Empire – Sydney
April 17th, 1871
GORILLA AT ILLAWARRA.
We are indebted to the Illawarra Mercury for the following particulars supplied by Mr. George Osborne, of the Illawarra Hotel, Dapto, concerning a strange looking animal, which he saw last Monday, and which he believes was 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 attached 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. Osborne while that gentleman was going his rounds, collecting the census.
The following are Mr. Osbornes remarks concerning the Animal:
On my way from Mr. Matthew Reens, coming down a range about half a mile behind Mr. John Grahams residence, at Avondale, after sunset, my horse was startled at seeing an animal coming down a tree, which I thought at the moment to be an aboriginal, and when it got within about eight feet of the ground it lost its grip and fell.
My feelings at the moment were anything but happy, but although my horse was restless I endeavoured to get a good glimpse of the animal by following it as it retreated until it disappeared into a gully. It somewhat resembled the shape of a man, according to the following description:
Height, about five feet, slender proportioned, arms long, legs like a human being, only the feet being about eighteen inches long, and shaped like an iguana, with long toes, the muscles of the arms and chest being well developed, 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 except the feet and face was covered with black hair, with a tan-coloured streak from the neck to the abdomen.
While looking at me its eyes and mouth were in motion, after the fashion of a monkey. It walked quadruped fashion, but at 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 tall. It appears that 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 thirteen or fourteen 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 query is: Where did it come from?
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