"What Was It" 1903
Yowie / Bigfoot &/or Strange Animals
WAS IT THE HAIRY MAN "YAHOO," OR THE WILD BLACKFELLOW, OR THE ABORIGINALS?
IF IT WAS NEITHER, WHAT WAS IT?
Queanbeyan Age (NSW)
Date: August 7, 1903
Page Number: 2
Sir, —I send you an account of what took place when some strange animal came very close to where my brothers and I were camped many years ago. Upon this occasion we were out in Pearce's Creek (a small stream between the Tidbinbilla Mountains and the Cotter River) in search of cattle. In the nearly part of the day we came upon the remains of a cow of ours. We recognised this beast by the head, as the blacks would only take the tongues out. That the blacks had speared and roasted was evidenced by their stone oven which was close by. We searched the creek during the day, and having seen no indications of cattle being there, we decided to return to where the cow had been killed, and camp there for the night, as it was a good place for the safe keeping of our horses. The weather was very hot and dry ; it was in the month of March, there was no moon, none of us had a match. We had supper as usual, and lay down. Some time during the night, I think it must have been late, I awoke (the others were asleep) and I heard a noise similar to what an entire horse makes. I heard it again and awoke the others. We heard it some four or five times, and the noise ceased, but we could heat it walking along on the opposite side of the range, and when in a line with our camp, we could hear it coming down in our direction. As it came along we could hear its heavy breathing. About this time the dogs became terrified and crouched against us for protection. On account of a fallen tree being on the side the thing was coming, it had to come on one side or the other to get to where we were. My brother Joseph was on the lower side of this tree, I was on the upper side and my brother William in the centre. Not many seconds passed before Joseph sang out, "here the thing is," and fired a small pistol he carried at it. Neither William nor myself, coming to the scrub got a sight of it. Joe says it was like a blackfellow with a blanket on him. We did not hear it going away. We then tried to set our dogs after it, thinking they might find out where the thing went, but we could not get them to move. Had this thing been a little later in coming we could have seen what it was, as the day began to dawn in less than a quarter of an hour after Joe fired at it.
GEO. GRAHAM WEBB.
P.S. —Having interviewed Henry Williams in re the animal he saw the blacks kill, he pointed out to Mr. J. M'Donald and myself the height he (Williams) was at the time, and, we considered he would be from 10 to 12 years old. The locality where the blacks killed it was below the junction of the Yass River with the Murrumbidgee. The animal got into some cliffs of rocks, and the blacks got torches to find out where it was hidden and then killed it with their nullah nullahs. There was a great many blacks at the killiing, and he saw two dragging it down the hill by its legs. It was like a black man, but covered with grey hair. —G.G.W.
Note: It is unclear what Webb is referring to here - further articles relating to this one have yet to be found...
My ancestors are from within the Canberra region. We trace back to my great-great-great-grandfather, Black Harry Williams, also known as Ngoobra, who’s in a few of these stories. We trace our ancestry to the Canberra plains, Ngambri and Ngunnawal country.
We had the opportunity to draw these books, most of them are from the younger generation – so I guess my father’s generation – his grandchildren or great nephews and nieces, we had the opportunity to pick a family story and get to draw them. One of them is a really important story for our family and a famous one, it was when my great-great-great-grandfather, Black Harry, or Ngoobra, who they talk about in these books, he was about 12 years old and he was out playing with a few of his mates, and he saw a dhalagarr – which is the Australian yowie or hairy man, and he saw a couple of Aboriginal warriors from a neighbouring tribe kill it and then bury it in a cave. And he went and reported it to the Queanbeyan Age at this time and you can see the actual article there. This is a story that’s travelled down through generations something that we hold on to, and has been created and changed a little bit to make one of these children’s stories.