The long history of the legend of yowies in the Eden area has been brought to life by Sydney writer Paul Cropper.
Mr Cropper has been involved in yowie research since 1976 when, at the age of 14, he uncovered several long-forgotten colonial-era eyewitness reports.
Alongside fellow yowie enthusiast Tony Healy, Mr Cropper has published a book titled ‘The Yowie, in search of Australia’s Bigfoot’.
Mr Cropper contacted the Magnet to share the reports he has uncovered about local yowie sightings.
“Stories of strange animals are well-entrenched in Australian folklore. Reports of tigers, panthers and pumas are common throughout the south coast, but perhaps the strangest of all these tales are reports of hair-covered, man-like monsters,” he said.
Mr Cropper said the first mentions of these creatures were in local newspapers in the early 1900s. Including this report in the Bega Budget in August 1906.
“Mr. Alf. Smith, distinctly saw a hairy man a short distance from him a few days ago, and had a shot at it with a shot gun without effect. He says it strongly resembles a gorilla, is between 5 and 6 ft. high, has long hair over the main body and short arms.”
Years later a Delegate Argus item from June 1930 told the story of a similarly strange animal scaring children of the Nullica River.
“...A strange animal, brown in colour, much larger than the average cattle dog and resembling a monkey in shape. That, at least, is the description given of it by Tommy Bobbin, the biggest of the two boys who have seen it….the animal was sitting up in a gorilla-like attitude. Terrified, but brave, Tommy threw at it a cob of corn which he was eating, and thereupon the horrible looking creature disappeared,” the report said.
Mr Cropper said sightings of these gorilla like creatures continued throughout the 20th century until the mid 1990s, when local resident Maria Speer, spotted a more than two-metre-tall creature six kilometres south of Eden.
Mr Cropper interviewed Ms Speer about her experience.
“It was brown, thickset and short-necked with powerful, solid shoulders,” she said. “It was standing on two legs and when it saw me it crashed off into the bush. My impression was that I had seen a powerful man-like creature. America’s Bigfoot would be an identical type.”
Maria sketched the strange animal she saw that day.
So what is the truth behind these reports – is it all hoax and misidentification? Do you know more about the gorillas of Eden? The Magnet encourages readers to contact us with any information.