Tharwa, New South Wales 2003
Location: Tharwa, A.C.T.
Events: Stalking and Vocalisation
I was recently reading a book on the paranormal and was reading a section about yowies. I read about someone’s encounter in Canberra and read about Tim the Yowie Man’s encounters in the Brindabella’s. Then I read the description of the yowie, in particular the ‘terrifying growl’, and along with the above mentioned encounters near Canberra I realized that an experience I’ve had in that area may now be worth reporting. Although since it has happened I have dismissed it, although I still tell the story to scare young relatives.
In 2003 I worked as an outdoor instructor for Outward Bound Australia which was based in Tharwa, ACT, on the edge of Namadgi National Park south of Canberra. One of the trips I guided on was for Canberra Girls Grammar year 10, a week long tour of the Namadgi National Park.
The first encounter of the trip happened on maybe the second or third night, but I haven’t forgotten the details. We camped on a clearing on the Orroral ridge, just east of the Orroral Valley and west of Booroomba Rocks.
It was a clear night so the girls decided to sleep out on a large tarp instead of individual bivouacs, which was fine considering no rain was forecast. Being a male instructor, I decided to sleep away from the girls, probably about 15 – 20 metres away. At about 2.15 am I something woke me up, and as I woke I remember thinking “I hope I didn’t really hear that.” About 10 seconds later I heard again what had woken me up, this time the group of girls (about 16 of them) had been woken by the sound and started gasping in terror. By this stage I had goose bumps and was a little scared, the girls were quietly freaking out and trying to quietly get my attention. I told them to stay calm and stay where they were.
The sound is hard to describe without a demonstration, but it was a roaring/growling sound that I’d never heard before. I had been doing outdoor education for about three years and have heard donkeys, koalas, all types of live stock, dingoes and wombats.
I have never heard a more unearthly sound. I could tell that whatever was making the noise was far away, perhaps a kilometre, but it must have been extremely loud for us to hear it, it was a distant, loud noise. That night I hoped the next time I heard it it hadn’t gotten closer. We heard it one more time, then we heard nothing.
On the last night of the camp, the girls were in their shelters, I was sleeping outside again as it was a clear, still night. We were a few kilometres north of where we heard the growling/roaring noise a few nights earlier. I was woken to the sound of snapping dead branches and saplings. At first I thought a roo or wombat was moving about, but it was different. Instead of the irregular bouncing and pausing of a roo, it was like someone walking and a wombat would not be breaking such large sticks and small trees.
I thought of the noises we had heard the other night and froze. Whatever it was was steadily moving its way toward our camp, directly behind my head as I lay on the ground. I was getting a bit scared when I realized that it had stopped at the edge of our camp clearing, about 20 metres behind my head. It stopped for about 20 – 30 seconds, then started moving around the edge of the clearing with slow, deliberate footsteps, but still making a fair bit of noise.
I still hadn’t worked up the courage to look, the girls were asleep as far as I could tell (the next morning I learnt that none of them had heard it) and I didn’t want it to be startled by me moving, also I maybe didn’t want to see whatever it was, I have to say it was pretty scary. When it was perpendicular to my shoulder, and now maybe 20 – 30 metres away, it continued (to my relief) away and into the bush with the same heavy footfall, breaking branches as it went. I listened as it faded over a slight rise and disappeared.
I did not see what made the growling/roaring noise or what visited our camp, however 16 school girls heard he noise as well. It was not a dream.
As I said earlier, the description of the growl of the yowie and it’s sightings nearby where this took place compelled me to write this account.
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