Byron Bay, New South Wales 1902
Location: Byron Bay, New South Wales
Date of Sighting: 1902
Event: Yowie Sighting
Date of report: June 20, 1982
Source: Daily News. Via Paul Cropper
Witness: Patrick Ratcliff
[This article originally appeared in a very poor quality clipping from the ‘Daily News’ of June 20, 1982. The ‘News’ appears to be a North Coast paper from the Byon Bay area. I (Paul Cropper), have quoted lines from the article where they were unreadable. Educated guesses are in brackets.
The incident involved Patrick Joseph Maher, the father of a well known (in 1982), Tweed Resident, 83-year-old Sarah Ratcliff. A note on the clipping states that Sarah Ratcliff died in 1987 aged 90-years. The sighting took place in 1904 between Byron Bay and Tyagarah.]
“Did Yowies [roam] freely along the Tweed- Byron Coastline [last] century? According to an 83-year-old Tweed woman, there have been sightings of the …(?)…. Tall ape like animal …(?)…... and the experience so frightened him that he put the family cane plantation up for [sale] and took the family away from the tweed. The incident, although …(?)….. ago, is still vivid in Mrs. Ratcliff’s mind.
Her father, Patrick Joseph [Maher], was a well respected member of the [Byron] bay Community. At the time …(?)… Mrs. Ratcliff’s [father] was returning home on horse back …(?)… Byron Bay to Ty[agarah] …(?)…. 10.30pm. “He had to cross what we called the Brongil …(?)… about two feet of water …(?)… the sea used to come in [with the] tide.
They were building a stone bridge (causeway) across it and it had about 10 feet of it built and there were heaps of stone there to finish it. When Dad got close to it the horse he was riding began to shy and snort, and started to race across the water to the other side. Dad looked back to see what frightened the horse and he saw the Yowie standing on top of the stones. He said it looked like a huge monkey with black arms and hairy all over”.
Patrick Maher afterwards described the creature as ..(?)… big hairy man. It was seven to eight feet tall …(?)… sight of the Yowie, he was thrown off by the frightened horse. “[Dad] didn’t know what to do so he ran into the cane and …(?)… ,” she said. “He stayed in the cane all [night]” …(?)… immediately put the house and land up for sale.
The children used to take short cuts through the ..(?)… land to School at Myocum, but after the incident they were made to use the road to School for fear of attack by the Yowie.
Mrs. Ratcliff’s sister E…(?)… remembers her father telling the Yowie story to her years later. “It was like a big hairy man but it had no neck,” was how her father described the animal……..
Almost one year later, according to Mrs. Ratcliff, the beast was seen [again] ….(?)… three sons ..(?)… from a dance at Byron Bay along the same road that had been used by Mr. Maher. According to the report the beast leapt at the boys who were also on horse back. It jumped on the back of one of their ponies, catching hold of one of the boy’s coats and badly ripping it.
“It …(?)… then hung onto the sadle,” Mrs. Ratcliff recalled. She said that the animal had so badly clawed the horses back that it had to be destroyed.
Courtesy of Paul Cropper, a follow up from the previous story:-
Source: The Brunswick, Another River and its people by Jim Brokenshire, Published by Brunswick Valley Historical Society in 1988.
‘Stories of sightings of a tall ape-like animal have been told by Mrs. Sarah Ratcliff. Mrs. Ratcliff told how her father, Patrick Maher, was returning home to Targrah from Byron Bay on horseback, in 1904. It was about 10.30pm and after crossing the Belongil, the horse had become scared and when Patrick Maher looked back he saw the “Yowie” - “like a big hairy man with no neck” – standing on a heap of stones.
It was judged to be 7 or 8 feet tall. The horse bolted and the Yowie gave chase. Mr Maher lost sight of it when he was thrown from the horse. He ran into the cane and stayed there all night. According to his daughter, he was still badly shaken when he reached home in the morning. The property was sold as quickly as possible and the family moved to Tumbulgum.
About a year later, an account of three brothers who lived nearby was reported. The lads had been returning on horseback, from a dance at Byron Bay. They were pursued by a beast, which leapt onto the rump of one of the ponies. The beast went with them hanging onto the saddle until they turned off the road into the home track.
The rider’s coat was torn and the horse was badly injured and had to be destroyed. The injured boy was put into Hospital, and according to the report, “They were all ill after their fright.”
© Copyright AYR
Australian Yowie Research - Data Base