Lake Macquarie History

Judy, Jean, Topsy and Bess

Amongst the household pets of "Bulba" were four lovable creatures that never failed to attract the attention of the visitor.

"Judy" ruled the roost as far as this quartet of furred curiosities was concerned, and even "Jean" her own offspring, came in for many a pawing. "Judy" a grey kangaroo came from Morisset, and "Jean" was born on the Island. I was privileged to see a later mating, and watched with increasing interest the new arrival kicking in the pouch, and eventually saw him one early morning frisking near the camp. What appeared to be nothing more than two very long legs, and a sharp pointed face crowned with two long ears, was making some very grotesque attempts to hop. Stalking warily, the better to see the fun, I was spotted by the youngster, who made a dive for his mother's pouch. The head alone seems much too large to safely seek shelter let along those long dangling legs! It was a lengthy process before he was tucked away and peeping once more from the safety of his Mother's pouch. Fate was to prove unkind to this youngster whom I had christened "Koko" , Cast off much earlier than "Jean" to forage for himself, he found herbage very scarce owing to bush fires and drought conditions, and was eventually found in a dying condition.

"Topsy" was a blue plains Wallaroo, and was bottle fed on the Island. Very timid by nature, the other animals found no difficulty in making her dispense with her piece of bread and then stamp off in disgust. Even the rat kangaroos, and the o'possums at night time used to scare her. At a call she would come and partake of sweetened tea of which she was very fond. Another of the same species was brought to the Island, but unfortunately did not last long, having mysteriously got a limb broken and had to be destroyed.

These wallaroos have a very 'dour' expression owing to the bluntness of their snouts.

"Bess" a brown wallaby was "arrested' in a naturalists shop in Newcastle. Here she was chained up and must have had sad memories of her lost freedom. 'Deported' to the Island Sanctuary she soon established herself a first favourite in spite of "Judy's" trouncings. "Rastus" a male suitor from the bush, soon went a’courting her with his queer cluck-cluckings, which were more reminiscent of the fowl yard than from a powerful denizen of the bush. From this union I was enabled to see a babe firmly attached to mother teat a little over two inches long in the pouch. I watched the kickings in the pouch and a tiny head surveying the world outside at a later period, but like his half-brother "Koko" was doomed to die early. "Bess" evidently knew that conditions were not suitable, and "Rastus" her lover was paying court again, so the youngster was thrown out, sacrificed on the altar of love.

Thompson Noble. 18.7.1934.