Book Review: Yahoo Creek (2019)



Having resided in two areas – the Kororo Basin and the Blue Mountains – long noted for reports of strange, highly elusive ape-men, the prolific writer and award-winning artist Tohby Riddle has been interested in the yowie/yahoo mystery for many years.

He has researched the baffling phenomenon in considerable depth, and now, in Yahoo Creek, has put the fruits of his research to very good use.

Although the lavishly illustrated book is intended, primarily, to interest children in the age-old, but on-going, mystery, it is so beautifully produced, and so rich in authentic detail that it is sure to intrigue many older readers.

Almost every double page contains details of a dramatic yowie event taken from a nineteenth or early-twentieth century newspaper, and each item is perfectly complemented by Tohby’s very atmospheric artwork. Many more colonial-era and early modern-era articles are presented, in their original form, in the front and back inside-covers.

No one can begin to understand the yowie/yahoo phenomenon without taking into account the views of Australia’s Indigenous people, who, after all, have been encountering the strange creatures for centuries, if not millennia. So it is very appropriate that Yahoo Creek contains, in addition to the many sighting reports, several enlightening items of Aboriginal Hairy Man lore. Those were shared with Tohby by his friend, Ngiyampaa Elder Peter Williams.

Yahoo Creek will, I’m sure, super-charge the imagination of legions of kids, and any previously sceptical adult who peruses it will have to admit that the yowie/yahoo phenomenon, far from being a series of modern-era hoaxes, has a very long, well documented history.

Tony Healy

Co-author, with Paul Cropper, of Out of the Shadows, Mystery Animals of Australia(1994) and The Yowie (2006)


Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery, by Tohby Riddle

Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2019.

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