Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery

Tohby Riddle

Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery
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Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery

Tohby Riddle

‘He was surprised to observe a hairy human form, about seven feet in height, walking in the bush.’ - Queanbeyan Age, 24 August 1886

Throughout the first century or so of Australian settlement by Europeans, the pages of colonial newspapers were haunted by reports of a bewildering phenomenon: the mysterious yahoo or hairy man… But what was it?

Yahoo Creek breathes life into this little-known piece of Australian history - which, by many accounts, is a history still in the making

‘These stories are not my stories or your stories, they’re our stories.’ - Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder


Yahoo Creek is a haunting evocation of actual reports, mostly in the early 1900s, of an ape-like creature inhabiting bush areas that are connected with the massive breadth of the Great Dividing Range. The descriptions of hair colour and length vary but all agree he is big, has a huge bellow at times and seems very strong. Linking the newspaper reports are the words of Indigenous elder Peter Williams, which add deep insight into the legend.

The shadowy, inky-blue of the illustrations reinforce the mystery and seeming loneliness of the creature. Tohby Riddle always surprises with the range and variety of his picture books and what a mesmerisingly beautiful addition this is to our Australian picture-book archive.

Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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