THE search is on again in the mountainous country around Wingham for the elusive Yowie of ancient Aboriginal folklore.
According to ‘Yowie Man’ Rex Gilroy, something strange and mysterious could be lurking in remote bushland around Wingham. This has prompted him to launch a research exhibition in a few weeks to search for evidence.
“The fact the Taree-Wingham area may be host to remnant groups of these ape-like hairy beings is an exciting prospect for us. We will soon mount a search for evidence in this district and welcome sightings reports or other information from locals,” Rex said.
As director of the Australian Yowie Research Centre in Katoomba, he says he keeps an open mind and looks for evidence when it come to the question of whether Yowies inhabit the country.
Rex visited the area in 2009 to speak with two locals, Faye Burke and her cousin Alana Garnett who had spotted, what they described as a yowie next to the road when they were driving near Mount George.
Rex has been on the trail of the legendary creature for 55 years. The research centre was established in 1976 with his partner in research and wife, Heather. He has collected thousands of artefacts from decades of national and international exhibitions.
“We possess more than 200 plaster casts of footprints and several thousand sightings claims gathered by me over 55 years of field research,” Rex said.
The Gilroys have also found two primitive fossilised skull types from Wingham and Katoomba that Rex says appear to resemble African Australopithecus robustus.
He said a comparison of footprints years ago showed there are three forms of relict hominids all confused under the term Yowie which is used by both Aboriginals and investigators alike.
While two of the types are human height and three metres tall respectively, the third leaves tracks displaying an opposable big toe.
Rex claims the first two types of Yowies make stone tools, eat meat and wear marsupial hide cloaks and resemble our immediate ancestor, Homo erectus. The other race, Australopithecus is herbivorous and insectivorous and resembles the ape-like ancestors that roamed Africa more than two million years ago.
Rex is a leader in the field and has published 12 books exploring a range of mythological creatures and legends in Australia. Although an amateur researcher, he said he uses scientific methods and knowledge to substantiate his findings.
Rex said he is not about hunting creatures or bringing back a live specimen. Instead, if a specimen was found, he would love the opportunity to study how they survive in the wild.
Rex’s intrigue into the unusual was sparked as a 14-year- old teenager growing up in Sydney when his Scottish father told him stories about the Loch Ness monster and other mysterious happenings. Since Rex formed a strong interest in the hairy man legend he said his life has never been the same.
“You have to have enthusiasm for what you do, otherwise you find nothing,” he said.
Rex encourages people who have made a sighting or have any information to contact him. He said people in the area have often been too frightened to talk about their sighting for the fear of being ridiculed.
“I won’t laugh,” he said.
o Have you made a sighting of a Yowie in the area? Contact the Wingham Chronicle with your story.