Pankalankas: Australia’s Mystery People

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 13th, 2008

This was shared from Rex Gilroy’s site:

On an Aboriginal settlement in the Alice Springs district in 1982, noted documentary film maker, Mr Bill Marshall, entertained the Aboriginal children one evening with a video copy of the American documentary feature film. “Mysterious Monsters”.

When the world-famous footage of a ‘Bigfoot’ [filmed near Bluff Creek in California’s Pacific north-west by the late Roger Patterson] came on the screen, the children began shouting “That’s Pankalanka, that’s Pankalanka”!

Bill Marshall soon learnt that these white-haired people are very fierce, make large stone tools and also fire. I said ‘are’ because according to the Aranda tribal elders, and [as Bill Marshall learnt] also many Europeans, the Pankalankas are still supposed to survive, consisting of several tribes living in the remote Macdonnell Ranges area.

The region where they are said to live is small hereabouts – about 45 square kilometres – and Mt Viel and Mt Liebig are prominent landmarks, and the area is situated at the tail end of the Macdonnell Range in the Belt Range, some 400 km west of Alice Springs.

In an interview with this author some years ago, Bill Marshall said these giants are said to possess a language and that the Aranda Aborigines are able to communicate with them.

Some Europeans who have been able to penetrate the territory of the Pankalankas have claimed to have found some of their giant-size stone tools, and also seen their campfires in the distance at night.

Bill Marshall also informed me that he has seen the fires of the Pankalankas but not their stone tools. Bill’s wife claims to have seen one of these giants, a 2.6m tall, white-haired monster, while they were visiting the Belt Range area. Also, a friend of the Marshall’s, a Mr Geoffrey Hulcombe, informed them some time ago how he also had an experience with the Pankalanka.

He related how, one night in 1982 he camped at a wide billabong situated among large rocks. The next morning he went to wash at the billabong and was shocked to find giant man-like footprints in the mud leading down to the water’s edge.

The Pankalanka are still said to wander the plains at night brandishing their fire sticks, their appearance continuing to inspire fear among the Aboriginal population, and any lone Aborigines unfortunate enough to come upon them.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

24 Responses to “Pankalankas: Australia’s Mystery People”

  1. sausage1 responds:

    Panka lanka??

    You’re ‘avin’ a larf!

    Is ‘e ‘avin’ a larf?

  2. busterggi responds:

    See this is why, even though I enjoy reading Rex Gilroy’s stuff, I just can’t take him seriously.

    I’ve never heard of the pankalanka before, even in his books. Why should Patty be identied with something that has white hair, is apparently human (considering the use of fire & tools & language)? Would the audience have had the same reaction if shown a chimp or gorilla?

    And if the aborigines have contact with these people and their tools are in possession of anyone they shouldn’t be unknown.

    A fun read – sure, to be taken seriously – no.

  3. marcodufour responds:

    Time to take Rex Gilroy’s comments in the same vein as Mr Biscardi, although having lived in Australia for 6 years Yowies definitely exist and appear to exhibit a lot of Sasquatch traits.

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    Very interesting. busterggi says, “And if the aborigines have contact with these people and their tools are in possession of anyone they shouldn’t be unknown.

    A fun read – sure, to be taken seriously – no.”

    Except one very important thing we must all remember, we are here on this site today because the European colonists didn’t take the natives literal and/or serious when they talked about such things. I’m not saying I totally believe this one either, but the possibility is there that once again the white man has completely ignored the ignorant native and the truth/facts were lost. Think how quickly big foot would have been discovered if we took the natives seriously when they warned explorers about it.
    Well, are there any excursions planned to go in and find out? And white hair…why white? That’s the thing that makes me…well, curious to say the least.

  5. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Does Australia have a history of people finding giant human skeletons like they used to here in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries?

  6. fmurphy1970 responds:

    Pankalankas? Makes me think of the Oopmaloompas, the red faced dwarves with green hair in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory.

