Created by John McCallum, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was a highly successful Australian television series than was produces between 1966 and 1668. The program told the story of a young boy and his pet kangaroo Skippy, and the various visitors who attended our beloved Waratah Park just outside of Sydney, Australia.
Over the three seasons that Skippy was in production, ninety episodes were filmed. All of the original episodes were shown in Australia in black and white, however the show was filmed in colour to increase its chances of becoming popular in overseas markets where it aired in the 1970s.
Skippy was an international success and was screened in all Commonwealth Countries. It was also dubbed into numerous languages including French and Spanish. When Australian television switched to colour in 1975, the Nine Network aired the series several times more for the Australian public to view.
The Cast of Skippy
- Ed Devereaux starred as Matthew Hammond, the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park
- Garry Pankhurst was Sonny Hammond, the youngest son of Matthew Hammond
- Ken James played the role of Mark Hammond, Matt’s eldest son
- Tony Bonner was Jerry King, the flight ranger and helicopter pilot
- Liza Goddard acted in the role of Clarissa ‘Clancy’ Merrick, a teenage girl who was the daughter of a ranger stationed in another section of Waratah Park
- John Warwick played the role of Sir Adrian Gillespie, the Head of the New South Wales Board for National Parks
- Elke Neidhardt was Dr. Anna Steiner, the German doctor
- Morgan Brain acted the role of Sargent Bernard Gillies
- Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos
Skippy, a wild Eastern Grey Kangaroo was the star of the program. She is befriended by a young boy names Sonny Hammond, the some of the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park, just outside of Sydney, NSW. In the series Sonny does not have a mother, she is mentioned to have passed away shortly after his birth.
The episodes are all about the adventures that the pair have within the park, including incidents with local animals, dangerous situations due to natural hazards and the actions of visitors to the park. The television show was filmed in Sydney’s north at the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Waratah Park, which is adjacent to it.
Before the series began filming, permission was granted for the producers to film and build structures in the park. This was done to showcase the new National Parks & Wildlife Service government department, then Premier, Tom Lewis, had just established.
Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary contained much of the original film set including the ‘Ranger Headquarters’. Many of the descendants of the kangaroos used in the television series also remained there. The series appeared in over 80 countries and its theme tune is well recognized throughout Australia and much of the rest of the world.
In 1969 a Skippy movie called Skippy and the Intruders was produced and released.