In November 2006, a remarkable Yowie sighting took place close to the small northern New South Wales village of Nunderi. Nunderi is nestled into the north-west slopes of the Condong Range, about 5-10kms outside of Murwillumbah.
The case was remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly, it was a multiple witness case. There were four witnesses, two adults and two children. Secondly, I was really impressed with the primary witness, Julie (real name on file). Julie was intelligent, engaging, articulate and an excellent observer. Finally, I was able to investigate the case on site soon after the event.
Nunderi was one of the most impressive Yowie cases that I’ve investigated.
The sighting was initially reported to Dean Harrison’s AYR by one of the adult witnesses, a close female friend of Julie’s, Anne. Anne’s original AYR submission form, sent two days after the sighting, was as follows:
“Location Of Your Sighting: Nunderi….my girlfriends house.
Time Of Your Sighting: 2.30pm.
Description Of The Terrain: Dense bush ….there is a clearing, then it goes into dense thick scrub….from her back yard all the way down the side of her house….lots of big trees….is a steep mountain terrain.
Weather Conditions At The Time Of Your Sighting: It was hot and humid, a clear day.
What Did The Creature Look Like: Big and black and leapt over a bloody lantana bush.
Describe What The Creature Was Doing: Well my friends dog just went running to (the) side perimeter of (the) paddock where we were sitting as we got up and looked it got up from the ground it looked liked and bloody leaped over lantana bush and then ran never seen anything move like it in my life ever.
Other Observations: This is not the first time she has had a visit from her
fury (sic) friend. We found wot (sic) was left of a cows leg and there is not cattle round her we have seen bare foot prints we have cleared bush round her house due to she was worried bout her safety and she has had animals being let out and killed, it has now moved closer to the house and followed 1 of her daughters through the bush whilst walking back from a friends. I would appreciate any help or anything you may give us…”
That email was enough to get this Yowie researchers attention! A one hour flight and a short drive later and I was talking to Julie at her home in Nunderi.
Julie had moved into the house with her daughters seven years earlier. Their spacious, modern house was situated the fringe of a very steep wooded slope. One one side of their house was a steep gully, the upper part filled with a dense jungle of tangled lantana bush. Directly behind the house the hillside was open, but still quite steep.
Two years earlier (2004) several incidents around the house had convinced Julie that someone was lurking in the nearby scrub and attempting to scare her and her family. Firstly, someone had opened the bolt on their rabbit cage and let the animals out. The cage was on the side of the house. At a later date, several rabbits were found dead nearby. Then a paddock gate was opened several times allowing her goat to roam around. On another occasion she had left the house one day and on her return noticed that a large bag of feed she had left beside the fence on her driveway had been moved several feet.
Next, small stones were thrown at Julie and her daughters from the nearby bush. On one occasion as she was walking on the hill behind the house during the day, a single stone was thrown from upslope that hit the ground in front of Julie and rolled straight to her toes. Julie was impressed with the throwers accuracy, even though she saw nothing. She also mentioned stones had been thrown onto the roof, and small stones at the back of the girls while they played in their backyard. Julie had also heard sounds like someone running in the bush near their house.
Julie had called the Murwillumbah police 4 or 5 times during the last 2 years. On each occasion they searched the property but found nothing. As one of the officers told her, “We can’t catch what we can’t see!”. Still concerned, Julie purchased an attack trained german shepherd.
Some edited highlights from our interview follow:
“Fortean: So…things started two years ago with the rabbit and the goat, and what other sort of things were happening?
Julie: Okay, we had rocks that were hitting the roof, little rocks on the roof of the house. My eldest daughter had two little rocks hit her back when she was playing in the backyard. I even had the same myself actually about a month ago standing just at the top of the hill. There’s just a little hill right out the back of the property. I was standing at the top of it and I heard something hit the ground and it bounced right to my feet and it was a little rock as well. Once I started realising that there was a problem, I started venturing up into the bushland a little bit and started to realise that there were lots of tracks that were coming down to the house, lots of very well-worn tracks.
Fortean: This would’ve been really quite terrifying. I mean thinking that somebody’s at your house.
Julie: Yeah, definitely, definitely. I’ve heard noises of a night … I’ve … oh, I think one of the other scary events was a friend of mine went and cleared the top of the hill. There was a lot of lantana bushes and things that were stopping my view through the trees and I realised that there was certain areas where I thought this guy was coming and sitting because you would have areas where it looked like grass, just the long grass because I’ve got real bush grass here but underneath, there was a big hollow and a really worn area where he’d been sitting or lying or whatever it might be. And so I realised, he had sort of almost cave type things situated around the back of the property. So we went up and cleared a lot of the bush and there was one particular day when we heard something coming down.
