There is no doubt that Australia’s most famous cryptid ape is the Yowie. It resembles Bigfoot in both size and appearance to an incredibly close degree. It stands around seven to ten feet tall and is covered in a thick coat of hair. Far less famous, though no less fascinating than the Yowie, is Australia’s Wakki, also known as the Njmbin, the Junjudee, the Waladherahra, as well as by many other names, depending on the relevant Aborigine tribe that tells of its existence.
Like the giant Yowie, the Wakki (as Richard Freeman notes in Orang-Pendek: Sumatra’s Forgotten Ape) is covered in hair and walks upright. It rarely, if ever, however, exceeds five feet in height. Two, significantly different, unknown apes in Australia? It may sound unlikely, but read on.
One of the most fascinating accounts of an encounter with what may very well have been a Wakki was reported in the pages of a Sydney, Australia-based newspaper, The Empire. The date was April 17, 1871 and the story revolved around the encounter of one George Osborne, an employee of the Illawara Hotel, in Dapto, New South Wales. Osborne’s experience was related in the newspaper by himself, in his own, unaltered or edited words:
“On my way from Mr. Matthew Reen’s, coming down a range of about a half a mile behind Mr. John Graham’s residence, at Avondale, after sunset, my horse was startled at seeing an animal coming down a tree, which I thought at the moment to be an Aboriginal, and when it got to within eight feet of the ground it lost its grip and fell.
“My feelings at that moment were anything but happy, but although my horse was restless I endeavored to get a good glimpse of the animal by following it as it retreated until it disappeared into a gully. It somewhat resembled the shape of a man, according to the following description.”
Osborne said of the animal: “Height, about five feet, slender proportioned, arms long, legs like a human being, only the feet being about eighteen inches long, and shaped like an iguana, with long toes, the muscles of the arms and chest being very well developed, back of the head straight, with the neck and body, but the front face projected forward, with monkey features, every particle of the body except the feet and face was covered with black hair, with a tan colored streak from the neck to the abdomen. While looking at me its eyes and mouth were in motion, after the fashion of a monkey.
“It walked quadruped fashion, but every few paces, it would turn around and look at me following it, supporting the body with two legs and one arm, while the other was placed across the hip. I also noticed that it had no tail.”
Osborne concluded with a tantalizing statement that alluded to additional sightings of the creature: “It appears that two children named Summers saw the same animal or a similar one in the same locality about two years ago, but they say it was then only the size of a boy about thirteen or fourteen years old. Perhaps this was the same animal that Mr. B. Rixton saw at the Cordeaux River about five or six years ago.”