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Location: Canarvon Gorge, Queensland

Event: Yowie Sightings Various

Date: 1993

Source: The Courier Mail. 29th of January 1994.

Weird things are happening in outback Queensland. Small ape-like critters are hopping amid the rocks. Scaring the living daylights out of the lonely timber-getters. Stalking innocent youths. God knows what else.

Yep. If you happen to be wandering about the Carnarvon Gorge, best to keep an eye out. That's where the Junjuddis mostly hang out. You'll know if you see one - little hairy fellers just over a metre tall. Torso like a man's. Limbs like an ape. Kind of smelly I hear.

Not many people have seen one. Those that do tend to say nothing for fear of being relocated to one of those funny farms they built in the 50's for people who saw flying saucers.

According to former Carnarvon Gorge National Parks and Wildlife officer Grahame Walsh, Junjuddis are out there. He tells of seasoned bushmen who won't camp in Junjuddi country. Once, at the backblocks at the headwaters of the Maranoa River, Mr. Walsh himself saw fresh tracks. "They were like a 5 year old would make," he says. "I followed them up a hill but then I lost them. About the only thing that could have made similar markings was a hairy-nosed wombat walking on its hind legs - and they're rare as Junjuddis anyway."

Like the Himalayan Yeti, China's Chi Chi, and Canada's Sasquatch, the Junjuddi is notoriously reclusive - often glimpsed at but never photographed. Aboriginal folklore describes a typical Junuddi as hairy with an elongated head. Males of the species sport blue fur. Like I say, you'll know one if you see one.

At Charters Towers in 1979, a youth reported being set upon by a small hairy man answering the description. In June timber-getter Leo Denton has also seen the tracks and heard cries "like chooks cackling" in places where there are no hens. His wife Joy tells of seeing fresh Junjuddi tracks "like a kids bare feet" in the dust.

Yet another timber man, Graham Griggs, now living at Biggenden, is said to have been kept awake at night by Junjuddis leaping mischievously in the shadows of his bush camp. "He said they were jumping in between his tent and the fire," recalls Graham Walsh of the incident. "They were leaving tracks all around. They scared him so much he came into town. "They were a lot of reports 20 years ago, but people don't get out on their properties the way they used to. In the old days, if they wanted to check something, they went on horseback. Nowadays people go in a vehicle."

Who can blame them? With so many Junjuddis at large, a person can't be too careful. Funny part is, for all the sightings, both apocryphal and first hand, there exists an almost complete absence of hard evidence. A few plaster casts of footprints. And that is all.

Graham Walsh is unfazed; the ruggedness of Carnarvon Gorge terrain would make it quite plausible for a tribe of wee ape men to live unmolested in the area, where often the only means of human entry is a rope down a cliff face.

"There is something out there and I'm out to prove, just as much that they don't exist, as I'm out there to they do exist," says this acknowledged expert on Aboriginal rock painting. "People will probably think I'm mad but local sightings combined with what the Aboriginals saw is hard to disregard. I'll just keep looking."

So, do Junjuddis exist? Do we really want to find them if they do? Would a Junjuddis assimilate easily into our modern world if captured? Are these pint sized King Kongs best left in the twilight zone along with Bigfoot and the Yeti?

Neither real nor unreal, but somewhere in between. A tantalizing mystery. That's what I would prefer. Leave the Junjuddi to live as he always has - a kind of Scarlet Pimpernel of the imagination, appearing and disappearing, causing no harm to anyone. Too late to wish that for the Giant Panas - let alone the Gorillas and Orang-utans in their day.

Perhaps they, too, would have been best left as figments of the imagination - undiminished by zoos and gawking humanity. - well said.

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