Australian Pygmies Exist

By Rex Gilroy

Grose Valley {Little Pygmy Figure}

It was dull and overcast, and a light mist was rising from the trees that 1972 morning in the Grose Valley. Geoff Norman rose from his sleeping bag. Looking at his watch he found the time to be 7am. He had arrived in the Grose Valley from Blackheath the previous afternoon and being later than he anticipated he had just enough time to gather wood for his campfire before darkness began to settle in. Gathering up more kindling that morning he relit his campfire. He picked up his billy can and walked the 50 yards or so to the nearby Grose river for fresh water. He squatted in sand at the water’s edge and scooped up a can full of water.

Placing the lid on the can he put it to one side. It was then that he became suddenly aware that he was not alone. Looking to his right and only a few yards further down the river bank he saw partly hidden by bush a smallish black human figure peering at him through the bushes. The little black figure appeared timid to Geoff who, in all his years as a Sydney based bushwalker, had never before met up with anything like this.

The little naked male figure rose, but just as quickly turned around and fled into surrounding forest. Geoff Norman, still greatly surprised at what he had just seen, put down his billy can and attempted to pursue the fleeing figure, but he soon lost him in the rough forest terrain. The little figure was not more than 5 ft tall, had frizzy black hair, and to all appearances resembled a pygmy to Geoff. Geoff Norman spent the best part part of that day searching the forest of the Grose Valley in the hope of meeting up with the little creature but could not find any trace of him, so he abandoned the search. Geoff Normans report is not the only one of its kind to have come from the Blue Mountains.

Hartly Valley {Small Black Figures}

Some months prior to his encounter-in August 1971-Miss Dian Jorgensen of Sydney was resting on a clifftop admiring the Hartley Valley scenery after a strenuous hike. As she sat on a rock looking towards another cliff some distance to the east of her, she noticed what appeared to be a group of small black figures emerge from trees together on the cliff edge. Adjusting her binoculars she focused on the this group and was surprised to see they were mostly naked, but for a couple who appeared to be covered in loin cloths. As it was too far away for the party of strange figures to have noticed her, Dian was able to make good observation of them through the binoculars. Finally after a few minutes, the group moved off into the trees. Spears carried by the group suggested them to have been a hunting party.Miss Jorgensen later related her story to me during a visit to my Mount York Museum. My main museum is right at Echo Point, Katoomba, in Kedumba Emporium.

The Oakes {Warragamab Dam Backwaters}

It was at Mount York a year earlier that I had learnt of similar sightings from the Oakes, a small community bordering on the same rugged mountainous area and terrain that extends across the Burragorang area. Hearabouts farmers have long preserved traditions of “lost tribes” that are said to inhabit the vast regions to the south of the Warragamba Dam backwaters.

Abandoned Camp Sites

Stories of hikers and others who have come upon recently abandoned camp sites strewn with crude stone implements and other signs of the kind of primitive life once led by our Aborigines. I have it on good authority that certain wild life rangers are reluctant to venture beyond a certain point in that region, perhaps for fear of meeting up with a “lost tribe” long said top have inhabited the area. Other Stone Age camp sites, but much more recent, have more than once been found inland from the rugged Putty road when farm hands in search of lost cattle have reportedly come across either freshly killed stock, around which were strewn crude stone knives, or else still-smoldering camp fires about which have been found scattered stone implements. During recent years there have been several incidents that are enough to convince locals that the “little people”, as they are affectionately referred to thereabouts, are still living somewhere out there in the relative safety of inaccessible swamps and jungle covered mountains.

Putty Raod Encounters

The story is told of one farmer of the Putty Road who, after months of continued theft of his vegetables, determined to catch the thief in the act, keeping a loaded shotgun handy for the purpose. Finally after weeks of fruitless vigil, he and his wife were awoken one night by strange sounds in their backyard. Grabbing the torch he always kept by his bed, and picking up his shotgun he proceeded silently to the backdoor. The night was reasonably clear as he spied in the darkness some distance away up a paddock, two smallish shapes moving towards scrub carrying what appeared to be some of his cabbages.

Thinking the culprit to be children he called on them to stop. The figures turned in the darkness to look in his direction. With one hand clutching his shotgun and the other branding his torch which he now switched on, the farmer proceeded towards the “children”. However the figures turned and began running for the safety of the trees. Flashing his torch upon the dark shapes the farmer could not at first believe his eyes. The two figures were not much over 4 ft high and besides being black were stark naked. At this point the farmer who had long intended firing the gun at whoever it was who had been thieving his vegetables for months, did not know what to do, and the little black creatures vanished quickly into the darkness.

