"A Fearsom Being"

Mr Jephcott's Story

After nearly 50 years spent in the bush

Mysterious yahoos at large in the bush

The near naked nymph of the Nullabor is nothing new - except that as a rather startling example of women's libido. Just a century ago our ancestors were equally intrigued by reports of mysterious men and monkeys in the mountains.

In Cooma (NSW) the Monaro Mercury told its readers on December 9, 1871, that a "wild man" had been sighted in the fastness' of the jingeras.

The report said: "A little girl, the grand-daughter of Mr Joseph Ward, Snr. of Mittegong, asserts that she has met an old man whose back is bent and body covered with a thick coat of hair.

"The strange being had nails of tremendous length on his hands and he seemed desirous of shunning the girl.

"The main points are given with a remarkable earnestness by Mr Ward's grand-daughter; nothing can shake the simple outlines of her story.

"Confirmatory of the above story, is the statement made by Mr Kelly of the Jingeras, who says he has himself seen the `wild man.'

"There is a tradition among the settlers of this place that the mysterious monster, the `yahoo,' is a denizen of the mountainous country where the `wild man' has been discovered, and that it is only observable in the stormy weather, or the approach of bad seasons."

A few months earlier, gorilla-like animals were reported from two other parts of the State in the Avondale Ranges, on the south coast, and near Belgrave, on Macleay.

In the former case, a group of 20 to 30 men set out with dogs, ropes and firearms, but "evening closed on the expedition without their having obtained scent or sight of the gorilla."

The Illawarra Mercury said: "It is to be hoped the animal may be captured without delay. As there is talk of an expedition being started in Sydney for the purpose, the young men of this district should bestir themselves, and not allow others to carry a way the praise and profit as well as the prize involved in this strange affair."

The Macleay Herald quoted Aboriginal observers of the Belgrave gorilla as having said: "That fellow run on four legs, and stand up and run on two legs; him got plenty fellow hair all over."

The newspaper said: "The blacks were so scared by the appearance of the alleged monster that they left their camp, and hastened with all possible speed to Warneton, and refused to return."

Who can blame them? -ERIC SHACKLE

The Australian, 1 January 1972, p10.


Mystery Corner | Opals | GemStones

Coober Pedy | Stamps | About John