in Africa, which discounts possible hoaxing based on their description", Mr Gilroy said.

Among these is the story of Torrington, north of Emmaville 90 years ago.

A girl, 5, went missing near her home one day. The parents feared she had become lost in the surrounding dense scrub. A search party comprised of local men did not find her until next morning, three miles from where she had disappeared, and sitting 20 ft above ground in a rock shelter in a sheer cliff.

When rescued she told the men that a "big hairy man" had carried her off from where she had been playing, and as night fell, had placed her in the rock shelter. The men came across large footprints which they followed until they disap peared in the rocky terrain. The beast which left the tracks was never seen again, Mr Gilroy said.

"Eerie cries and screeches have often been heard around the Emmaville scrub, sometimes frightening campers."Ape-like tracks displaying various stages of maturity have turned up in creek beds and scrub thereabouts over the years, just as they have on the Carrai Range west
of Kempsey, and also in the rugged Bar rington Tops.

"A 12 ft tall hairy male, gorilla-like monster was claimed seen by a bushman riding his horse up a mountainside near Lismore several years ago. "It terrified the horse when it appeared from out of the dense scrub 200 yards ahead of the rider, brandishing a small tree limb."

There had been numerous Yowie sightings claims around Euroka and Green Hill, off the Armidale Highway area over the past 40 years. In recent months a series of enormous ape-like footprints had been found by campers in forest country south-east of Grafton.

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