Putty Road Farm

Another incident which happened a few years earlier at another Putty Road farm was that of a housewife who, while in the process of milking the family cow, found she was being watched by three strange black figures. Stopping her milking she rose from her stool to cal her eldest son. At this instant the three little figures left their bush covering. And it was at this instant that the woman noticed that while two were male one was female with pendulous breasts. The three little people who were no more than 4-5 ft high dashed off into the trees.

Bilpin {Wilderness}

Along the road to Hawksbury between Bell to the west and Kurrajong Heights to the east lies the farming community of Bilpin. Along the full extent of the northern side of the road, where not broken by farms stands the outer forest region of what is generally known as the Wilderness. Apart from the first few miles into this vast tract of some hundreds of square miles of virgin scrub and forest covered mountainous territory, the area has yet to be explored by white man. I say white man because here too there are local traditions of a “lost tribe” which is said to inhabit the innermost regions of the Wilderness, and of occasional sightings of strange little black people by farmers and others on the fringes of this area.

The Wilderness is so unknown that even experienced bushwalkers do not venture far into it and the authorities warn inexperienced hikers not to leave the few fire trails that have been cut into its fringes. Even so the occasional bushwalker has been known to venture a little way into this rugged bushland. One such bushwalker, Steve Curtis of Sydney, decided to try to penetrate the Wilderness by advancing in a straight line for a few miles. After a trek which took him over some very rough terrain he stopped atop a cliff overlooking the surrounding tree-covered mountains. it was at this point that some distance to the north of him rising from the trees, he could see a column of smoke.

Thinking that what he had seen was the campfire of some fellow bushwalker, Steve decided to press on in the direction of the smoke. After walking for one mile and believing he was not far from the site of the rising column of smoke, he began cooeeing in anticipation of a response. Finally, he was able to locate the site of the campfire only to find it deserted. Instead he found a little bark shelter about which were scattered a number of stone artifacts. It was apparent that he had alerted the occupants of some stone age camp, for whoever they were they had abandoned their camp in haste. Steve although not at first fully aware of his discovery, felt a little uneasy and decided to turn back. he was forced to spend the night atop the cliff from where he first sighted the smoke, but the next morning returned to civilisation.

Bilpin District

Another incident which took place a few years ago in the Bilpin district involved the discovery of little human footprints far out in the scrub on a creek bank by a bushwalker. Nearby was some cheert flakes and a small stone hand axe. The bushwalker didn not think the footprints were any more than an hour old.

Hunter River District

Tales of still wild natives are met with in many parts of north-coastal and also north-western NSW across into southern Queensland. One such incident happened about 20 years ago in the Hunter River district outside Maitland, involving the spearing of a cow and the removal of some of its meat.


Nearby Kempsey one farmer about 15 years ago is reputed to have fired a rifle at a small group of little black people after they had emerged from nearby jungle and cut up a cow. The fled leaving behind their crude stone knives. Local {civilised) Aborigines around Kempsey as well as others around Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes, and elsewhere have long claimed that tribes of little black people still inhabit the inpenetrable mountainous regions back of Moree, and similar tales are told of the Barrington and Liverpool ranges. One incident which occurred in the mountains near Moree, involved the finding a few years ago of a freshly made bora ground. Stories of lost Aborigines as well as Pigmies in the Bulloo Channels country of north-western NSW date back 60 years to the time when an Aborigine was captured in the area who had never seen a white man before.

Delalah District

The Bulloo Channels are in the Delalah district, an area where there have been a number of sightings over many years, sometimes of a group of more than three natives carrying spears and boomerangs, or single individuals. However, no sightings of a pygmy to date has featured any other weapons than spears and stone implements-the Boomerang was unknow to the Negrito.


In the inaccesible jungle regions outside Tully stories of strange pygmy-type natives have ben part of local tradition since the 1800’s. About 1942 a farmer was aroused by the racket being created by his fowls at the rear of his farm. Suspecting foxes he dashed to thee fowlyard with his shotgun at the ready only to find two frightened cowering little natives crouched in a corner of one of his sheds. Lowering his gun he tried to talk to them but seeing they could not understand he realised that they must have been stil wild natives. He was struck by their height, they were both males and both young individuals, yet they were both under 5 ft. Seeing that they had been attracted by the prospect of food, the farmer directed them towards his vegatable patch but the two little figures instead bolted for thee safety of the nearby scrub. The farmer who later related this incident among some of his freinds was told that he must have met with two of the little pigmy people that were said to live in the mountains out of reach of human interference.

