Australia has its own version of Bigfoot, the Yowie, which has been reported primarily in New South Wales and along the Gold Coast of Queensland. Like the word “Bigfoot,” “Yowie” has come to indicate any unknown hairy hominoid seen in Australia, and thus the picture has become muddled Down Under. The creature’s long history can be traced back to Aboriginal legends.
The earlier name for the creature was the yahoo, which according to some accounts was an Aborigine term meaning “devil” or “evil spirit.” But more likely, the indirect source of the name was Jonathan Swift, whose Gulliver’s Travels (1726) concerns, in part, a subhuman race called the Yahoos. Hearing the Aboriginal reports of this unknown primate, nineteenth-century European settlers may have applied the name “Yahoo” to the Australian creature. A hundred years of sightings followed.
Some encounters were vague and a few were detailed, as, for example, Charles Harper’s sighting of 1912. Harper, a surveyor from Sydney, and his companions were camping in the jungle along the Currickbilly Mountain range in New South Wales. They heard some sounds and saw a “huge, man-like animal” in the light of their fire. It was beating its chest. This beast had a very small, chinless human face with deeply set eyes and long canine teeth. It was bipedal, covered with long red-brown hair, and stood almost six feet tall. It seemed to have large breasts or a potbelly hanging down between its legs. Harper and his party were happy when the animal moved away.
Sometime in the 1970s, the term “Yowie” supplanted “Yahoo.” The Yowie today is a popular figure in Australia, and toys and chocolates are made in imitation of what the Yowie is believed to look like. Newspapers report on each new sighting.
In 1997, for instance, a woman residing in Tanimi Desert was awakened at 3:00 A.M. by a horrendous animal-like sound. On searching for the cause of the disturbance, the startled woman became fiercely nauseated when she caught wind of a terrible smell, and then she saw a seven-foot hairy creature destroy her fence as it fled. The following morning, law-enforcement officers found a chewed piece of pipe and huge tracks. The early accounts of gorilla-like creatures seem to have given way to tales of formidable beasts leaving enormously long footprints with four long toes. Accounts of four-toed True Giants may have been mixed in as well.
The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
The yowie is an Australian ape-man that was mentioned only in Aboriginal folklore until the 1800s, when European colonists began claiming they had actually seen it. Since then, there have been numerous sightings reported. According to witnesses, the creature stands on two legs to a height of approximately 6 feet (1.8m) and has a gorilla-like body covered in reddish brown hair, a face that appears human except for a pair of fangs, long arms, and unusually big feet, much like bigfoot, a similar apeman in North America. Prior to the 1970s the yowie was usually called the yahoo; the reason for this name change is unclear.
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning