July 16th, 1847
THE WILD MAN OF THE AUSTRALIAN WOODS
A creature described by the natives as something very similar to an ourang-outang is supposed by many colonists to exist in the mountain ranges at the back of Western Port, but their ideas of it are mixed up with such a superstitious dread as to induce many to consider it only in the light of an imaginary being, created by their own fears, or by interested parties amongst themselves; but the fact of some strange and peculiar tracts having been noticed in the ranges, recorded in the Port Phillip papers at the time they were discovered, and many other circumstances, seem to indicate that there is some animal resident there which has not yet been seen by a white man; and from the position of this tract of country, being quite out of any road pursued by European travellers, it is very possible such a thing may exist.
An account of this animal was given me by Worrougetolon, a native of the Woeworong tribe, in nearly the following words:
He is as big as a man and shaped like him in every respect, and is covered with stiff bristly hair, excepting about the face, which is like an old mans full of wrinkles; he has long toes and fingers, and piles up stones to protect him from the wind or rain, and usually walks about with a stick, and climbs trees with great facility; the whole of his body is hard and sinewy, like wood to the touch.
Worrongby also told me that many years since, some of these creatures attacked a camp of natives in the mountains, and carried away some women and children, since which period they have had a great dread of moving about there after sunset. The only person now alive who killed one, he informed me, was Carbora, the great doctor, who had succeeded in striking one in the eye with his tomahawk. On no other part of his body was he able to make the least impression.
All this might be very true when it is considered that, in the time before the white people came, their stone tomahawk, was not by any means a sharp weapon. The body of the South American sloth is to the touch as hard as wood, and I question much if a tomahawk such as I have seen used makes any impression on its thick skin.
On one occasion, when pheasant shooting, about three days journey in the mountains, in company with two natives and a white man, we constructed a bark hut, and had retired to repose, when, shortly afterwards, I was startled by a most peculiar cry, very different from any of the other noises which are heard from the wild animals inhabiting these ranges.
I should have previously mentioned, that the blacks, after the fatigues of the day, had very soon fallen asleep; but, on the noise rousing them they both started up, and seized their guns with the utmost horror depicted on their countenances.
Not a word escaped them, and the mysterious sound still echoed amongst the hills. On my asking one, in rather a loud voice, what he was frightened at, he desired me not to speak loud; that the shouts which had aroused them proceeded from a bundyilcarno, or devil, which is the name they have given this thing.
The noise shortly died away in the distance, and I once more endeavoured to sleep. Neither of my natives would lie down for the night, and as soon as day dawned, they insisted on leaving the scene of this strange occurrence, and going to some distant part.
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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