4WD Touring Australia – June 2018

(Ben Green) #1
4wdtouring.com.au | 021



Since pre-settlement days, these rarely-seen
abominable monkey-men have been roaming the
scrub, most notably in the Victorian High Country.
So, in the spirit of a modern guy who likes to
make fun of the pioneering dolts of yesteryear,
allow me to introduce ‘The Shaggy Beast of
This tale being from back at a time when there
was no need to sensationalise and titillate, because
every time people left the house there was a
chance they could be snatched by a dingo, have
a taipan leap for their groin, or catch tuberculosis
from a schooner glass at the pub.
The concept of the Yowie was a real fear, a real
fear writ large across every state of Australia. They
were thought to be a Neanderthal species that
wandered the hills, aggressive, dumb as a box of
hammers, and in hiding after being driven to the
mountains by the Aborigines years earlier.
Whatever it was, it had white Aussies bamboozled
for a good 150 years after settlement. It was the
shape left behind by another blanket thrown on
another corner of the unknown. And the shape
was big, and the shape was hairy, and if you were
in the High Country in the 1930s, it also had four
white tusks ready to tear you a new one.
Check this, from the Melbourne Herald: “Some
say it is 7’ high and is hairy-headed, and looks like
a clumsy deer, and that it has razor-like claws and
four white tusks.

“Those who have seen the beast were too terried
to know exactly what they saw. They say variously
that it is an old-man kangaroo, grizzly bear, and a
mad gorilla.
“It is the pivot of a dozen different theories,
but the countryside is unanimous that the strange
animal lurks in the shadows and leaps on passing
Whatever it was, it sure as hell wasn’t minding
its own business: “A farmer had a heavy, lumbering
gure leap at the head of his horse. The animal
bolted with the farmer holding on for his life.”
A week later the beast was having a red-hot go
at Myrtleford drover Bill Nuttall, who was knocked
off his horse and chased along the train line. Nuttall
escaped under a wire fence but reckoned he got a
good look at the thing.
“The Myrtleford folk think it’s an old man kangaroo
that was caught in a recent bushre, and is wandering
about the country half-blind. Nuttall does not accept
that theory. He thinks it is a gorilla.”
A team even came out from Melbourne Zoo to
analyse the beast’s footprints and said they were
“consistent with those of a bear”.
Even though it hasn’t been seen for 80 years,
regular Alpine tourers still prefer rooftop tents
over swags. They’ll tell you it’s just because of the
frost, but on dark nights, somewhere in the corner of
their brain, a beast still lives – The Shaggy Beast
of Yackandandah.

(LEFT) The headlines are from the 1930s, but the spectre lives on. © News Limited/ National Library of Australia



God has been described as “the shape made when you throw a blanket over
the unknown.”

But if that’s the case, what the hell is a Yowie?
Free download pdf