Navigating the exhibition

You can navigate through this exhibition using the dots and chapter headings left of screen.

The arrow controls at bottom left and right of screen allow you to move back and forward between slides within each chapter.

You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate.

We hope you enjoy this celebration of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

Skippy saves the day

The adventures of Sonny Hammond and Skippy the bush kangaroo in Waratah National Park in the late 1960s captured the country's imagination and showcased Australia to the world.

Get a taste of Skippy's incredible abilities to communicate with humans and use her paws to do... just about anything in these short compilations. Click the buttons below to view.

Speaking Skippy’s language (Compilation, 2019)

'What's wrong, Skip?'

Skippy's ability to communicate with humans was legendary. Her unique 'tch tch tch' sound could mean everything from a simple 'Yes' to 'Sonny's trapped down a well and I need you to fetch the helicopter so we can rescue him right now!'.

A kangaroo like no other (Compilation, 2019)

Skippy's amazing skills

A compilation of clips from 'Skippy' that shows her incredible skills, especially with her paws. Who knew a kangaroo could open doors, play musical instruments or untie knots?

Life in the bush

Waratah National Park was home to Head Ranger Matt Hammond (left, played by Ed Devereaux), his sons Mark and Sonny, and their friends Clancy Merrick and helicopter pilot Jerry King.

Conservation and environmental themes were integral to Skippy, which ran for 91 episodes (and a spin-off feature film) produced between 1966 and 1969.

Skippy and Sonny’s Adventures (Compilation, 2019)

‘An eventful day’

This compilation of clips from 'Skippy' shows some of the dangers and adventures shared by Sonny and Skippy in Waratah National Park. Included in the clip are several memorable villains and animal guest stars.

Environmental concerns (Compilation, 2019)

Protecting the wildlife

This compilation of clips from 'Skippy' highlights the importance placed by the series' producers on respecting and caring for the natural environment and its wildlife.

Working with Skippy

In this chapter, key cast members (including Tony Bonner, left, as Jerry) look back on their time making the series and working with its unique star.

Skippy also attracted a who’s who of Australian talent as guest stars, from Jack Thompson and Bill Hunter to shark expert Valerie Taylor.

Skippy: Australia’s First Superstar (Documentary, 2009)

The Skippy Cast Reminisce

Actors Garry Pankhurst, Tony Bonner, Ken James and Liza Goddard reflect on making 'Skippy', offering an engaging contrast of professional motivations and personal interests.

Jeanie Drynan NFSA Oral History, 2014

‘Everyone would have to find Skippy’

Jeanie Drynan guest starred in two episodes of the series and the feature film 'Skippy and the Intruders' (1969). Here she recalls meeting Skippy for the first time.

A Who’s Who of Australian talent (Compilation, 2019)

Skippy Guest Stars

Performers include: Frank Thring, Jack Thompson, Jeanie Drynan, Michael Caton, John Meillon, Maggie Dence, Bill Hunter, Chips Rafferty, Barry Crocker and more.

Tony Bonner NFSA Oral History, 2005

‘There were some funny moments’

Tony Bonner, who played helicopter pilot Jerry King, recalls in this oral history excerpt what it was like working with a kangaroo as the star.

Ed Devereaux, In Melbourne Tonight (GTV-9, 1968)

‘A very easy part to play’

In this characteristic example of 1960s Australian variety television, Mike Preston speaks with Ed Devereaux about his role in 'Skippy' and the international popularity of the show.

Skippy Everywhere

The enormous popularity of Skippy led to a range of merchandising tie-ins such as books, records, toys, t-shirts – even ‘Skippy’s very own tea set’ (left). All sorts of companies linked their products to Skippy.

Seen by millions of viewers around the globe, Skippy and her fellow cast members were mobbed at their public appearances.

‘You’ll be proud to wear the badge’ (Advertisement, 1966)

Join the Skippy Club

Ed Devereaux, in character as Waratah National Park Head Ranger Matt Hammond, promotes the Skippy Club. At its peak, the club boasted nearly 70,000 members.

Skippy: Australia’s First Superstar (Documentary, 2009)

Skippy conquers the world

In this clip it’s interesting to see and hear examples of 'Skippy' dubbed into non-English languages. Tony Bonner and Liza Goodard also recall with endearing honesty how overwhelmed they were by their sudden fame.

‘Your new fur-covered Skippy moneybox’ (Advertisement, 1960s)

Open a Skippy Savings Account

With the success of 'Skippy', companies saw an opportunity to promote their products and services to children. This advertisement for a Skippy moneybox from CBC Bank is an excellent example.

‘You can kangaroo!’ (Advertisement, 1970s)

Eat Skippy Cornflakes

This is an undeniably effective advertisement for Sanitarium’s Skippy Corn Flakes, combining national pride with typically Australian tongue-in-cheek humour and a catchy song.

Skippy on tour (silent TV news footage, 1969)

Skippy at Newcastle Shopping Mall

Large crowds gather to see Skippy with her handler, Scotty Denholm. This silent clip perfectly captures the popularity of the kangaroo star with the Australian public.

Making Skippy

Animal handler Scotty Denholm (left) is one of many people who contibuted to Skippy behind the scenes.

This chapter features executive producer John McCallum and the work of composer Eric Jupp and cinematographer Peter Menzies.

Meeting in the Middle (CTC 7, Canberra, 1979)

Sharing Skippy’s Secret

John McCallum, co-creator of 'Skippy', on 1970s talk show 'Meeting in the Middle'. The simple two-camera studio shoot effectively focuses the attention on McCallum and his production ‘secret’. In this interview, Skippy is mistakenly referred to as a 'he'.

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (1966)

Theme song by Eric Jupp

Eric Jupp’s catchy theme song for 'Skippy' is one of the most recognisable and enduring scores of any Australian TV show and a great example of the strength and quality of his work.

Making Skippy and the Intruders (1969)

Behind-the-scenes test film

Rare, silent production footage. The writing on the clapper board suggests cinematographer Peter Menzies was testing Techniscope film stock for the Skippy feature film 'The Intruders'.

Trivia

1
Other names considered for Skippy by the show’s producers included Jumpy, Hoppy and Springy.
2
At its height, Skippy screened in 128 countries to an audience of over 300 million people each week.
3
Psychologists in Sweden vetoed broadcasting Skippy because of its unrealistic portrayal of a kangaroo.

Want more Skippy?

Explore our curated collections, where you’ll find extra clips, interviews, merchandise, music, advertisements, behind-the-scenes materials and much more.

Acknowledgements

This exhibition would not be possible without the support of Fauna Productions.

All footage from Skippy and The Intruders courtesy Fauna Productions.

With special thanks also to Tony Bonner and Jeanie Drynan.

  • Exhibition Producers: Adam Blackshaw, Stephen Groenewegen
  • Multimedia Producer: Rachael Priddel
  • Broadcast Curators: Helen Tully
  • Licensing and rights: Bronwyn Dowdall, Anna Yates
  • Video: Dieter Schmid, Daniel Smith, Chris Standen, Terry Steutz
  • Audio: Karen Hewitt
  • Oral History: Sean O'Brien
  • Tea Set Photography: Brooke Shannon

SKIPPY COLLECTION