  7. nimbunje responds:

    Well living in the country in Australia, and spending a bit of time in the bush at night it can get weird.But why when visiting certain places in Australia do the locals, White and Aboriginal say “tool up” . Love nor money would get me to spend overnight at “Black Mountain” near Cooktown undefended, or deep in the Wollemi wilderness from Newnes to Colo Hights. If the only dangerous animals that are left after the domestication of Central Australia are feral pigs, cats, scrubber cattle and killer kangaroos, snakes who are easily avoided and the occasional serial killer, why this emphasis on high powered weaponry? I guess my neighbour’s father who in the 1930’s helped shoot out a colony of native cats at sexton near Gympie was delusional and aboriginal peoples uninformed about their environment and the creatures living in their neighbourhood.The cats were common around here brown with white spots standing about knee high.A great photo of one that had been shot at kennelworth in 1953 is shown in Stan Tutt’s pictorial history of the Sunshine coast,in addition they are mentioned in Gympie Gold (the history of Gympie).The other day on NITV (the aboriginal TV network) they had a 30 second interview with an old guy out west, the interviewer asked”its pretty isolated what mob’s live around here? He replied “Jimba and Narragun” which are the 12 to 15 foot tall ape like men! Basically put your money where your mouth is and get out in the bush at night and then tell me there is nothing out there? It’s easy to be an expert in front of a computer in the city!

  8. zachary responds:

    could be old wise yowies who leaned how to make such things it would also explain the hair

  9. korollocke responds:

    Fun little campfire story, good warm-up for halloween. Thanks Loren.

  10. archer1945 responds:

    It would be nice if some people would remember just how big and empty Australia is. It is just slightly smaller the US, 2.9 million square miles to the US’s 3.5 million, yet the population is just over 20.2 million. As a comparison the population of the New York City metropolitan area is just under 20 million.

    Now if Bigfoot, and relatives, are able to hide in a country of over 300 million, just think how much easier it would be to hide in a country almost as big but with a population just slightly more than the biggest metro area in the US. On top of that Australia does not have nearly the road system the US does and the Outback is BIG.

    I have to agree the story does sound a bit strange but you have to remember the Aborigines are a very old people and have been in their country for many thousands of years more than the Native Americans have been in the Americas. Not only that but I have always gotten the feeling the Aborigines are much more in tune with their land than all but a very very of the American Tribes were.

  11. busterggi responds:

    ninbunje – I don’t doubt that undiscovered critters may live in Oz but no one else ever seems to have heard of these critters. You’d think the aborigines might have mentioned them at least during the past couple of centuries.

    If I could afford it I’d take a vacation in one of those spots that terrifies you so much. I know folks that are terrified by local legends about local places and i’ve never found anything scary about any of them, day or night.

  12. zachary responds:

    sorry archer but im part native american 30 percent and i know my ancestors had many stories about the land and they talked to the soul of what they killed not so with the aborigines.

  13. coelacanth1938 responds:

    You know, we’re kind of working under the assumption here that the Aborigines know about EVERYTHING that’s going on in Australia.
    That’s a bit like asking the average African-American on the street how his friends Obama and Whoopi are doing?

  14. Dougal Longfoot responds:

    I have a friend living in Alice Springs. I’ve asked her to see if any of the Arunta people she works with have ever heard of the Pankalankas. Will report back as soon as I hear from her.

  15. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Looking forward to it Dougal.
    Nimbunje – are you able to forward a scan of said picture?
    Archer – very good points.

  16. Dougal Longfoot responds:

    According to my friend (thanks Nat) none of the members of the Arunta people she spoke to had any knowledge of either the name Pankalanka or the description of white furred yowies. These are people who, whilst not living a bush lifestyle any more, are still in touch with their traditions. She is asking one more man tomorrow if he knows of them.

  17. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Thanks Dougal, I really do appreciate your efforts. Notice also that the report is from 1982 – so if genuine, this might go partway to explaining why some people may not have heard of it.

