Paranorma and

Psychic Australian July 1978

The Yowies of Katoomba

By Rex Gilroy 

The Rugged Grose Valley

Residents of homes and farms bordering the western and northern edges of the vast Katoomba city catchment area are becoming more than a little concerned at the mysterious events which have been taking place along the outskirts of dense forest country that is a feature of the entire catchment area. Strange sounds have been heard and mysterious footprints found, and sightings made of a hairy ape-like beast. For this vast region covering as it does over 1725 acres of territory and bordering along its northern extremity close to the rugged Grose Valley, has lately been the scene of a number of sightings involving the Yowie, the mysterious "Great Hairy Man" of Aboriginal folklore, and a creature undoubtedly related to the equally enigmatic Yeti of the Himalayas, and Bigfoot of America.


For the surrounding property owners whose homes extend along the fringe of the catchment, the most recent events began in 1975. Mr Ken Hollier who together with his family occupies a property on the edge of the catchment scrub, was awoken one morning in 1975 by strange sounds. He looked at his clock, the time was 2 am. The sounds were coming from the back door of his house and sounded man-like. By this time however Ken was out of bed. As he moved towards the back door the intruder ceased its door bashing and was gone by the time Ken had opened the door. Later the Holliers found the impressions of large footprints about the side of their house.


The Holliers never forgot their experience and it would no doubt have been on the mind of young Bruce two years later when on friday 15 th of July 1977 he was to have a second an unexpected encounter with the Yowie. On this day Bruce in the company of another boy, was trailbike riding along bush tracks which extend along the top of a gully which rises from the base of the third and lowest Katoomba catchment area. The boys stopped for a rest. As they sat talking they heard a deep-throated growling noise coming from nearby scrub. The noise began to move closer and the boys caught sight of a dark form standing among the trees.Getting on their bikes the boys lost no time in getting out of the area.

A Similar Incident

A similar incident took place on a bush track above the top dam on Sunday 20 November 1977 which involved a young horsewoman. While riding her mount through the Katoomba catchment area her horse suddenly shied, almost throwing her off. She quickly gained control of her horse and it was at that moment that she saw nearby and watching her from the trees, a hairy apelike almost manlike beast at least 7 ft tall. The hairy humanoid-looking creature appeared to be picking berries from a shrub and just stood looking back at the girl inquisitively. The girl was by now quite frightened and turning her horse she galloped quickly away to put as much distance between her and the strange beast as she could. Another incident happened a few days later when the drivers of a goods train, which late at night was heading west along the section of track which for some distance skirts the western side of Katoomba catchment, were startled as they saw, dazzled by the engine's spotlight a large apelike manlike 7 ft tall creature crossing the tracks into the catchment scrub. Could this have been the same creature seen by the young horsewoman a few days previously? In the light of recent events I have devoted much of my investigations into Yowie sightings to the catchment area.

Catchment Area{1978}

On Sunday 12 th March 1978 I led a search deep into the catchment in the hope of obtaining further clues to Yowie activity in the area. With me were fellow Yowie enthusiasts mark Harris of Katoomba, David Hodges of Chatswood NSW, and Suzan Smith of Woodford NSW, our purpose being to investigate areas in the catchment where recent Yowie incidents have occured. As part of our search, Mark, David Suzan and I visited the spot where the girl on horseback had her experience with the Yowie. I photographed the site and moved on to the wall of the top dam.


Here one day in May 1961 a young Katoomba lad had been fishing on the edge of the dam wall. As he glanced back the way he had come some 200 yards to the east, he spied a tall apelike beast moving across the track. Seeing him it had stopped at the base of a cutting through which the track passes. The boy not knowing exactly what he was looking at, quickly began to pick up his rod and bag and getting to his feet, saw the beast move off back into trees from whence it had come. The boy however, not wishing to take the track which leads from the top dam across the catchment scrub to the railway line, thence followed it back to Katoomba. By this means the boy returned home with his strange tale. Some time later the boy returned with adults. Estimating the size of the mystery beast by the height of the cutting he had seen it stand next to, the men deduced the creature to be 7 feet tall.


I recalled this incident as we climbed through dense scrub of the western side of the dam moving in the direction of former camp sites left by the long-departed workmen who made the dams, and finding a track we followed it down to the third dam. From here extends an almost impenetrable gully through which a creek winds until it emerges at the base of Mina Ha Ha Falls almost three miles to the east, eventually to enter the Grose Valley. Here too bushwalkers have reported finding larger than man sized footprints. In the course of previous investigations I have visited farming properties that lie close to the bottom two dams where livestock have been mysteriously killed, limbs almost ripped off and also where large apelike tracks have been found.


During 1960 a group of teenagers from nearby farms went swimming in the "Blue Pool" which lies not far from the bottom of the third dam and is part of the creek which runs from here into Mina Ha Ha Falls. As they swam one boy noticed they were being watched inquisitively by a dark hair covered manlike beast. Once seen, the "big ape" as the group later referred to it, moved off quickly down the gully. Beyond the gully that extends from the third dam rises steep scrub covered slopes. Past this the scrub extends across and into the Grose Valley, scene of many incidents involving Yowie's over the years.

