The origins of the yowie (also "Yowie-Whowie" and yahoo) may lie in a mythological character in native Australian Aboriginal folklore. This creature's characteristics and legend are sometimes interchangeable with the Bunyip.
Robert Holden recounts several stories that support this from the nineteenth century, including this European account from 1842;
“ The natives of Australia...believe in...[the]Yahoo...This being they describe as resembling a man...of nearly the same height,...with long white hair hanging down from the head over the features...the arms as extraordinarily long, furnished at the extremities with great talons, and the feet turned backwards, so that, on flying from man, the imprint of the foot appears as if the being had travelled in the opposite direction. Altogether, they describe it as a hideous monster of an unearthy character and ape-like appearance. ” Another story, collected from an Aboriginal source, seems to confirm the creature as a part of the Dreamtime.
“ Old Bungaree a Gunedah aboriginal ...said at one time there were tribes of them [yahoos] and they were the original inhabitants of the country-he said they were the old race of blacks... [The yahoos] and the blacks used to fight and the blacks always beat them but the yahoo always made away...being...faster runners. ”
On the other hand, Jonathan Swift's yahoos from Gulliver's Travels, and European traditions of hairy wild men, are also cited as a possible source.
Nineteenth Century eyewitness accounts In the 1870s, accounts of ‘Indigenous Apes’ appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal. The earliest account in November 1876 asked readers; “Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature…namely the Yahoo-Devil Devil, or hairy man of the wood.
In an article entitled “Australian Apes” appearing six years later, a Mr. H. J. McCooey, claimed to have seen an "indigenous ape" on the south coast of New South Wales;
“A few days ago I saw one of these strange creatures…on the coast between Bateman’s Bay and Ulladulla… I should think that if it were standing perfectly upright it would be nearly 5 feet high. It was tailless and covered with very long black hair, which was of a dirty red or snuff-colour about the throat and breast. Its eyes, which were small and restless, were partly hidden by matted hair that covered its head… I threw a stone at the animal, whereupon it immediately rushed off…”
” McCooey offered to capture an ape for the Australian Museum for £40. According to Robert Holden, a second outbreak of reported ape sightings appeared in 1912] The yowie appeared in Donald Friend's Hillendiana, a collection of writing about the goldfields near Hill End in New South Wales. Friend refers to the yowie as a species of bunyip. Robert Holden also cites the appearance of the yowie in a number of Australian tall stories in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Contemporary accounts Yowie reports have continued to the present day with the trail of evidence following the pattern familiar to most unidentified hominids around the world – i.e., eyewitness accounts, mysterious footprints of hotly-disputed origin, and a lack of conclusive proof. Some recently reported yowie incidents claim that the death and mutilation of household pets, such as dogs, are the result of yowie attacks. Other people claim that the animals' deaths can be attributed to attacks by wild animals such as dingoes.
Rex Gilroy Since the mid 1970s, paranormal enthusiast Rex Gilroy, a self-proclaimed cryptozoologist, has attempted to popularize the Yowie. He claims to have collected over 3000 reports of them and proposed that they comprise a relict population of extinct ape or Homo species.