WHY SHOULDN'T THE HAWKESBURY HAVE A MONSTER?

They say it's greyish to black in colour, has a big bulky body with two sets of flippers, a long neck and serpent-like head and an eel-like tail and lurks in the Hawkesbury River.

That's the general description of a strange "Loch Ness"-type sea monster which has been said to have existed in the Hawkesbury River-Central Coast region since before the first white settlers. Sightings reports of the mysterious beasts range from 7 metres to 24 metres in length.

Claims to have seen the mystery monsters have interested a well known naturalist, Mr Rex Gilroy, of Katoomba, for many years. Mr Gilroy, who is best known for his 21 years' research into the existence of the Yowie, or "great hairy man" of aboriginal folklore, believes the mystery aquatic beast of the Hawkesbury River to be a colony of supposed extinct plesiosaurs which could have been breeding in an offshore coastal trench off the Central Coast region over a vast period of time.

"Aboriginal folklore about the beasts is as old as their knowledge of the Yowie", he said.

Mr. Gilroy can cite many sightings reports off the Australian coastline, including New Guinea, New Zealand and other parts of the world, which describe the same beast. However, the plesiosaur was an aquatic dinosaur which supposedly became extinct 70 million years ago. Mr Gilroy points out that, although the land surfaces of the age of dinosaurs underwent considerable changes, the ocean environment has changed little, which is also demonstrated by the case of the existence of the coelacanthe, a primitive fish which scientists once believed had been extinct for 250 million years, but which is still very much alive, having been caught in Pacific waters.

Fisherman's tale

One famous story concerning the Hawkesbury Plesiosaur took place shortly after World War II in Broken Bay, at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, when a Mr Doug Bradbury and another man were fishing in a small rowboat. Suddenly a giant snake-like head on the end of a long neck, rose 6 metres above the water. The men dropped their fishing equipment and rowed quickly for the nearby shore. From the shore they were able to get a good look at the creature. It displayed, apart from the long neck and serpent-like head, a large body, with two sets of long flippers which were partly obscured by the water, and a long thick eel-like tail.

Mr Gilroy also points out that even in recent times people boating on the river have seen large heads appearing briefly above the water and during April this year a woman watched with binoculars while a 25 metre long humped plesiosaur-shaped creature glided slowly under the Hawkesbury River Bridge. A serpent-like head rose above the water on the end of a long neck at least 1.5 metres out of the water for a brief 30 seconds before the creature submerged.

Mr Gilroy would like to hear from any residents of the Hawkesbury River region who may themselves have seen these strange beasts.

(Windsor and Richmond Gazette- 8th August, 1979)


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