Yowie. Illustrations by Bill Rasmussen
Yowie. Illustrations by Bill Rasmussen Contributed

'Giant, heavily built hairy thing': Yowie sighted

THEY first saw it in their mango paddock on their property in Tucabia.

It was a big dark figure walking towards the house.

"It was big and dark, it had big shoulders, [it] seemed not to have a neck from its head to its shoulders," the woman who saw it said.

A few days later her husband was up in the mango trees.

"I heard this big bang, crash, smash through the scrub. I turned to see the black back of something. It loped through the bush," he said.

So what did they see?

"It was a yowie," the husband said.

Another man was driving south heading towards Grafton at 2.30 in the morning when he saw what he thought was a "slightly stooped large person with a big black coat on".

"I went up Centenary Drive and as I climbed the hill and got over the crest of the hill I noticed something in the middle of the road taking its time to cross the road.

"It was a giant, heavily built hairy thing..."


These are two of the recorded yowie sightings in the Grafton area on the Yowie Hunters Australia website.

There are most likely more, they just haven't made it onto the website.

Yowie Hunters Australia coordinator Dean Harrison said he receives witness statements on a weekly basis but processing each one takes time.

"This isn't a full time gig but I could easily make it full time. Documenting and interviewing takes a lot of time."

Mr Harrison has made it his passion to document yowie sightings ever since his second encounter more than 20 years ago.

"After my first experience with a yowie at Mount Tambourine in 1995 I had nowhere to go.

"But it wasn't until my second encounter in 1997 that I started the database. Once you walk away from something as traumatic as that you want answers."

In 1997, Mr Harrison was in bushland at Ormeau when he was chased by a yowie.

"The aggression was nothing you had ever seen, it was terrifying."

Then in 2009 he was hit by one in Kilkivan.

"I've had a couple of close calls. Now I don't go out alone in specific areas."

>> READ MORE: ''I was nearly killed by a Yowie... twice!"


Yowie hunter Dean Harrison
Yowie hunter Dean Harrison


But Mr Harrison said he doesn't think all yowies are dangerous.

"Their personalities are as diverse as humans. There's some bad ones but also some good ones.

"I used to knock around with one in the Blue Mountains. He was like a big kid, he just wanted to play games."

Mr Harrison said he is often asked why he doesn't have footage of a yowie, after his numerous encounters.

"First thing your eyes say to your brain this doesn't fit any boxes in what you know.

"You're so busy trying to digest, make sense of what you're seeing the seconds are ticking by.

"Then this thing sees you so by the time you get your camera out he's long gone.

"He's not going to stand around juggling balls for you."

But he said technology is changing, at some stage there will be footage of a yowie caught on dash cam or phone.

In the meantime he has seen the most credible yowie footage.

"Two young guys were driving along this dirt road in the middle of the Watagans forest, west of Newcastle.

"It was 2002 and they had an analogue video camera.

"They saw something up ahead so they pulled up, zoomed in, and there was a yowie standing behind a tree. He had his head around the tree, chewing on something and he kept leaning out, then back, out then back.

"It was really good footage but the problem was they watched it so many times they de-pixelated the tape and they ruined it.

"By the time I got a copy of it was worn out and grainy," Mr Harrison said.

Ulladulla- 2016. Credit: Brett Y.
Ulladulla- 2016. Credit: Brett Y. Australian Yowie Research - (AYR Official) | Facebook

The yowie has been dubbed a mythical creature but Mr Harrison said they're not mythical, just elusive.

And with "thousands" thought to be living in Australia it can be expected reports of sightings will keep rolling in.

"I get calls from all over Australia but particularly the eastern seaboard and Great Dividing Range.

"The hotspot starts west of Melbourne and follows the Great Dividing Range all the way up to Mackay.

"Sightings start to taper off west of Mackay but the reason for this as there is not as many human populations in this area.

"Areas where houses back onto virgin forest is where you're going to get the majority of sightings.

"Places such as the Blue Mountains, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hinterlands."

Mr Harrison said yowies have been around since the before the 1800s with early settlers writing home about "Australia's primate".

"When the white people settled here they were told about the hairy man in the forest.

"There are historical documents from the early 1800s explaining the same beast still being seen today.

"They were writing back to England saying Australia had their own primate."


  • 1880 - police conduct search for "extraordinary creature" in the bush on the Serpentine River
  • 1974 - motorists see yowie on Grafton-Casino Road
  • 1978 - yowie spotted by students on school camp at Jackadgery
  • 1980 - campers encounter yowie at Baryulgil
  • 1990 - camper observes yowie on Clarence River at Jackadgery
  • 2011 - motorist spots yowie on Centenary Drive
  • 2013 - yowie sighted on property in Tucabia

Have you ever seen a yowie or something unexplained around Grafton?

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