More than 130 years ago in Australia , in the dense forests of Cape York Peninsula in Northern Queensland , a kangaroo made of pure gold mysteriously vanished. It was the time of the Palmer River gold rush, when many fortunes were quickly won and just as quickly lost.  

Jamie Turner from Tasmania is visiting his cousin, Emma Holland, who lives on a cattle station on Cape York . Keen to solve the mystery of the Golden Kangaroo, Jamie and Emma learn that the Golden Kangaroo is cursed by a mysterious clan of Little Red People, the Spirits of the Bush, who have been Protectors of the Trees for 20,000 years.  

The quest to find the Golden Kangaroo is a tail of courage, endurance, worthiness and a test of character and truth - a challenge to defeat the strong powers of ancient magic and enforce the custodianship of the Protectors of the Land.  

THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN KANGAROO - A TREASURE HUNT is an exciting adventure of the gold rush days of Cape York , and a compelling story of a young boy's struggle against an evil force intent on killing him.

In Store Price: $AU23.95 
Online Price:   $AU22.95

ISBN:  978-1-921240-40-9
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 201
Genre:  Fiction/Children's


Author: Bill Taylor
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2007
Language: English



Bill Taylor has written, produced and directed many hundreds of children’s television programmes during twenty years in the industry. 

In his later career, he wrote screenplays for the Queensland Film Corporation and for Film Victoria .  

He has lectured on creative writing and writing screenplays for film and television. 

The Curse of the Golden Kangaroo – a Treasure Hunt is his first novel, and has been meticulously researched over a long period, as Bill lived and worked in Queensland for many years.  

Bill lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales.



In a remote valley in the dense rain forests of northern Queensland , by the fluttering light from a candle, an elderly Aboriginal man sat on the dirt floor of a hut and told a strange story to a young boy.  

“My father, him called Kambiljara, longa time ago in 1874, when only a boy like you, him have plenty gold hidden in secret cave. One day my father build big kangaroo out of gold and treasure is lost.

“Magic Spirit mob called Podji-Podji, him put curse on Golden Kangaroo, and plenty people look longa time for treasure, but not find him. They all die terrible deaths. Golden Kangaroo has never been found.”



Palmer River , Cape York 1874

The miner was trying his luck, fossicking for gold in a little tributary off the Palmer River . He was running his fingers through the fine gravel at the bottom of the fast running water when he discovered a pocket of coarse gold. He gathered it up off the sandy creek bed and began putting it in his billycan. Soon the billy was full of gold.

The digger resorted to an old miner’s trick. He dug a hole in the sand on the bank of the creek and buried the billycan full of gold in the hole. He lit a fire over the spot and cooked his dinner of salted bully beef and the yams that he had dug up earlier in the day.

With the embers still glowing red in the evening darkness, he bedded down for the night, his blue-heeler cattle dog asleep at his side.

Unbeknown to the digger, his every move was watched by a young Aboriginal boy hiding in the reeds that lined the bank of the creek.

Kambiljara stood up and licked his finger. He held it up to test the direction of the evening breeze.

“Good,” he whispered. ‘The wind, him blow from the west,’ he thought, ‘the dog won’t smell me coming.’

Kambiljara was fifteen years old. He had honey-coloured skin and big brown eyes. He was lean, crafty and quick-witted.

 He slithered through the long dry reeds and grass towards the digger’s campsite, until he was only a few metres away from where the man was sleeping. He stopped and listened, heard the man snore, then made his move.

The boy wriggled into the camp. Raking away the dying embers of the fire, he quickly dug up the billycan of gold. With the treasure in his hands he took off into the bush for a clean getaway. Or so he thought.

The miner’s dog, alerted by the noise of the intruder as he ran away from the campsite, began to bark. The digger woke and saw the boy running into the bush carrying his billycan full of gold.

Quickly he picked up his Snider rifle and chased after the boy. He began to fire wildly at the running figure.

Bullets ricocheted off trees all around Kambiljara, shooting pieces of bark and shredded vines into the air. The digger was aiming the Snider at anything that moved, sending bullets buzzing like bees over the head of the young Aborigine who was now lying still in the long grass.

Two bullets tore furrows through the earth centimetres from Kambiljara’s head. He quickly looked around for some cover; any kind of cover, but there was none. He was trapped.

Kambiljara heard the dog barking. It sounded close. It had picked up his scent and was heading in the boy’s direction. Lying still and trying not to make a sound, he knew the dog would soon find him. He heard the dog getting closer. Closer. He could hear the dog sniffing. It was close.

Kambiljara closed his eyes, and waited for the bullet that would kill him. The Snider rifle fired again.

Kambiljara felt a warm sticky liquid flowing over his face. He opened his mouth to cry out and tasted blood. He opened his eyes and saw the digger’s dog next to his face. It was spurting blood from a gaping wound in its head. It had been shot. The big Snider bullet had almost blown the dog’s head off.

The young Aborigine, with his billycan full of gold, slithered away through the long grass as the digger came running through the bush searching for him. All he found was his dead dog. By then, Kambiljara was well away.


The boy had a secret cave under a sandstone outcrop, high up on a ridge near the town of Palmerville . It was full of gum animals the boy had been making for most of his life. Behind them, deep in the back of the cave, buried in the dirt floor, was Kambiljara’s ‘treasure chest’.

The boy pulled out the big hollow log and poured out its contents. A huge mound of gold glittered in the glow of the burning torch that Kambiljara held above his head. He emptied the contents of the billycan on top of the pile and sat down next to it, admiring his mountain of gold.

For a long time the boy stared and dreamed. Then he fell asleep with his head resting on the golden pillow.

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