Now it sounded big, it sounded heavy and it was coming towards us. Now I had a saw in my hands and I think my friend had a cane knife in hers and this obviously wasn’t a deterrent to what we thought was a crazy guy and we ended up backing off towards the other side of the property, down the bottom of the hill and this particular thing came right to the tree line and then it stopped. And we were standing there and thinking gosh, do we run? Do we fight this guy? What do we do? You know, we’re stuck. And then as we sort of walked a little bit, we could hear it walking and then it stopped again but the strange thing was, we couldn’t see anything and it was fairly clear. There’s still quite a few big trees there but it was fairly clear and yet we couldn’t see anyone but we could hear them.
And my friend started shouting out at whatever it was and telling him to come on out and you know, we’d have a go (chuckle) but I got a little bit freaked out because I didn’t know the size of this man or whatever and I decided we should go, and that was the end of that.
Fortean: So there was … how many people were actually there (on the day of the sighting)?
Julie: There were four of us: myself, my friend and her daughter and her friend. So there was four of us sitting there.
Fortean: Just having coffee?
Julie: Just… yeah, well my friend and I were having a coffee. The girls were just sitting and talking, and because I got the guard dog recently for what I thought was some madman, he took off to the side of the goat fence and he was barking really aggressively and the first thing I said to my friend was he doesn’t bark like that, so I knew there was something going on. And we all jumped up and looked over the gate and over to … it was just actually on the neighbour’s hill, we … for a moment, I didn’t see anything because I was looking to see where the dog was looking and then all of a sudden, behind this tree, I saw this massive creature and it took I think about two steps and it just seemed to actually clear the lantana that’s there and the lantana’s really high. It’s quite a few feet high. And it just seemed to just lunge over this lantana and sort of straight into the rest of it and disappeared, and this thing was massive. You know, it was really dark and you could see it had long hair.
Fortean: Massive as in how massive? How tall are you?
Julie: Me? I’m about 5’6”.
Fortean: And compared to you, what was this thing, do you think?
Julie: Oh, my God. It must’ve been double my height. It was huge. It was really tall. I saw it probably slightly side on because it was like taking that step. So obviously, if you look at a person side on, they’re obviously smaller than what they are front on, they’re thinner. But this thing, it was big. The size of its body was so wide. You could see the thigh which was massive. I mean I just couldn’t imagine how many men it would take to sort of have a thigh that size and even the bottom of its leg. The way you see most people, they’ve got the bigger thigh and then it thins out to the calf. The calf itself was huge. You know, it didn’t seem to sort of narrow too much. It was just a massive leg. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the head. I just saw the body and …
Fortean: How far away from you was it?
Julie: Oh, gosh. Not that far. I mean literally, we would just have had to run across a little bit of grass, jump the fence and you know, another sort of 20 seconds and you would’ve been there. It wasn’t far at all.
Fortean: And long did you have it in view before it disappeared?
Julie: A few seconds.
Fortean: Was it lying down or something, or?
Julie: I don’t know. I’m not sure whether it was crouching or whether it… because I heard a thump first of all, so whether it had just tried to cut across the hill or whether it was coming out and then you know, maybe got disturbed by the dog and decided to run back. I’m not quite sure.
Fortean: But it turned and then cleared this big lantana bush?
Fortean: And how big is the lantana bush?
Julie: Oh, God. That’s a good few feet high. I’m just looking at it now. Well, that would be at least sort of six feet probably at the height of it, the top of it.
Fortean: So it’s six feet high and this thing just stepped across it?
Julie:It just sort of like put its leg over and yeah, it just disappeared and the lantana would be at least five foot high. I’m just trying to look now because I haven’t really sort of noticed how tall. It’s very tall. But it just yeah, put its … it just literally … I’m sorry. I know I’m stumbling and I probably sound like I’m making it up. I find it so hard to believe myself. You know, I’ve gone over this image a thousand times since I’ve seen it because to me, it was like seeing a monster. It’s not something that you know …
Fortean: It’s not something you see every day!
Julie: No. I mean it’s something that you read in kids’ books. You know, what I mean?
Fortean: Look, you’ve got no problem with us…
Julie: You probably believe it more than I do because seriously, I just keep going over it and over it. I just really … as I said to my friend, my eyes were seeing it and my mind was connecting to my eyes but it was like the other part of my mind was just thinking that’s ridiculous. You know, it was just … it was an unbelievable sight.
Fortean: I mean the thing you were looking at, it was monstrously big.
Julie: Oh, yeah. I said about five or six feet, yeah. No, my friend just came in and she’s saying … talking about the height of my sort of lantana and I said I think about five or six feet.
Fortean: And when this thing … so you’re saying this thing didn’t have too much problem stepping over it?
Julie: No. It just seemed to … it just … yeah, it just sort of … yeah, well she’s saying leap. You know, I just saw this leg or this foot just come up and over it and the thing was gone. You know, it just literally disappeared.”
Anne completely confirmed Julie’s story. Although their view of the creature’s head and face wasn’t clear, it was obvious something huge, upright and hairy was present in their paddock on that hot November day back in 2006.