Mareeba {Cairns District}

During 1941 farms in the Mareeba area inland from Cairns had often been visited by pigmy-type natives and on at least one occasion a white man had come face to face with one of the little people. On this occasion one vey frightened male was cornered in a stockyard by a rifle brandishing farmer when the little creature had tried to sneak through the farm loaded with vegatables he had beeen picking nearby in the early morning light. After he called the rest of his family who looked at the little creature with amazement, the farmer decided to let his prisoner escape. Reports still come from that region to this day to imply that somewhere beyond the civilised there may exist whole tribes of these little Negritoes living relatively safe from man deep in the Cape York jungles.

Gulf Country

Pygmies are still claimed to be seen from time to time in the Gulf Country over a wide area betwen Cape York and Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land istelf is also not without its stories of pigmies. During 1961 quite a stir was caused when two PMG linesmen spotted a group of little pigmy-type natives below and nearby them, hiding in long grass watching them while they worked on top of telegraph poles. The PMG workmen later told their story to reporters who quickly publicised the incident in city newspapers as far east as Sydney where the Daily Telegraph ran a story. One intrepid researcher, Mr. Peercy George, left Sydney too investigate the matter. He had collected accounts of little pigmy-type people having been seen in Arnhem Land for amny years and was determined to prove their existence possibly by capturing on of them. However before the public could find out how he had fared in any way the press as usual did not bother to follow up the story.

Tasmanian Negritoes

Further South in the mountainous regions of the south coastal NSW districts tales of still-wild Aborigines and Pigmies are often told, just as these are also stories to the effect that small groups of the “extinct” Tasmanian Aborigines {Negritoes} may still survive hidden deep in the largely unexplored hinterland Of Tasmania. Whilst it is all too easy for university and government museum anthroplogists to brush aside such stories as myths, it is another thing to visit the types of terrain from which such accounts have emanated over the years. Any bushman who has explored the almost impenetrable mountainous forest regions of Tasmania and eastern Australia will agree that anything, animal or human, could survive for centuries hidden from view in these areas.

Negrito Pygmies

Scientists who lightly brush aside such claims should remember that in 1939 anrthopologist Norman B. Tindale while exploring the Atherton Tableland jungles inland from Cairns in far north Queensland, came upon an hitherto “lost tribe” of pigmies whose very existence on the Australian mainland had supposedly long since ceased. It is evident that there still remain other tribes of pigmies yet to be found in the interior of the Atherton jungles. These disclosures imply that still living tribes of the Negrito pigmies have survived for thosands of years hidden in the most inaccessible regions of eastern and northern Australia. Necessity would have driven the timid and shy little Negritos to make thier camps in the most out-of-the-way places and such locations as the most remote mountain or jungle areas would have been ideally suited for them in their efforts to escape the depredations of the talleer and more war-like Aborigines. By these meeans it may appear they were able to out-survive their Aboriginal asailants long after the arrival of white man, which saw the Aboriginals themselves, pushed back until they were in time hounded into the reserves.

Negrito Implements {Blue Mountains}

In 1968 I found in thee course of a search for ancient archaeological sites a large cache of smallish stone hand axes, chisels, and other implements perhaps 20,000 years old in the Bathurst area. Later that year I located a number of strange camp sites on the Blue Mountains which seemed ideally suited for Negritos who may have wished to keep out of sight of their Aboriginal enemies. The camp sites had been built into cliff faces accessible down steep inclines that, although leading to vertical cliffs, led past rock shelters formed through countless ages of wind erosion.

The mouths of these shelters had been walled up with stones to keep out the elements, and the little folk were safely out of sight of their enemies. I soon learnt of other similar sites found elsewhere on the Blue Mountains.It was evident that these structures had ben abandoned long before white man entered the Blue Mountains and therefore must be many thosands of years old. I estimated at least 20,000 years old. These reports covering such a wide area as they do, are not the only ones by any means, but surely there are enough to imply that somewhere out there in the many inaccessible regions of our vast and in many ways still unexplored continent, native populations still undiscovered by European man may still survive living the way they have done for perhaps 50,000 years.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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