1868 - Empire, Australian Gorilla
Date: April 11, 1868
Under this heading, the Maitland Mercury of Thursday treats its matter of-fact readers to a queer narrative, thus:—"The following narration we present to our readers for what it is worth, morely, promising that our informant gave us the intelligence in all good faith, and appeared to believe most entirely in the truth of the statement.
Patrick Hogan, a free selector on the other side of the Sugarloaf Mountain, towards Lake Macquarie, was falling trees in the bush at about 8 o'clock last Thursday afternoon, when from the surrounding forest, which is thereabouts very dense, there came a creature, in all appearance like a man, but painted with various devices in brilliant colours upon a red ground from head to heel.
The creature was most beautifully formed, and in all respects resembled one of the human species; it stood about five feet eight inches high; had long, tangled hair, and some ornament or bracelet round each knee; also some appearance of clothes about the waist.
It had in each hand a stick which it brandished as it walked along, 'and seemed to know the use of the stick.' Whether this latter circumstance will aid in discovering the nationality of this queer kind of wild man, we leave our readers to judge.
Hogan had a couple of dogs with him, one an old faithful watch dog, which he thought would face anything, the other a young kangaroo pup. The old dog, upon being set upon the apparition, slunk away in fear, but the kangaroo, more bold, barked loudly, but produced no effect upon the wild man, who bore the continued yelpings with the utmost coolness.
Seeing this, Hogan advanced and menaced the creature with his axe, having previously called to it to stand, an order which it treated with as much disdain as the barking of the pup; but when it was in likelihood of being 'axed' to stand, it quickened its pace, and in two or three leaps disappeared.
Hogan turned back to his hut to get a gun which he had there loaded, but on his return could find no trace of the creature, though it appeared that the kangaroo pup had followed it, as its yelpings were heard in the depths of the bush.
"Such is the story that we heard, and we give it as we heard it. The hero of the adventure is not without an opinion as to the genus of his mysterious visitor: he says it is a gorilla. Bearing in mind the descriptions that are familiar to the world of the hideousness of the African gorilla, we do not know how to account for the strange element of beauty which formed so marked a characteristic of this so-called Australian specimen of the species. Perhaps the inversion of things in general which is supposed to have taken place at the old world's antipodes may be the solution of the anomaly."