Column: Tales from the bush and deep blue sea

Carol Forster
Carol Forster

Well dear readers, this week my nostalgic memories have an animal theme, as a sweet diversion from the forthcoming election.

I am referring to a programme which I used to watch every week through the 1960s that had a very vocal kangaroo. Ring any bells?

Yes, of course I refer to Skippy the bush kangaroo.

Skippy seemed a sensible sort of beast who had the capacity to solve crimes while enjoying the splendour of the Bush. He was often accompanied by the ranger's son, whose name escapes me.

According to Wikipedia, it was set in the Waratah national park. I don’t remember this though I enjoyed watching the beast hopping around solving mysteries.

I also remember it had a slobbering, clicking sound which alerted the ranger and his son to things, such as where Mr Roger’s car got to or a box of coins buried beneath a tree. That kinda thing. Skippy was a fabulous animal with extraordinary powers and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wanting one, until they filled me in about it only being native to Australia. I had wondered why we didn’t see more Skippys hopping about the town, admittedly.

Then, there was another television programme we used to watch called Flipper which starred a dolphin, or was it a porpoise?

Set in the Florida Keys area. it starred Flipper and the park ranger of the Coral Key Marine preserve, and his family. This marine animal also had an amazing vocal range which seemed to herald the finding of things or solving of mysteries.

Wikipedia refers to it having been dubbed ‘an aquatic Lassie’ and mentions the book ‘Flipper’ which was inspired by the legend of Taras, who was saved by a dolphin which had been sent by Poseidon, off the Taranto coast in Italy (a legend I wrote about in an old column once). Bear with me, I realise this sounds nuts!

I do recall being very taken by this beautiful Flipper creature who mother assured me would not fit in a tank along with the goldfish.

I particularly remember the burbling sounds Flipper made which always meant something was about to happen. This was a strange but fascinating introduction to the world, not least because it suggested that mere words are unnecessary, but actions all.

Politicians take note!