1876 - Town and Country Article
From the Australian Town and Country Journal for November 18, 1876.
It relates the story of a group of people encountering a strange creature near Wyangala Dam in mid-western NSW. The entire fascinating story is as follows:
WHAT WAS IT? - Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature, that inhabited some part of the wildest, inaccessible, rugged and sequestered haunts of the rocky mountains and gorges in the colony namely the Yahoo-Devil Devil or the Hairy Man of the Wood - which to this day they stand in awe and terror of.
I, for one, sympathise with the superstitions or aboriginal sayings of those wild and unsophisticated denizens of the Australian bush - that their aboriginal tradition of such unearthly mongrels of monsters have and do now exist- though so rare, and not as yet seen or believed in by white men.
Fourteen days ago, and not more than ten miles from here, towards the head of the Lachlan River, on Coolamba station (Hammond\\\'s), in one of the most secluded and melancholy spots imaginable, imperceptibly a terror of awe creeps over every one that has to pass through this far and wide known gorge or death-chasm of the river.
While a lad of the name of Porter (a son of Porter, a settler on the Lachlan) was shepherding a flock of his father\\\'s sheep, near to the dismal rocky bridge or gorge, as so called, an inhuman, unearthly-looking being was seen by the lad coming towards him from the high, rugged and precipitous rocks.
The dogs, on observing such an unknown monster, would not attack, became timid, and crouched around the lads legs, who became horror-struck with fear; left the sheep to their fate, and ran, together with his collies, for home.
On relating the inhuman sight he had seen, which was not credited by his father and others at home, they, however, at last, mustered courage, and went to the exact place described, but could find or see nothing of the hairy man.
On Saturday last, however, a fishing party of young men and young women went to the Rocky Bridge waterholes for a nights sport. These waterholes are famed, far and near, for quality and quantity of fish. It is customary for those bent for a good sport to remain for the night, and, as a matter of course, a large fire is made. On the evening of this memorable day, two hours before sun-down, the young men and some of the women went to set their lines, leaving one of their young friends to boil the billy and prepare supper.
While engaged, the young woman was suddenly startled by observing a man, as she naturally imagined at first sight, was one of their own party coming towards the fire, but on walking closer, discovered the appearance to be unsightly and inhuman, bearing in every way the shape of a man with a big red face, hands and legs covered over with long, shaggy hair, from fright became almost spell-bound, screamed and screeched, but unable to run.
The men, on hearing such unearthly cries, left their fishing lines and ran with all speed towards their comrade. On reaching the fire, the monster of alarm was only distant some fifty yards. On their appearing it stood for a minute or two and turned away and made for the rocks.
Two of the men armed themselves with a tomahawk and cudgel and followed this extraordinary phenomena of nature for a short distance up the rocky and rugged mountain; when suddenly it turned round, and stood viewing the men as they were approaching. They also halted, being about sixty yards from the object of terror, commanding a full view of his whole shape and make, resembling that of a big slovenly man.
The head was covered with dark grissly hair, the face with shaggy darkish hair, the back and belly and down the legs covered with hair of a lighter colour. This devil-devil - or whatever it may be called- doubled round, and hurriedly made back towards the fire and women again. On seeing him coming, a fearful commotion amongst the females and a kind of supernatural terror amongst the men took place. In the meantime, before reaching the camp, it sided away towards the inaccessible rocky mount.
The names of two of the men who witnessed and took part in in the scene are Porter and Dun, well-known settlers on the Abercrombie and Lachlan River. Mr Laner, another settler from the Lachlan, has informed me the other day that the neighbours all round have organised a party to go in search of the human monster, and hunt him down, dead or alive. It is not many weeks ago that I recorded the remains of a similar animal being found in the Walla Walla scrub.
It is well known to the old settlers for the last 30 odd years, that the blacks will never camp within miles of this death-like chasm of the Lachlan, though they come long distances to fish on adjoining waterholes, but leave before sundown to camp miles away. Whether this be the blacks veritable Yahoo- devil-devil- or the white man\\\'s hairy man of the wood, time, it is hoped, will now shortly tell.
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