Katoomba Catchment Area {1971}

It is my contention that the Yowie who have been seen throughout the Katoomba catchment area have emanated from the Grose valley, and that it is from here that they periodically emerge to be seen in areas at Blackheath, Medlow Bath and Katoomba. In 1971 Miss Victoria Trimble of Katoomba was with a group of young people picnicking in bush nearby the Medlow Bath aerodrome, which stands to the north of the Katoomba catchment area, and above the slopes which overlook the third dam. All seemed natural to the group as they enjoyed their picnic. That is until Victoria glanced in the direction of nearby trees and spied a tall brownish hair-covered apelike creature watching them through the trees. Victoria alarmed the rest of her group who, seeing the beast themselves, stood there in amazement as the mystery creature left its cover to run off and disappear in nearby forest. The party estimated the strange visitor was 8 feet tall due to the height of a branch they had seen it brush past.


It is possible that a small Yowie had crossed the Great Western Highway from the Katoomba catchment area one day in early 1975 to enter scrub surrounding the farm of Mr Berry Edelbuttle, scene some years ago of a very famous Ufo encounter. Mrs Edelbuttle looked out a window overlooking a far paddock to catch sight of a small 4 ft tall hairy apelike creature. When it spotted her it moved into nearby scrub.


One night in September the following year 1976, Ron Reed and a friend Debbie Egins, were camped together with another couple in caves situated in bush country in the Katoomba catchment. At 11 pm they were all awakened by strange noises. At the mouth of the cave in which they had been sleeping, in the faint glow of their dying campfire, Ron and Debbie both saw a hairy figure at least 5 feet tall peering inquisitively at them. The strange figure appeared to be covered in hair from head to foot in long hair. It then suddenly turned and ran off into the darkness.

Evans Lookout {1977}

Not far from the above incident stands Evans Lookout which overlooks the Grose Valley and still within the range of the Katoomba catchment Yowie sightings. During August 1977 Mr Ken Anakin of Blackheath was visiting the lookout when he spotted in bushes close by a hairy apelike creature about the size of a man. Before Ken could get a better look at the beast it moved off quickly into the surrounding forest.

Katoomba Sightings

In the course of the past 20 years as a resident of Katoomba and a researcher of the Yowie over a wide area of Australia, I have collected a vast amount of information concerning sightings of the mysterious hairy beasts from the Blue Mountains, many dating back to the early 1800's. Most of these accounts coming from the Katoomba district which includes not only the Jamieson Valley to the south but also the rugged scrub covered expanses which include the city catchment area extending across into the Grose Valley to the north of Katoomba. Stories involving the Yowie in the Katoomba city catchment area date back to the 1920's when workman were constructing the three large dams which make up the present day water supply.

Workmen {1927}

One such encounter in my files which happened in 1927 took place over in a swamp covered area northwest of the top-most dam. A group of workmen while inspecting a stand of timber soon to be cleared during construction operations saw, crouched on the swamp edge drinking water a hairy man-sized "gorilla." The beast rose to its feet and moved off into the dense scrub to the astonishment of the workers. During the removal of rocks for the construction of the dam walls considerable quarrying took place at various sites near the dam edges, which involved the clearing of a good deal of timber. Workmen were billeted thereabouts in huts at the time and they soon became familiar with the strange sounds made at night by native animals. Among these sounds were strange howling-screaming noises which old timers said were the sounds made by the "hairy man." In fact workmen who often explored the surrounding scrub during the 1920's more than once came upon footprints of manlike shape, only sometimes much larger. Such footprints continue to be found to the present day.

Catchment Area{1960}

These and other similar occurences were on my mind as we entered the catchment in the early hours of the morning of 12 th March to conduct our search. We explored scrub that stands above a small farm lying on the edge of the catchment and where during 1960 a woman, Mrs Jones, had an experience with the Yowie which she never forgot. Her experience began early one morning while tending to her cows, when she came across a number of large footprints in mud some distance from her house and on the outskirts of catchment scrub. The footprints although very large just looked human to Mrs Jones and she soon forgot about them. Then some nights later she awoke from her sleep late at night to hear her cattle bellowing, disturbed by something.

Mrs Jones who lived alone went to investigate. Torch in hand she opened the front door and went out into the yard. Flashing her torch about she could see nothing. By now the cattle who had all run towards a corner of her paddock had ceased bellowing. Thinking that some animal must have disturbed them she returned to the house. Later the next day Mrs Jones found more of the large footprints on her property. This to her suggested that her property had been visited by a local prowler. Two weeks later one morning Mrs Jones was in her front yard when beyond her back paddock and standing on a rise overlooking the property she saw on the edge of the forest a tall hairy manlike form. Was this the prowler she believed had been visiting her property at night, she wondered?

Yet there seemed something strange about this figure as it stood silently observing her. From the distance Mrs Jones was from the strange form all she could make out was that it appeared to be covered with hair. Also the figure seemed extremely tall to Mrs Jones, a good 7-8 feet she later estimated. Then the figure turned and moved off into the forest. After this incident Mrs Jones never saw any sign of the mysterious intruder again. I was relating some of these stories to my friends as we abandoned our search, planning as we did so to return their soon to continue our investigation. For although we did not find any traces of Yowies on this search there can be no doubt that the mysterious creatures continue to lurk in the vast forests that cover the Katoomba city catchment area.

Paranorma and

Psychic Australian October 1978

Australia's Ancient Astronauts

By Rex Gilroy

Australia's Ancient Astronauts