The Wudatji, the Western Australian Junjurrie or Yowie

By Gary Opit.




Balladong Noongar elders Fay Slater, Laurie Collard and King George McGuire from Brookton, 175 km (109 mi) southeast of Perth in Western Australia, were interviewed describing their experiences with an unknown primate-like animal that had always been known to traditional people. The videos were published on the internet at and at on November 07, 2017. The Balladong Noongar elders stated that traditional people had different names for the animal depending on their language group including Wudatji, Mum-maries and Nyet. It was described as like a small person covered in hair that was only active at night and that it used a piecing whistle that sounded like “wheeeya” or “whaya”.


Fay Slater described a terrifying encounter with a Wudatji when many years previously she was living in a house with her husband Arthur and other family members. It was a four-bedroom house available to sheep shearers and their family on a sheep grazing farm adjacent the Boyagin Nature Reserve, 10 kilometres southwest of the town of Brookton in the Pingelly shire. The reserve has high environmental significance, home to several rare plants and animals. It contains a massive domed granite rock known to Aboriginal people as Boodjin and which is a sacred place known to be the natural habitat of the Wudatji. The Boodjin or Boyagin Rock outcrop rises 50 m (160 ft) above the surrounding land.


The rest of Fay and Arthur’s family had driven into town in their two cars leaving Fay and Arthur relaxing at home one night when they heard the piercing whistling vocalisations of a Wudatji approaching their house from the direction of Boodjin Rock. It entered the house and Fay and Arthur noticed that their small dog was as terrified as they were. Retreating into their bedroom Arthur picked up a hammer and stood by their closed door in case the animal tried to enter the room. They listened to it outside their door scattering food, dishes, cutlery, and the large metal bowl used to wash the crockery in. Then they saw the headlights of the family’s cars returning from town and as the house was illuminated the Wudatji disappeared into the night.


Fay and her younger brother Winton, now seventy-six years old, as children lived with their family in a camp adjacent Boodjin Rock. They were sitting by the fire alone while their parents were away for the day at work when they heard a clear voice repeatedly calling out Fay’s name from near the rock. They knew that the Wudatji lived in that area and had been told that if ever one of these animals approached the camp, they must make a lot of smoke by throwing vegetation into the fire. They did so then ran the three km to the main road where they would be safe.


In the interview Balladong Noongar elder Laurie Collard described how he used to hear the Wudatji walking around the family campfire at night many years ago, though they always stayed out of sight beyond the firelight. Also known as Mum-maries and Nyet by different tribes, he described hearing their piercing whistles that sounded like “wheeeya” or “whaya”. His mother told him as a child that if you made a fire the Wudatji would not come close to the camp.


Balladong Noongar elder King George McGuire stated in the video that he was born on the twelfth of May 1937 and as a child was scared at night when the Wudatji would come around the camp whistling, cooeeing, and shouting. His parents would always have a Balga or black boy grass tree (Xanthorrhoea preissii) that they had harvested, lying nearby and would throw it on the fire at such times and the large amounts of smoke that it created would blow through the house and stop the Wudatji from entering.


I attach particular importance on traditional indigenous people’s descriptions of encounters with cryptic animals. Once again, we receive corroborating evidence of a nocturnal intelligent animal that unlike all other species approaches and studies people. A species that is so confident that it will regularly approach the most intelligent and dangerous apex predator and undertake dangerous experiments such as approaching and entering houses while vocalising with powerful whistles and calls and a species that can imitate human words. Though always taking care not to be seen and rapidly retreating when any danger presents itself.


This shows that this cryptic species has had a very long association with people and takes full advantage of its abilities including nocturnal vision and rapid efficient movement. It is intelligent enough to understand human weaknesses so that it can exploit them and create fear in its most powerful potential competitor and predator. By exhibiting behaviour that appears extremely aggressive it can successfully so frighten the most dangerous apex predator, humans, that they will not attempt to view it and will avoid its home territory.




Wikipedia photograph of the Boodjin or Boyagin Rock.


Consequently, it has found a method of avoiding the most intelligent and numerous species. It also shows that it is generally non-aggressive as it could easily kill people while they are asleep. It has enough intelligence to understand that it would be counterproductive to make itself an enemy of people and most productive to create fear and avoid detection so that it creates uncertainty and mystery in the only species that could harm it.


The Balladong Noongar elders believe that the Wudatji is a little hairy hominid, which provides evidence that the species also exists in Western Australian woodlands. Indigenous stories of small hair-covered people generally referred to as Junjurrie or Janjarri are well known from eastern Australia. Southeast Queensland Yugambeh Aboriginal man Shaun Davies, language researcher at the Yugambeh Museum, was reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin as stating that “There are two types of creatures which are similar. The creatures are known as the Janjarri and the Bunyun. Janjarri often translates as “the hairy people” are said to inhabit thick scrub and rainforest below the hinterland in areas like Ormeau, Coomera, and Oxenford. Generally described as 90-150 cm tall, they are also called Gujarang, which literally means “cousin”. Mr Davies said. “Bunyun, a more terrifying creature, were said to inhabit the rocky areas of the Great Dividing Range, including Springbrook and Mount Tamborine. They were said to be tall muscular creatures.”


It may well have been the much larger Yowie that was responsible for the encounters described by the Balladong Noongar elders as the people never saw the animal responsible. There have been many detailed encounter reports of Yowies in Western Australia.


This article could not have been written without the information from the Balladong Noongar elders Fay Slater, Laurie Collard and King George McGuire. This information was supplied by Byron Joel, Managing Consultant at Oak Tree Designs who brought my attention to the following links to the videos with local indigenous elders discussing the Wudatji.






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