‘It was looking right at us’: Dozens of Yowie claims on South Coast

Resident Maria Speer's sketch of the strange animal she saw six kilometres south of Eden.
Resident Maria Speer's sketch of the strange animal she saw six kilometres south of Eden.

Eden residents are continuing to debate the possibility of a Yowie in the area. 

Following the report about the long history of the legend of Yowies, numerous people have contacted the Eden Magnet to speak out about their experiences. 

One of these people was former Eden resident Mark Downton. 

Read more: Mysterious reports uncovered of the ‘Gorillas of Eden’

Currently living in Cooma, Mr Downton said he would never forget his encounter with a “strange creature” while travelling down Brown Mountain on his way back to Eden around 25 years ago. 

The now 54-year-old said he was around 30 years old at the time and while he can’t remember the exact day of the occurrence, the vision of the ‘Yowie’ has been burned into his mind.

“Truthfully I am not scared of much but that was the most scary thing I have come across in my life,” Mr Downton told the Eden Magnet. 

Mr Downton’s brother had fallen asleep at the wheel and the car they were in swerved off the road. While Mr Downton said no one was injured, they were unable to move the car out of the ditch.

Mr Downton’s brother hitch hiked back to Eden with plans to return and pick up Mr Downton and their fellow passenger. It was during this wait, when Mr Downton and his friend David were sitting in the car, that the ‘Yowie’ emerged.  

“The birds were making noise but then suddenly it all went quiet,” Mr Downton said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life I will never forget.”

Mr Downton described a five and a half foot tall creature with broad shoulders standing on two legs. He said it was completely black and covered in hair, “like a gorilla”. 

“I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. I was frozen on the spot. It was only 15 feet away and it was looking right at us.

“It wasn’t a human being, I know that much for sure.”

Mr Downton said the creature stood swaying in the spot for number of minutes before turning and walking away. 

“A lot of people say things and make claims but this is very very true. It’s dead real and I won’t ever forget it.”

Over the following weeks and years Mr Downton attempted to get in contact with other people who had made similar claims. 

“I have spoken to a lot of people over the years and during this time [the late 80s and early 90s] a lot people saw this creature.” 

He said the creature was also spotted near Cobargo. 

Questions raised over mysterious creatures

Hello, kitty: A photograph of a print left at the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment has turned the head of big cat handler Vaughan King. Picture: John Geragotellis

Hello, kitty: A photograph of a print left at the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment has turned the head of big cat handler Vaughan King. Picture: John Geragotellis

It’s funny how one mystery can lead to another. 

As devoted readers would know, the Eden Magnet has been writing about the legend of the ‘gorillas of Eden’ recently. 

Numerous people have contacted the paper sharing their encounters with these yowies, but just as many, if not more, are highly skeptical. 

The yowie is a creature that has its roots in Aboriginal oral history. The mythological beast is said to be bigfoot-type creatures that lived in the Australian wilderness.

The mysterious ape-like creature can easily be compared to the North American Sasquatch or the Himalayan yeti.

While most people seem to discount the existence of the yowie, considering it more likely to be a combination of misidentification, folklore and hoax, there are people around who have dedicated their lives to researching and finding yowies. 

One of these men is Paul Cropper. He contacted the Eden Magnet with his findings, and was the reason the paper ran the first story. But the response from the Eden community was unexpected. The online story was shared almost 30 times on Facebook, reaching an audience of more than 7800 people. 

But as more and more people are coming forward with reports of yowie sightings, another mysterious creature is being talked about a little further north. 

On Tuesday, April 25, the Illawarra Mercury publish a report about a man claiming to have proof of a wild panther in the area

An eight centimetre-long paw print left in the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment has piqued the interest of a roving big cat enthusiast, who believes it is proof of panther activity.

Vaughan King, 30, has deemed Austinmer’s Sublime Point track a panther-spotting hotspot and flagged plans for organised surveillance, including a program that would see 24/7 game cameras concealed in area bushland. 

Mr King recently formed the Australian Big Cat Research group and is now focusing his research the footprint, which he said is very different to that of a dog. 

“I immediately thought it looked like the hind foot of a leopard,” Mr King said. “A feral cat would never get that big; the animal that would leave that sort of print would have to be between 50-60kgs.”

So what’s the truth behind these claims? Can yowies really exist and is it possible for a panther to be on the loose in the Illawarra? 

- Editorial