Strange Tracks in the Barrington Tops

If the Yowie exists – where are all the Yowie tracks? The case for the existence of Bigfoot includes some interesting and rather unique track finds, but Australian track reports are few and far between. Every so often, though, an interesting case does come up.

One such report originated in an email sent to an Australian bushwalking discussion newsgroup in late 1995 by Burris Ormsby, a Canadian Professor of Microbiology & Chemistry, who had been holidaying in the Barrington Tops area of NSW in 1986.

Barrington Tops, NSW. Public Domain,

His post to the Newsgroup: aus.bushwalking was as follows:

Subject: Yowie: A hiker’s encounter?

“For those hikers out there unfamiliar with the Yowie myth, let me give you a brief background. Like its mythical cousins in North America – Sasquatch – and in Tibet – Yeti – the Yowie is said to be a large, hairy, hominid (Hmmm, is Gigantopithecus really extinct?) that roams remote parts of the Great Dividing Range. I believe there is even mention of this creature in Aboriginal lore. For most, the myth has been considered just that … a myth.

What may be of interest to any budding hikers and cryptozoologists out there is an incident that occurred in 1986. During a trip to Australia, my friend, who runs an adventure centre in Gloucester, NSW and myself went exploring in a remote part of the Barrington Tops plateau. During our trek we came across large footprints which were exceedingly wide (I have a 12D foot and these prints were about 1.5 times as wide). Now this area of the Tops is cold and very remote. We found it odd that a ‘person’ would be running around with bare feet in this country.

Another interesting point was the direction of the prints, they paralleled a series of brumby [PC: wild horse] tracks that crossed the plateau. This part of Barrington Tops is eerie country, its cool, quiet and one gets a sense of being watched. It makes for excellent hiking! As for Yowie, well, maybe it is a myth but I’ll tell you, ‘someone’ with very large feet was roaming around up there….”

I contacted Burris by email and was grateful to receive the following mail in January 1996:

“Hi Paul, I’m glad you were able to procure a photo from Matt. Which one was it? For example was it a shot of a singular print in a dried mud base? This is the photo I have but as I recall, Matt had a photo showing the suspected Yowie print in relation to the hoof prints of some wild horses that crossed the same area.

Burris’ photo of one of the prints.

The problem with the prints is that we did not have a tape measure, now usually I would place my boot next to an object to get a size perspective, but in this case I didn’t. What I can tell you from memory is that the prints were no longer than my own foot which is a size 12-13. The amazing thing was the width! I would estimate 1.5 x my foot width which is a D width. It you have the same photo as I do look at the differential between the heel and instep (frontal part of the foot). It seems rather unusual to me. What do you think?

The other problem, is that the surface where both the prints of the suspected Yowie and the horses were found was really quite a small area (ie. in width). Picture this – the plateau where we were on is mostly grass with dry eucalypt forest all supported on a rocky base. There was one area where a ‘strip’ of muddy soil crossed part of the plateau no wider than 20 ft I would estimate; also there was a small creek nearby.

The animals and hominid crossed the strip in their movement so at best there were only a few prints. As I said before I thought Matt had a more distant shot of the area showing the prints. I hope he hasn’t lost it :-(. I will check with him.”

Matt passed on 2 photos. He indicated to me that the incident had taken place on the Beeon Beon Plains, a very remote grassy plain with some scattered snow gums. The prints were on trail obviously used by wild horses in the area. The closest 4 wheel drive track was around half a kilometre away, so a hoax seems unlikely.

The tracks were fresh, and around 5 or 6 prints were visible although only two were photographed. The ‘creature’ had walked from the grass onto the track, along for several steps then back onto the grass.

Matt photo 1.

Both Burris & Matt stressed this was no hoax. Both were excellent witnesses, in particular Matt who, as a tour operator in the Tops area, knew the country and its fauna very well.

Matt photo 2.

So Yowie tracks, or big, barefoot person – in the absolute middle of nowhere?

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