ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Taylor has written, produced and directed many hundreds of children’s
television programmes during twenty years in the industry.
his later career, he wrote screenplays for the Queensland Film Corporation and
has lectured on creative writing and writing screenplays for film and
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
lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
In a remote valley in the dense rain forests of
“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.”
The miner was trying his luck, fossicking for gold in a
little tributary off the
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
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.
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
The boy had a secret cave under a sandstone outcrop,
high up on a ridge near the town of
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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