It’s funny how one mystery can lead to another. As devoted readers would know, we’ve been writing about the Tasmanian tiger in recent weeks.
Christian Kropp told us he’d twice had encounters with the creatures, deep in the Barrington wilderness. And researcher Rex Gilroy believes the creatures still exist in the Barrington Tops and other areas, like the Blue Mountains and Jenolan range.
Rex and his wife Heather also do research on yowies, which were said to be bigfoot-type creatures that lived in the Australian wilderness. They were part of Aboriginal legend. Some people think they still exist.
In a 2014 newsletter titled “Heather Sees Two Yowies”, Rex Gilroy wrote about his wife’s eyewitness account of seeing a yowie.
It’s such great yarn, we simply must recount it.
The story begins when Heather catches a glimpse of “a dark shape moving about in the roadside shrubbery just ahead of the car”.
“I had that eerie feeling that I was being observed by unseen eyes in the dense forest growth,” Rex wrote.
“Later I discovered hominin feet impressions, indistinct and embedded in grass amid the shrubbery on the slope above the road where Heather had seen the mysterious dark shape. I had no doubt that she had spotted a yowie.”
They later drove down a “section of forest-covered mountainside”.
“The time was 4.45pm and I was looking at the passing forest and gullies.”
As Rex gazed at the trees, Heather saw some kind of creature – about 60 metres ahead – standing in the middle of the road.
She insists that it was “definitely not a kangaroo or wallaby”.
This creature, which stood on two legs, “briefly manoeuvred around some rocky gravel on the road”.
“When she looked again, the shape had moved across the road to the right into shrubbery at the base of a three-metre high bank, above which was a densely-timbered mountainside slope.
“Immediately behind the tree trunk, a steep slope dropped down through forest into a deep gully. It was apparent that the hominin had emerged from the gully to move along the edge of the road past the trunk, before crossing the road (where Heather had seen it) to the base of the bank, where it was then obscured by the foliage.”
Rex continued: “At this point in time, it made a quick scramble/climb up the shrubbery-covered bank to escape unseen into the forest beyond.
“Examining the bank on the other side of the road, I discovered fresh scuff marks in the grassy soil where the hominin had made its quick climb up the bank.
“I knew it would be useless to attempt pursuit in that steep terrain. By now I was certain that Heather had caught a glimpse of a yowie, although the figure was some distance down the road when spotted. Turning to Heather I said ‘congratulations, whatever form it was, you have become one of those lucky people who have seen a yowie’.
“Then, at one point, looking down at my feet, I spotted what I had hoped to find – a yowie foot impression. No others were visible due to the gravelly ground and grass covering much of the old road, but here was a mostly indistinct left footprint, perhaps only hours old, embedded in a moist patch of soil and leaf litter.”
Rex took off his backpack and placed his camera to one side.
“I bent down to gently remove leaves which had fallen onto the shallow impression since it had been made,” he wrote.
“I quickly mixed the plaster with water in the bucket then poured it over the impression.
“After about 20 minutes, the cast was sufficiently dried and hard enough to be lifted.”
The plaster-cast of the foot was 38cm long and 16cm wide across the toes, 15cm wide at mid-foot, 14cm wide across the heel and 2cm deep.
Rex said this foot impression shows that “relict hominins continue to haunt those wilds, just as they have done since ancient Aboriginal times and before”.
“The maker of the tracks was a large Homo erectus form of yowie.
“My success in finding this foot impression has encouraged us to return to the Barrington Tops... to hopefully turn up more footprints and any other evidence of the ever-elusive ‘hairy man’.”