The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot by Tony Healy and Paul Cropper is an enjoyable and informative read that adds a new dimension to the mystery of giant, undiscovered, upright walking primates.
As the title implies, this book tracks the “Yowie,” an Australian cryptid supposedly resembling the famous North American Sasquatch. Healy and Cropper are researchers who have compiled a large collection of Yowie reports from a combination of first hand interviews and print media. The chapters work through a selection of their archives chronologically, covering creature reports from the early days of Australian settlement up to present day, also touching on sightings of the “littlefoot,” and concluding with a summary of the evidence and resulting theories.
The main text of the book is fun, interesting, and highly readable. Those familiar with the bigfoot phenomenon in other parts of world will be amazed by the close correlation with Yowie reports, which are often apparently completely isolated from North American influence. Many of the most in-depth and fascinating stories are covered, with lots of first-hand accounts, illustrations, and documents being included. I must commend the authors for remaining objective in their writing, and for avoiding any temptation to impress their personal opinions on the reader. In fact, in true scientific fashion, there are several occasions in the text where Cropper and Healy explicitly acknowledge cases whose seeming incongruence “poses a difficulty to investigators,” and yet they don’t shy away from presenting the breadth of the phenomenon… from the textbook cases to the downright unusual. A compendium of your old, rehashed, formulaic stories this isn’t.
Additionally, as an American, I’m only vaguely familiar with the Australian landscape and local customs. The authors do superbly to accommodate readers in my position, including everything from simple maps, to a glossary of abbreviations, and metric/imperial conversions in an attempt to make the text globally accessible. Healy and Cropper use geography to tie many reports together, making the included references invaluable.
My one complaint about this book is that the size is somewhat deceiving. As any Bigfoot reader will know, presenting a catalogue of reports is a perilous pursuit which often bogs down and becomes redundant and unenjoyable. The main text of The Yowie avoids this problem spectacularly, but the reader will come to realize that only 200 of the 320 pages of the book are actually the authored “chapters.” The remainder is simple appendices, the largest of which is a flat catalogue of a couple hundred sightings, most unedited, and many not longer than a couple sentences. Although the appendix does create an effect on the reader by evidencing the sheer number of reports available, it won’t offer most casual readers much entertainment.
Ultimately, I would rate The Yowie a “must read” for all Bigfoot enthusiasts. It opens the door to a new continent for Sasquatch researchers to explore, and although it does not provide any conclusions, it deepens and reinforces the mystery in new and fascinating ways.