1912 - Sydney Sun Article
The Sun (Sydney) 10th November 1912.
[The following account was given by a Mr. Carles Harper, described as a surveyor from the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt.]
For many years past vague and mysterious rumours have been current of an Australian gorilla, or "Hairy man", or some such animal, seen on and in the wild uninhabited mountainous and gorges forming the Currickbilly Range, which runs parallel to the south coast of this State, from the head of the Clyde River to North Gippsland. [Harper thinks the Bombala story was perhaps a practical joke since the creature never leaves the dense jungle of the eastern slopes.]
Along the Currickbilly range of mountains, from the head of the Clyde River extending southerly to the Victorian border, the eastern slope consists of excessively broken, lateral ridges, deep gorges, and dense jungles, extremely difficult of access for man or beast; therefore its primeval solitude is very rarely disturbed.
Scientists assert that this animal, like the bunyip, is a myth, and such animals do not, and never did, exist on this continent, although the oldgeneration of aboriginal natives assert the contrary in both cases. In various parts of the southern district of this State on the coastal slopes, and at various times, extending over a very long period, I have met men (and intelligent men at that) who unhesitatingly assert that they have seen this hairy man-shaped animal at short distances.
They were so terrified at the apparition and the hideous noise it made when it saw them that they left their work as timber-getters, and at once cleared out from the locality, leaving their tools and work behind them.
The desription of this animal, seen at different times by different people in several localities, but always in the jungle, avariably concidered. At the risk of being considered by your readers the reincarnation of Ananias for the late Thomas Pepper, I will describe this animal as once seen as briefly as possible.
I had to procceed some distance into the heart of these jungles for a special purpose, accompanied by two large Kangeroo dogs with a strain of the British bulldog in each. [On the night of the second day, having just turned in, they heard a most terrifying sound which utterly demoralised the dogs.
One of the men was induced to throw dry kindling on the fire, illuminating the scrub for distance around.] A huge man-like animal stood erect not twenty yards from the fire, growling, grimacing, and thumping its breast with its huge hand-like paws.
I looked round and saw one of my companions had fainted. He remained unconscious for some hours. The creature stood in one position for some time, sufficiently long enough to enable me to photograpgh him on my brain.
I should say its height when standing erect would be 5ft.8in. to 5ft.10in. Its body, legs and arms were covered with long, brownish-red hair, which shook with every quivering movement of its body. the hair on its shoulder and back parts appeared in the subdued light of the fire to be jet black, and long; but what struck me the most extraordinary was the apparently human shape, but still so very different.
I will commence its detailed description with the feet, which only occasionally I could get a glimpse of. I saw that the metatarsal bones were very short, much shorter than the genus homo, but the phalanges were extremely long, indicating great grasping power by the feet. The fibula bone of the leg bone was much shorter than in man.
The femur bone of the thigh was very long, out of all proportion to the rest of the leg. The body frame was enormous, indicating immense strenght and power of endurance. The arms and forepaws were extremely long and large, and very muscular, being covered with shorter hair.
The head and face were very small, but very human. The eyes were large, dark and piercing, deeply set. A most horrible mouth was ornamented with two large and long canine teeth. When the jaws were closed they protruded over the lower lip.
The stomach seemed like a sack hanging halfway down the thighs, whether natural or a prolapsus, I could not tell. All this observation occupied a few minutes while the creature stood erect, as if the firelight had paralysed him.
After a few more growls, and thumping his breast, he made off, the first few yards erect, then at a faster gait on all fours through the low scrub. Nothing could induce my companions to continue the trip, at which I was rather pleased than otherwise, and returned as quickly as possible out of reach Australian gorillas, rare as they are.
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