Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery

Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781760631451
The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 2020 Notable
This book explores the mysterious yahoo through newspaper accounts of white settlers, farmers and their children’s encounters with the 'yahoo', 'hairy man' or 'yowie' from 1847-1944 along the Great Dividing Range. Through moonlit blue-black stencils, sponge effects and silhouette cut-outs Riddle depicts the yahoo as friendless, bewildered and frightened, like a wild animal. But children seem to pose no threat to him. The veracity of the reports is always questionable, but people’s fascination with the concept of the solitary, wild, hair-covered hominid in the bush endures, even in the names of places, such as Yahoo Creek. Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder, acknowledging the role of the yahoo, the ‘berai’ or ‘yuriwinna,’ in Aboriginal culture, states that ‘to my people he is spiritual figure, but he has a physical body and strong smell like a wet dog’. Riddle’s book offers another way of looking at history, landscape and culture, inviting further reading for young readers to follow the leads of his sources and collation of responses to an alien character in the enigmatic Australian bush.