For other uses, see Yowie (disambiguation).
Statue of a Yowie in Kilcoy, Queensland,
Country Australia
Region Great Dividing Range
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
South Australia
West Australia
New South Wales

Yowie is one of several names given to a hominid reputed to live in the Australian wilderness. The creature has its roots in Aboriginal oral history. In parts of Queensland, they are known as quinkin (or as a type of quinkin), and as joogabinna,[1] in parts of New South Wales they are called jurrawarra, myngawin, puttikan, gubba, doolaga, gulaga and thoolagal.[1] Other names include yahoo, yaroma, noocoonah, wawee, pangkarlangu, jimbra and tjangara.[1][2][3]

As is the case with the North American Sasquatch, many people discount the existence of the yowie considering it more likely to be a combination of misidentification, folklore and hoax. Yowie-type creatures are common in Aboriginal Australian legends, particularly in the eastern Australian states.[4]


The yowie is usually said to be a hairy and ape-like creature standing upright at between 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) and 3.6 m (12 ft).[5][6][7] The yowie's feet are said to be much larger than a human's,[6] but alleged yowie tracks are inconsistent in shape and toe number,[8] and the descriptions of yowie foot and footprints provided by yowie witnesses are even more varied than those of bigfoot.[9] The yowie's nose is said to be wide and flat.[10][11]

Behaviourally, some report the yowie can seem timid or shy.[6] Others suspect that the yowie is sometimes violent or aggressive.[12]

Origins of the term

The origin of the name "yowie" to describe unidentified Australian hominids is unclear. Some nineteenth century writers suggested that it arose through Aboriginal legends. Robert Holden recounts several stories that support this from the nineteenth century, including this European account from 1842:

The natives of Australia ... believe in ... [the] Yahoo ... This being they describe as resembling a man ... of nearly the same height, ... with long white hair hanging down from the head over the features ... the arms as extraordinarily long, furnished at the extremities with great talons, and the feet turned backwards, so that, on flying from man, the imprint of the foot appears as if the being had travelled in the opposite direction. Altogether, they describe it as a hideous monster of an unearthy character and ape-like appearance.[13]

Another story about the name, collected from an Aboriginal source, suggests that the creature is a part of the Dreamtime.

Old Bungaree a Gunedah aboriginal ... said at one time there were tribes of them [yahoos] and they were the original inhabitants of the country - he said they were the old race of blacks ... [The yahoos] and the blacks used to fight and the blacks always beat them but the yahoo always made away ... being ... faster runners.[14]

On the other hand, Jonathan Swift's yahoos from Gulliver's Travels, and European traditions of hairy wild men, are also cited as a possible source.[15]

History of sightings

In a column in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1987, columnist Margaret Jones wrote that the first Australian yowie sighting was said to have taken place as early as 1795.[16]

19th century eyewitness accounts

In the 1870s, accounts of 'Indigenous Apes' appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal. The earliest account in November 1876 asked readers; "Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature ... namely the Yahoo-Devil Devil, or hairy man of the wood ..."[17]

In an article entitled "Australian Apes" appearing six years later, amateur naturalist Henry James McCooey claimed to have seen an "indigenous ape" on the south coast of New South Wales, between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla:[18]

"A few days ago I saw one of these strange creatures ... on the coast between Bateman's Bay and Ulladulla ... I should think that if it were standing perfectly upright it would be nearly 5 feet high. It was tailless and covered with very long black hair, which was of a dirty red or snuff-colour about the throat and breast. Its eyes, which were small and restless, were partly hidden by matted hair that covered its head ... I threw a stone at the animal, whereupon it immediately rushed off ..."[19]

McCooey offered to capture an ape for the Australian Museum for £40. According to Robert Holden, a second outbreak of reported ape sightings appeared in 1912.[20] The yowie appeared in Donald Friend's Hillendiana,[21] a collection of writings about the goldfields near Hill End in New South Wales. Friend refers to the yowie as a species of bunyip. Holden also cites the appearance of the yowie in a number of Australian tall stories in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.[22]

Present-day accounts of yowie sightings

Yowie reports have continued to the present day with the trail of evidence following the pattern familiar to most unidentified hominids around the world: eyewitness accounts; mysterious footprints of hotly disputed origin; and no conclusive proof. Some recently reported yowie incidents claim that the death and mutilation of household pets, such as dogs, are the result of yowie attacks. Other people claim that the animals' deaths can be attributed to attacks by wild animals such as dingoes.[23]

