1871 - Illawarra Mercury Article
'A supposed Gorilla', newspaper cutting on the back of the plate deplicting gorillas in a copy of Beeton's Dictionary of Natural History (London 1871) in the Woolongong Public Library. The cutting is inscribed 'Mercury 14th April 1871' and is probably from The Illawarra Mercury (Woolongong) of that date. The same The Empire (Sydney) 17th April 1871, p.2.
The following particulars have been supplied to us by Mr. George Osbourne, of the Illawara Hotel, Dapto, concerning a strange looking animal, which he saw last Monday, and which he believes to be a Gorilla.
It is to be hoped successful means may be adopted to capture the animal, (alive if possible), as it is quite evident it is one of the greatest natural curiosities yet found in the colony. Together with the interest attatched to the peculiarity of this strange "monster in human form", there is something very remarkable and suggestive in the fact, that he should have presented himself to Mr. Osbourne, while that gentleman was going his rounds, collecting a census.
The following are Mr. Osbournes remarks concerning the animal:- On my way back from Mr. Matthew Reen's, coming down a range about half a mile behind Mr. John Graham's residence, at Avondale, after sunset, my horse was startled at seeing an animalcoming down a tree, which, I thought at the moment to be an Aboriginal, and when it got to within about eight feet from the ground it lost its grip and fell.
My feelings at the moment were anything but happy, but although my horse was restless I endervoured to get a good glimpse of the animal by following it as it retreated until it disappeared in to a gully.
It somewhat resembled the shape of a man, acording to the following desription:- Height, about 5 feet, slender proportioned, arms long, legs like a human being, only the feet being about 18 inches long, and shaped like an iguana, with long toes, the muscles of the arms and chest being well devaloped, the back of the head straight, with the neck and body, but the front or face projected forward, with monkey features, every particle of the body exept the feet and face was covered with black hair, with tan-coloured streak from the neck to the adomen.
While looking at me its eyes and mouth were in motion, after the fashion of a monkey. It walked quadruped fashion, but every few paces it would turn around and look at me following it, supporting the body with the two legs and one arm, while the other arm was placed across the hip. I also noticed that it had no tail.
It appears that the two children named Summers saw the same animal or one similar in the same locality about two years ago, but they say it was then only the size of a boy about 13-14 years of age. Perhaps this is the same animal that Mr. B. Rixon saw at the Cordeaux River about five or six years ago. The querie is, "Where did it come from?"
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