1876 - Portland Guardian, Victoria
Portland Guardian, Victoria
November 24th, 1876
A WILD MAN OF THE WOODS
The Milburn Creek correspondent of Sydney Evening News, under date 11th November, writes as follows: Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature, that inhabited some parts of the wildest, inaccessible, rugged secluded haunts of rocky mountains and gorges in the colony, namely, the Yahoo-Devil-Devil, or the Hairyman of the woods, which to this day they stand in fearful awe and terror of.
I for one, sympathise with the superstitions, or aboriginal sayings, of those wild and unsophisticated people of the Australian bush - that their aboriginal tradition of such unearthly mongrels of monsters have and do now, exist - although so rare, and not as yet often 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 Coolomba Station (Hemmonds), in one of the most secluded and melancholy looking spots imaginable, imperceptibly a terror of awe creeps over everyone that has to pass through this far and wide known gorge or death chiasm of the river.
Whil [undecipherable] of the name of Porter (a son of Porter, a settler on the Lachlan) was shepherding a flock of his fathers sheep, near to the disman rocky bridge or gorge, or so called, an inhuman, unearthly looking being was seen by the lad coming direct towards him from the high, rugged, and precipitous rocks. The dogs, on observing such an unknown monster, would not attack and became timid, and crouched around the lads legs, who became horror struck with fear; he left the sheep to their fate, and ran, together with the collies for home.
He spoke of the inhuman sight he had seen, which was not credited by his Father and others at home, they, however, at last mustered the courage, and went to the exact place described, but could not find or see nothing of the hairy man.
On Saturday last, however, a fishing party of young men went to the Rocky-Bridge waterhole for a nights sport. These waterholes are famed, far and near, for quantity and quality of fish. It is customary for those bent for 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, 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 with long, shaggy hair. – From fright, she became almost spell bound, screamed and screeched- but was unable to run.
The men on hearing such unearthly cries, left their fishing lines and ran with all speed towards their comrade. In reaching the fire, the monster of alarm was only distant some 50 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 phenomenon of nature for a short distance up the rocky and rugged mountain, when suddenly it turned around and stood observing the men as they were approaching. They also halted, being then almost 60 yards from the object of their terror, commanding a full view of his whole shape and make, resembling that of a big slovenly man.
The head was covered with dark grisly hair, the face with shaggy dark hair, the back and belly, and down the legs covered with hair of a lighter colour. The devil-devil, or whatever it may be called – doubled around, and hurriedly make back towards the fire and woman again.
On seeing him coming, a fearful commotion amongst the females and kind of supernatural terror among the men took place. In the meantime before reaching camp, it sided away towards the inaccessible rocky mount.
The names of the two men who witnessed and took part in the scene are porter and Dunn, well-known settlers on the Abercrombie and Lachlan Rivers. Mr. Laner, another settler from the Lachlan, was informed the other day that the neighbours all round have organised a party to go on search of the monster and hunt him down, dead or alive.
It was not many weeks ago that I recorded the remains of a similar animal or creature being found at the Walla Walla Scrub. It is week known to the old settlers for last 30 years that the blacks will never camp within miles of this death like chiasm of the Lachlan, though they come distances every year to fish on the adjopining water holes, but leave before sundown to camp miles away.
Whether this be the blacks variable Yahoo – devil devil – or hairyman of the woods, time, it is hoped, will shortly tell.
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