Australian Capital Territory

In 2010, a Canberra man spotted a creature that may have been a yowie in his garage. The man reported the creature as being covered in hair, juvenile with long arms. He said it was definitely trying to communicate with him.[24]

New South Wales

There have been hundreds of accounts of yowie-sightings in New South Wales, including:

In the mid-1970s, the Queanbeyan Festival Board and 2CA together offered a AUD200,000 reward to anyone who could capture and present a yowie: the reward is yet to be claimed.[31][32]

Northern Territory

In the late 1990s, there were several reports of yowie sightings in the area around Acacia Hills.[12] One such sighting was by mango farmer Katrina Tucker who reported in 1997 being just metres away from a hairy humanoid creature on her property.[12] Photographs of the footprint were collected at the time.[12]


The Springbrook region in south-east Queensland has had more yowie reports than anywhere else in Australia.[11] In 1977, former Queensland Senator Bill O'Chee reported to the Gold Coast Bulletin he had seen a yowie while on a school trip in Springbrook.[10][11] O'Chee compared the creature he saw to the character Chewbacca from Star Wars,[33] telling reporters that the creature he saw had been over 3 metres tall.[34]

A persisting story is that of the Mulgowie Yowie, last reported to be seen in 2001.[35]

In March 2014, two yowie searchers claimed to have filmed the yowie in South Queensland using an infrared tree camera, collected fur samples, and found large footprints.[36][37] Later that year, a Gympie man told media he had encountered yowies on several occasions, including conversing with, and teaching some English to, a very large male yowie in the bush north east of Gympie,[38] and several people in Port Douglas claimed to have seen yowies, near Mowbray and at the Rocky Point range.[39]

