The Authors dedicate this book to the late Charles Melbourne Ward F.Z.S.; F.R.Z.S. known to
his great many friends simply as ‘Mel’. Together with his wife Halley, he operated a natural history
museum in the grounds of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath for many years and also another
established at Echo Point, Katoomba. It was ‘Mel’ who first taught me how to collect, record and study natural history specimens,
beginning when I was aged 11 years old on holidays with my parents at Katoomba in 1954. Thereafter,
every school holidays spent in Katoomba began with a visit to ‘Mel’ at his Medlow Bath Museum to
inform him how my fledgling natural science studies were progressing! As a result and after my parents
moved from our Lansvale [western Sydney] home to Katoomba, the Gilroys and Wards became close
There was hardly a week which did not see me peddling my pushbike from our North
Katoomba home up the Great Western Highway to see ‘Mel’ at his museum for more instruction.
Mel Ward possessed a wide knowledge of the culture of the Australian Aborigines and that of
the former local Blue Mountains tribes in particular. He was also a firm believer in the “Hairy Man”
and supported my researches in this regard.
At my 21st birthday party, held at the Homesdale Function Centre, at Katoomba on Saturday
night 8th November 1964, I well recall how my old friend, in front of a large gathering, congratulated
me on my researches and the large natural science collection that I was forming and then said: “You’ve
done a fantastic job Rex, BUT IT’S ABOUT TIME THAT YOU STARTED MAKING SOME
BLOODY MONEY OUT OF IT” in a loud voice that brought the house down! That following week,
together with my father Mr W.F. [Bill] Gilroy, I began a search of local venues, which soon resulted in the acquisition of the lease from the Blue Mountains City Council of the Mt York Tea Rooms, outside
Mt Victoria, the rest as they say “is history”.
Two years later, on October 6th 1966, Mel Ward was dead, having passed away in his sleep. He
once said to my father that I was “the Mel Ward of Tomorrow” and I am certain that Mel would be
pleased to know that I have indeed followed in his footsteps.
Mel led an adventurous life. The son of Hugh J. Ward, a famous Shakespearean actor of the
early 20th century, Mel was encouraged to go on the stage by his father but Mel developed a passion for
the natural sciences and his wealthy parents helped him become established. In his lifetime of
achievement, Mel became recognised as a world authority on Crustaceans and as an anthropologist.
He was made a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales and was pleased
when I too became a member of the Society in 1963. He encouraged me, not long before his death, to
take on the Presidency of the Society’s Entomological section, where I served for three years from 1966
That he achieved so many things in the course of his lifetime researches is remarkable, because
like this author, he was an amateur with not one university degree to his name!
I am certain that my old friend would be delighted at the fact that, together with Heather, I am
now writing and publishing books on the subjects he loved and on the Yowie in particular. He taught
me never to blindly follow the textbook and dare to question dogmas and not be told what to think! I
have certainly followed his advice.
Knowing Mel Ward as I did I know he would wholeheartedly approve of the scientific
approach of this book, therefore “Mel” This Book is for You!
Australian Yowie Research Centre,
Monday 25th June 2007.