THE HUNT for the Mulgowie Yowie continues. The elusive creature has not been officially seen since August 15, 2001, when Mrs Crouten, a cook working for a local doctor, saw the yowie-like animal at midnight on the corner of McGarrigal Rd and Mulgowie Rd.
The QT reported the incident and interviewed Senior Constable Johns, who said the lady "saw something that looked like an ape approaching the road" as she was driving along.
It was walking on all fours.
Snr Constable Johns says the lady was lucid and sane, so he accompanied her to the site to search for the beast after she reported it.
The report ties in with what Mrs Crouten told the Australian Yowie Research organisation.
The group's website records her as saying the creature was "covered in dark hair" and "looked like a large version of an orang-utan".
The sighting set off alarm bells with yowie experts around Australia and they descended on Mulgowie Hotel, where they told the publican at the time, Rob Vidler, about a terrifying tale.
"After it happened we had yowie hunters come in who were looking for it," he says.
"They told me there were places nearby where people had been forced to flee their homes because the yowies were there. But I couldn't imagine people moving out because of yowies."
It had earlier been reported in 1998 that a giant 2.5m-tall yowie had startled two men near Gatton.
The yowie was believed to have roamed from its home in the hills behind Mulgowie.
The yowie seen by Mrs Crouten is believed by experts to have been a son or daughter of the giant yowie seen near Gatton. One of the men who saw it told Australian Yowie Research it was "covered with a light brown hair, like a monkey's hair".
The man presumed the yowie was a male because he "saw no breasts".
The QT spoke to cryptozoologist and yowie expert Tim the Yowie Man about what yowies are.
"There are a few spots around Australia where yowies pop up more often that not and south-east Queensland, from Mulgowie to the Gold Coast hinterland, is a hot spot," he says.
"A yowie is a creature spotted in the Australian bush that is yet to be scientifically identified, that most people describe as the Australian version of Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman.
"Most yowie reports describe them as over seven feet and hairy, ape-like creatures. In Queensland there are often two categories of yowies - the small ones that come in at three or four feet and the bigger version.
"The Mulgowie Yowie is one of the more well-known yowie legends of Australia and one zoologists want to get to the bottom of.
"The reports from Mulgowie seem to be of either a tall one or a small one. It is on all-fours or on two legs. So if there is a yowie in Mulgowie, there has got to be more than one.
"In some parts of Australia the Aborigines would draw in their dreamtime caves and they would also have caves with drawings of real creatures that people might encounter when they walk through an area.
"The yowies were often not drawn in the dreamtime cave, but amongst the creatures like kangaroos and turtles. That suggests the Aborigines believed they were a real creature they were sharing the bush with."
Since the European invasion of Australia there have been "literally thousands of sightings of people claiming to see these big hairy creatures, mainly up and down the east coast of Australia and a couple of hundred kilometres inland".
"Whether they are some link from the evolution of man from years gone by, or some introduced ape, there is no physical evidence to be able to confirm either of those claims," Yowie Man says.
He recalls how in the Mulgowie vicinity in June 1999 two men reported "a foul stench in the middle of the night".
"They heard a shriek and when they went over and had a closer inspection, and shone the torch on this creature, it got up and ran away. It was described as a seven-foot tall hominid-type creature".
Mulgowie Hotel publican Simon Emmerson says the yowie was "talked about a fair bit at the time" in Mulgowie in 2001.
He relates it has long been ingrained in local culture.
"I believe there were two or three people that saw the yowie," he says.
"Its notoriety has died down a bit, but it still comes up.
"It was our mascot for our Mulgowie Yowies indoor cricket side and a couple of touch football teams have been the Yowies.
"My grandmother made a logo up when we were looking at having the yowie as our mascot at the cricket club. She sketched up a half human, half gorilla with a cricket bat.
"I don't know when it started, but the legend of the yowie was talked about when I was a kid."
Meanwhile, Vidler has a hunch the yowie was "a big black dog that lived in the area that had a funny arse on it".
"I didn't read anything into it myself, but a lot of people did," Vidler says.
"The people who saw it were coming from a private party. What they saw nobody will ever know. It is a cultivation area and no footprints were found when people went looking for it.
"I'm not a disbeliever but, until I see it with my own eyes, I won't believe it. It is like flying saucers. They could be there, but I'm 59 and I've never seen one."
Emmerson admits the Mulgowie Yowie has "got a ring to it".
"We just don't want to be known for growing corn," he grins.
As for whether the rugged terrain around Mulgowie could hide such a creature, Emmerson is not ruling it out.
"There is a lot of steep terrain you can't even ride a horse into with steep canyons and gorges up on Mt Mistake," he says.
"There are several areas cattle don't go, but possibly yowies could, even if they are eight foot tall and run on all fours."
Of course, our yowie hunt has met with scepticism and some humour.
The QT stopped off at Grandchester Hotel on our travels and the legend of the yowie was alive and well.
One bearded patron told us he knows a Mulgowie bull rider who "grows extra fingernails and hair follicles on the night of a full moon".
"He's the yowie, no question" the patron told us.
The Yowie Man, who saw a yowie in 1994 (see story on page five), says yowies may not be flesh and blood-type creatures.
"In looking for them for 20 years, I have never seen another one and never come across any physical evidence to say they exist," he says.
"Some people believe yowies are a paranormal being ... that some people can see and some can't, a bit similar to ghosts that some people can see and only at some stages.
"That might explain why no one has found a carcass or any physical evidence of one. But the legend lives on nonetheless.
"People genuinely explain how they have seen a tall ape-like creature in the Australian bush. There is no rational explanation for it, but there is also no reason for these people to be making stories up.
"Like myself, they are just average people who encounter something and are perplexed at what they have seen.
"I haven't been up to Mulgowie since the late 1990s but it is good to hear the story of the Mulgowie Yowie again.
"It has got a nice rhyme to it."