If you cast your mind back to the 2015 NSW state election, you might remember one of #CasinoMike’s weirdest photo opportunities. No, not the time he posed by the mural he was about to have painted over. No, this was when Our Mike was surprised to find himself in the same room as a giant furry wookiee thing.
It wasn’t actually Chewbacca, as it turns out; it was the very similarly maned mascot of the Queanbeyan Yowies, the basketball team of the town Baird had travelled to visit on a handshake tour of the marginal seat of Monaro in southern NSW.
— AAP Multimedia (@aap_multimedia) January 18, 2017
But c’mon, we know exactly who and what Mike Baird is standing next to, right? Someone just bought a wookiee suit and pretended to be a yowie. Rather than, y’know, an actual real-life wookiee. The dreadlocked, brown and black figure has clearly taken more than a bit of inspiration from the un-sung hero of the Rebellion.
A yowie — if you’ve never heard of one — is a cryptid purported to live in the Australian wilderness. Standing between 7-12 feet tall (2.2-3.6m), it’s a shy and timid hominid with long hair and extremely lengthened arms, apparently spotted dozens of times in recorded history. There are even some dedicated Australian yowie hunters, most notably Tim the Yowie Man and Rex Gilroy.
The creature’s name is thought to have come from the word ‘yahoo’, used by 19th century Europeans in written descriptions. In different regional Aboriginal language groups, the yowie is also known as the quinkin, jurrawarra or joogabinna.
With Baird on his way out, the most likely successor to take the role of NSW state Premier is current treasurer and minister for industrial relations Gladys Berejiklian.