    I am aware of a few interesting stories from this region, which is why I am very interested in what you discover – although I haven’t heard anything relating to yowies there. (But then again, yowies are certainly not my specialty!)



  18. lapzod responds:

    The aboriginals have many stories about creatures unknown to the rest of the world. I remember my great uncle who lived in an aboriginal area telling me how I was to not go to a mountain at night and stop there. If I did I would smell the foulest smell I could imagine, and needed to leave there.

    Stories like that tend to be passed around, amongst the communities, but the rest of us don’t seem to pay too much attention to them unfortunately.

  19. blackcat55 responds:

    archer1945, it appears you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  20. zachary responds:

    thank you black cat there is no doubt that the American Indians are closer to nature than any others i know of they say animals made the world and protect us the aboriginals say men made earth then became rocks no protectors so archer 1945 needs more research

  21. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Hi Dougal,

    just to check – are the Arunta people the same as the “Aranda” people of 1982 mentioned in the article?

  22. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Hahahaha… has anyone even bothered Googling “pankalanka”??

    It seems Gilroy’s been written off too early. See here for information on a print made in 1981 by an Australian Aboriginal artist who passed away in 1999 and was born in 1921 (name withheld in respect of Aboriginal custom. Warning – the linked page – and the link address – display the artist’s name.)

  23. ausiepath9 responds:

    You wrote:busterggi responds: September 13th, 2008 at 9:23 am

    See this is why, even though I enjoy reading Rex Gilroy’s stuff, I just can’t take him seriously. I’ve never heard of the pankalanka before, even in his books.

    Ausiepath…Maybe because you have never read any of his books.

    If you had you’d have read on page 93 of the 2001 book – “Giants from the Dreamtime-The Yowie in Myth and Reality”, about them and other names for them in two separate chapters..

    The Aborigines of the Northern Territory also fear another race of hairy giants, the dreaded Pankalanka People.

    Also called the Pungalunga by some tribes, there are many European inhabitants of the “Red Centre” who share the Aborigines belief in their existence.

    Sightings claims describe the male Pankalankas as being between 2.6 and 3m in height, whiel their females are somewhat smaller.

    Then there is another two pages on reports/sightings and other names for them. In another chapter Rex talks of them again.

    Rex has also written articles on them. I’m not sure where your getting your info but it isn’t from reading his books-possibly your dis-like for Rex is more the reason.

    The Australian Aborigines/Kooris have literally thousands of names Australia wide. That you have not heard of many of them could be because Rex has been travelling around Australia for almost 40 odd years researching them.

    This is Rex Gilroy’s entire life, day in day out for most of his life.

    Rex has also been fortunate to have met and became friends with many Aboriginal, elders, historians and actors over the decades who have also shared there own tribal stories of the Yowie, the pygmies, and other giants, including the hundreds of names they are known by Australia wide.

    Unless you have traveled extensively around Australia researching these stories that you have not heard of, I cannot see how you can make a comment such as that.

    Especially when it is obvious you have not read any of his books/articles, or been to any Yowie conferences etc…!

  24. ausiepath9 responds:

    # marcodufour responds: September 13th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Time to take Rex Gilroy’s comments in the same vein as Mr Biscardi, although having lived in Australia for 6 years Yowies definitely exist and appear to exhibit a lot of Sasquatch traits.

    Ummmmmmmm can you elaborate why you mix Rex with this person, they are different people from different countries researching different things!!!!

    So you have lived her 6 years and know the Yowie exists, that’s great, care to elaborate what you base this remarkable discovery on??

    Your painstaking research in the Australian bush??

    Your knowledge of the vast Australian countryside??

    Your vast knowledge of the Australian Aborigines/Kooris??

    Time to take your comments for what they are, viral!! Most of you have ever met Rex, have ever looked at his evidence first hand, yet have this opinion based what again?

    This continual dislike for a man who has spent 50 years researching these subjects. Maybe it is time some of you actually met the man your calling a liar etc…

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