Yowie Hunt Hits Gold Coast

Post Special By

Denise Dalgliesh

Australasian Post, February 24, 1990

Yowie Hunt Hits Gold Coast

A New South Wales naturalist is mounting an expedition to the Gold Coast {Queensland} hinterland in search of the legendary Yowie-and he's taken all the necessary equipment to "shoot" {photograph} the elusive beast. Rex Gilroy, who describes himself as "Australia's foremost authority on unknown animals", has been studying the Yowie for 30 years. He believes he is very close to proving the existence of the animal once and for all.

"Im confident proof will soon be found that the Yowie exists," Rex 46, told POST. "There is no doubt in my own mind-the evidence is overwhelming as far as im concerned." Armed with cameras, plaster and camping equipment, Rex, his wife Heather, and a few supporters will trek through the rugged Numinbah Valley to the Lamington National Plateau in search of the creature.

"Im hoping that this expedition will capture the animal on film, or find some physical evidence such as bone fragments, hair or fossilised remains," Rex said. "Its the right sort of terrain, there have been recent sightings and the area is large enough to support a few Yowies". "The country is so inaccessible that anything could live there. Sightings in the area go back as far as 1860 so I believe there's definitely something in it."

Rex, known to many as the "Yowie Man" because of his life-long dedication to tracking the beasts, established the Australian Yowie Research Centre at Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains {NSW} 20 years ago. Details of sightings, possible footprint plaster casts and other evidence are scientifically assessed and shared with researchers throughout the world.

"A new species of animal is discovered every year, so people should not be skeptical about the existence of the Yowie", Rex said.

He describes the male Yowie as a tall, muscular beast with long thick hair. The female is slender with less hair and long, pendulous breasts. They have no neck, their head is sunk into their shoulders and their arms are much longer than a human's. "They walk on two legs with a stooped gait", Rex said.

"Yowie means great, hairy man and according to the Aborigines the creatures roamed the remote mountainous regions of Australia existing mainly on a herbivorous diet. They were shy, gentle creatures who kept well clear of man but they could become dangerous when cornered or their young endangered.

Rex believes the Yowie migrated to Australia during the early part of the Last Ice Age, when Australia, America and Asia were joined by land bridges.

"The Yowie, the Yeti and the Bigfoot are al basically the same creature." Rex said.

"Scientists in the USA and Europe have studied the matter and they share my belief that the Yowie evolved from a race of giant forest dwelling apes called Gigantopithecus, who grew up to 4.5 meters tall and roamed throughout Asia during the last Ice Age.

"Fossil footprints of this creature have been found in China and Java and they match with footprints found in Australia." Rex has plaster casts of massive footprints found in Queeensland which he believes clearly show an opposable big toe, a characteristic of primates but not humans.

"Six months ago hikers travelling through the Lamington Plateau stopped to get water from a creek," Rex Said. "They spotted a large, hairy creature about 45m Downstream, and they watched as it crossed the creek and disappeared into dense scrub.

"Three months later bushwalkers stumbled across eight footprints, twice the size of human tracks, in the same region. The Footprints were in forest soil and clearly displayed the opposable big toe, which stands out from the other toes and is used for climbing and grasping.

"There are many stories and sightings coming out of this area, but it's difficult to get hard evidence because the Yowie is a very secretive creature, especially during the daylight," Rex said. "There wouldn't be many of them left either, my guarded estimate would be several hundred living in pockets of inaccessible country along the east coast."

Although Rex is keen to finally prove the existence of the Yowie he is very wary of hoaxers who contact him with wild stories. "Ive declared war on the hoax element-they seem to think you'll believe anything," he declared. "I have to expose these people or my own research could be held up for contempt."

Interested parties can contact Rex at the Australian Yowie Research Centre, P.O Box 202, Katoomba, 2780, NSW, Sydney Australia