and Shoalhaven Advertiser
Tuesday 29 May 1888
Reports of the hairy man or Yowie began in Australia in colonial times. The earliest apparently appearing in 1795.
But contrary to the moniker which is attributed to the creature today, the Yowie was popularly known in the 19th and early 20th century as the “Yahoo” or “Yahoo - Devil Devil”. It’s description from witnesses published in Newspapers of the day parallel modern day accounts. It was not till the 1970’s that the word “Yowie” started to appear in the country’s newspapers.
The origin of the term “Yahoo” is uncertain some suggest it was derived from an Indigenous word yet others point to Jonathan Swift’s “yahoos” in the book Gulliver’s Travels as the origin of the term.
In his book Swift describes them as being filthy and with unpleasant habits, resembling human beings. Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" they find by digging in mud.
Perhaps early European settlers in Australia saw similarities of the “yahoo” from the book and the hairy man that lived in the bush?
Another possible origin is the sound the creature makes as seen in the account below;
The animal made a cry that sounded very like "Yahoo!"
Below are some historic accounts from Australian Newspapers;
Kilcoy Yowie (Yahoo) Statue
Queanbeyan Age - 1886
“A young man named Flynn was looking after stock at the back of the Bredbo station one afternoon last week, he was surprised to observe a hairy human form, about seven feet in height, walking in the bush. The wild man walked with an unsteady, swinging, and fast step, his arms being bent forward and nearly reaching the ground, whilst the colour was described as "bay," between a red and chestnut.
*Another witness by the name of Mr Crimmings who lived nearly two miles away;
Mr. Crimmings himself has interviewed (witnessed) the monster, and his account tallies exactly with that given by Mr. Flynn. But Mr. Crimmings heard the animal make a cry that sounded very like "Yahoo”.
The Yahoo Again
The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser -1906
*In this account a Mr. E. J. Clifford was traversing through thick scrub when the creature rose up in front of him;
“The animal which, he said, appeared to be 8ft high and 3ft broad, black in colour, and covered with hair of great length, gave several unearthly yells, something like a native bear.
The head of the animal seemed to be shaped like that of a dog. The animal at first stood upright like a human being, and ran on two legs at a great pace.”
*Indigenous beliefs of the Yowie talk about the creature’s feet are on backwards. Modern researchers suggest that this is allegorical and really means the Yahoo is very difficult to track. The account below talks about the unusual morphology of the Yowie.
Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal - 1902
“The "Yahoo," (as we all know) is an animal said to resemble a man only that his body is covered with long hair, and his feet are turned backwards, the being where the heel should be. The aboriginals really believe that such an animal exists and they are all afraid of it.”
Goulburn Evening Penny Post 1887
“About a fortnight since one John Mahony, in the employ of Mr. Thomas Lee, who has a contract for erecting a bridge at Gilbert's Creek, on the road to Cooma, and about a couple of miles out of town, was engaged cooking his and his mate's supper just after dusk, when he saw a hairy individual, 7 feet high at least, marching down without the least concern for anybody, and striding across 5 feet drains and 5 feet high fallen trees without the slightest trouble, and proceeding onhis way wholly oblivious of anything around him.”
WHAT WAS IT?
The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser 1876:
*This article refers to the creature as a Devil -Devil.
“Leaving one of their young friends to boil the billy and prepare supper. While, so engagedthe young women was suddenly startled by observing a man, as she naturally imagined, at first sight, was one of their own party, coming towards the fire, on walking closer, discovered the appearance to be unsightly an inhuman, bearing in every way the shape of a man with a big red face, hands and legs covered all over with long, shaggy hair, from fright she became almost spell-bound, screamed and screeched but unable to run. The men, on hearing such unearthly cries, left their fishing lines and ran with all speed towards their comrade;"
She describes the creature:
"The head was covered with dark grisly hair, the face with shaggy darkish hair, the; back and belly and down the legs covered with hair of a lighter colour. This devil-devil or -whatever it may be called doubled round and hurriedly made back towards the fire and woman again.”
Monaro’s Hairy Man
Darling Downs Gazette 1912
*This account mentions the size of a Yahoo Print plus the use of plaster of paris in casting footprints;
"On Wednesday last word came through from Mr. Sydney Jephcott, owner of Creewah station, 20 miles from Bombala, that in the thick bush on his property yesterday he discovered the tracks of an apparently immense animal. The tracks were identical with those of a human foot, but measured eighteen inches in length, and eight inches across. Mr. Jephcott ordered a quantity of plaster of paris to be sent out from Bombala for the purpose of taking impressions. Word was also received to-day that a man named Summerell, while shooting in the bush, yesterday, came across an immense object resembling a man. On Sumerell approaching, however, the creature picked up a stick and emitted a growling noise, and disappeared."
*We will add more historical accounts of the Yahoo (Yowie) as we discover them.