Prominent yowie hunters

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Healy & Cropper 2006.
  2. Joyner, Graham C. (1977). The Hairy Man of South Eastern Australia. ISBN 0908127006.
  3. "Layers of significance – Reconciliation Place and the Acton Peninsula, Canberra". National Museum of Australia. 28 August 2009. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013.
  4. Healy & Cropper 2006, p. 6.
  5. Willis, Paul (13 June 2002). "Yowie". Catalyst. ABC Television. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Gilroy, Rex (7 August 1980). "Why Yowies are Fair Dinkum". Australasian Post. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013.
  7. "Sydney Morning Herald article, 1912". Dean Harrison's Australian Yowie Research. 23 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013.
  8. Clark 2012, p. 227.
  9. Emmer 2010, p. 83.
  10. 1 2 Healy, Samantha (2 May 2010). "New film needs beast of a man to be the next yowie". The Sunday mail. Queensland: News Ltd. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Tim the Yowie Man 2001, pp. 41-48.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Cunningham, Matt (21 April 2009). "'Dog killed by Yowie'". NT News. News Ltd. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  13. "Superstitions of the Australian Aborigines:The Yahoo", Australian and New Zealand Monthly Magazine, 1 (2), February 1842, cited in Holden 2001, p. 47
  14. Telfer, William (1980), Mills, R., ed., The Walladabah Manuscripts: Recollections of the early days, p. 55, cited in Holden 2001, pp. 76–77
  15. Holden 2001, pp. 39-49.
  16. Jones, Margaret (31 July 1987). "It's spot the yowie time again". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 15.
  17. "Milburn Creek", Australian Town and Country Journal: 811, 18 November 1876, cited in Holden 2001, p. 70
  18. Campbell, Ian (9 December 2014). "Batemans Bay yowie sighting an Australian first". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015.
  19. M'Cooey, H.J. (9 December 1882), "The Naturalist: Australian Apes", Australian Town and Country Journal: 747, cited in Holden 2001, pp. 75
  20. Holden 2001, p. 76.
  21. Friend, Donald (1915-1989) (1956). A collection of Hillendiana: comprising vast numbers of facts and a considerable amount of fiction concerning the goldfield of Hillend and environs. Sydney: Ure Smith.
  22. Holden 2001, p. 77-79.
  23. "Yowie may have killed puppy". ninemsn. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  24. Crick, Ritchie (26 September 2010). "The truth is out there". Sunday Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  25. "Missing link sought in mystery". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 March 1977.
  26. 1 2 3 4 Lion, Patrick (4 June 2012). "Panthers, yowie men and a headless roo, the real X-files of New South Wales". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  27. Montgomery, JG (June 2014), WYRD–A Personal Journey into the Beliefs and Philosophies of the Known and Unknown, CFZ Press
  28. Corbett, Jeff (30 November 2010). "In search of yowies". Newcastle Herald. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  29. Shearer, Geoff (26 May 2012). "Animal Planet TV crew capture audio they believe proves existence of yowies". The Courier-Mail. News Ltd. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  30. Brown, Jamie (15 June 2013). "Yowie sighted at Bexhill - witness asks to stay anonymous". The Northern Star. APN Australian Regional Media. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013.
  31. Tim the Yowie Man (20 September 2013). "Respect the lore". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  32. "Home-made 'Yowie'". The Canberra Times. 26 October 1976. p. 7. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013.
  33. Clark 2012, pp. 226-227.
  34. "Bill O'Chee becomes Brisbane Times blogger". The Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014.
  35. Gould, Joel (1 June 2013). "Legend of elusive yowie living on in Mulgowie". The Queensland Times. Queensland: APN Australian Regional Media. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013.
  36. Donaghey, Kathleen; O'Brien, Connor (19 October 2014). "New 'sightings' in Queensland of the mythical Yowie have sparked a spat between rival hunters". The Courier Mail.
  37. Auerbach, Taylor (8 April 2014). "Hunters claim to have captured Bigfoot's Australian cousin downunder". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014.
  38. "Yowies: 'they're out there I've spoken with them'". The Gympie Times. 20 September 2014. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014.
  39. Patterson, Angelique (16 October 2014). "Port Douglas on yowie watch after close encounters with strange beasts". The Cairns Post. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014.
  40. Gilroy 2001.
  41. Bowen, Jill (15 December 1976), It's huge, hairy and from Cape York to Tasmania the monster Yowie prowls, The Australian Women's Weekly
  42. Healy & Cropper 2006, p. 13.
  43. Shuker, Karl P. N. (1995). "The Alien Zoo". In search of prehistoric animals; Do giant extinct creatures still exist? (1 ed.). Blanchford. p. 189. ISBN 0-7137-2469-2. Rex Gilroy... collected over 3,000 sightings of a giant hairy creature sighted across the continent.
  44. Potts, Andrew (27 November 2012). "Yowie seeker, 68, has something to prove". GoldCoast.com.au. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  45. "The Search For Bigfoot: Is Bigfoot Real?". The Huffington Post. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  46. Rex Gilroy: Yowie Hunter, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), 7 October 2013, retrieved 17 March 2014
  47. Lewis, Maria (13 April 2014). "'Bigfoot has Australian genes!': The myth and mystery behind Australia's bush monster the Yowie". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on 14 April 2014.
  48. Gould, Joel (1 June 2013). "Yowie not to blame for stock losses". The Queensland Times. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  49. "I was rugby-tackled by a Yowie, man claims". The Australian. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  50. "Tim the Yowie Man licks chocolate giant in court". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 15 December 2004.
  51. "Yowie Man, chocolate maker go head-to-head". ABC Canberra. 14 September 2004. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013.
  52. Shorthouse, Janel; Gaffney, Annie (24 April 2014), Close encounter of the 'Yowie' kind, Australian Broadcasting Commission, archived from the original on 24 April 2014


  • Clark, Jerome (2012), Unexplained! : Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 9781578594276 
  • Coleman, Loren & Patrick Huyghe (2006). The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide. pp. 150–51. ISBN 0-380-80263-5. 
  • Emmer, Rick (2010), Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 9781438130477 
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  • Healy, Tony; Cropper, Paul (2006), The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot, Anomalist Books, ISBN 1933665165 
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  • Joyner, Graham Charles (2009), Monster, myth or lost marsupial? : the search for the Australian gorilla in the jungles of history, science and language, Canberra, ACT: Hayes UK & Thomas, ISBN 978-0-646-51637-0 
  • Rupert Matthews (2014) [2008]. Sasquatch: North America's Enduring Mystery; Kindle locations 2400–2540, 2606–16. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78404-107-6. 
  • Tim the Yowie Man (2001), The adventures of Tim the Yowie Man, cryptonaturalist, Sydney: Random House Australia, ISBN 174051078X 
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