Kangaroo Dundee



Remember me? I’m AGMA and used to have a blog. I wrote about all kinds of stuff but mostly how not to age gracefully and the humorous side of getting older. And there is one if you look really, really hard…

So we got back from Australia about 48 hours ago. Since I get jet lagged flying to Chicago and changing one time zone, AGMA’s beside herself with a 16 hour time change.

I might fall asleep any minute.

And we had date changes.

AGMA crossed the International Date Line.  Twice.  How the hell does that work anyway? We lost a day flying there. November 16th – nonexistent, poof, goodbye. And we landed in LA 5 hours before we left Melbourne on December 1st. WTF?

Sounds like some sort of a evil plot cooked up by Vladimir Putin and his BFF, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

But it was a great trip. Sophia, my very overworked guardian angel from our summer trip to France and Spain, got a break this trip. I behaved.

But I had fun anyway.

Again, AGMA’s not a travel blogger. I don’t have the ability to write about a trip in a way such that the reader isn’t sound asleep by the end of the piece.


Friends have asked about our Australian trip highlight. Normally, it’s really hard to come up with just one thing.

But Hubs and I both agree that our unanimous favorite thing on this trip was…


The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

BBC/National Geographic/PBS is airing 6 part series made in 2013 in the US called Kangaroo Dundee.  It’s about this slightly quirky (in the best way!) man named Chris Barns. But his friends call him Brolga.

He lives in the Outback outside of Alice Springs and has devoted his life to saving orphaned baby kangaroos. Otherwise known as joeys.

Cute, sweet little trusting joeys.

Hubs and I saw the series last summer and were throughly enchanted.

AGMA wants her own joey.  I wonder if I could teach it to use a litter box?  The cats might not be too wild about that idea…

When I realized that Brolga’s sanctuary was close to Alice Springs, and we were going to be in Alice Springs, and that he did tours of his sanctuary three days a week, and we were going to be there one of those days, I entered a state that can only be described as rapturous.

AGMA immediately bought tickets for the tour.  Five months in advance.

The big day – or evening – arrived last week!  Brolga came out to greet the bus. AGMA was the first one off (of course…)  I ran up to meet him and shook his hand. You’d have thought that he was a Tour de France cyclist. Without the spandex.

Friendly, kind, unassuming with a joey in the sack he had hanging off his shoulder, Brolga was awesome!

Did you hear me?  HE HAD A JOEY IN HIS PURSE!

If a female kangaroo is hit and killed by a car, more often than not, the joey in her pouch will survive. Interesting right? You just have to look in the pouch and pull the little critter out.

Turns out, when a little joey is orphaned, you pretty much just stick it in some sort of pillow case or sack and it’s happy. And feed every 4 hours round the clock.

Brolga is one of those unique individuals you come across once in a blue moon who feels he has found his true calling, passion and purpose in life. He’s a surrogate mom to hundreds of kangaroos.

After the election debacle in the US, it was totally refreshing to meet somebody not interested in fame, power or fortune. He just wants to save joeys and raise his kangaroos in peace and without fuss. He’s turned down a 4th series for the BBC because his said his ‘roos need a rest and he needs a break.

What reality star does that?

Before the income from the BBC series and the tours he personally leads 3 days a week for half of the year, he was holding down 2 jobs to pay for sanctuary expenses. He shared a tin shack with no electricity or plumbing with mice, spiders and (shiver) the occasional snake.

Now he’s able to devote 100% of his time to his kangaroos. He’s even built a Kangaroo Hospital and will be needing volunteers to hold joeys when it opens next year.

Pick me! Pick me!

He’s since gotten married to a joey crazy lady and moved into a real house across the road from the sanctuary. No mice but full of joeys. Probably in diapers. Hopefully in diapers.

We all got to hold the two joeys he had with him – Poppy and Anastasia.


As it got dark, we walked around his sanctuary to meet his mob of adult kangaroos. He pens up the males, but only during the tours for the protection of the guests.  The “boys” can get kinda nasty.

Remember those Looney Tunes cartoons with the boxing kangaroo?  Yeah – the males really do that. A few years ago, Roger, the dominant male in the mob that Brolga raised from young joey, gave him a kick in the groin that required 6 stitches.


As our bus was taking us back into town, we passed a dead kangaroo in the road. Our driver pulled the bus over and called somebody. He asked this person to call Brolga to check it out to make sure there wasn’t a joey in the pouch.

Kangaroo Dundee’s on duty 24/7.

More tales from Down Under soon…