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You’ll not see many of these here in Dundee Scotland as opposed to Dundee Australia – kangaroos. But………we did have wallabies a few years ago. May still have- I’m not certain. And wallaby I’ve just learned is a generic term for mastopoids smaller than kangaroos. I’ve actually lived happily for many years without knowing that – but then life long learning is trending just now and you know what it’s like. Keep up with the trends or remain in ignorance.

The creatures in question were housed in Camperdown Park Wildlife Centre as the local zoo was rebranded. Locals of course continue to use the old name. But the interesting thing about these wallabies was that in 1999 they escaped and went on the run ( or skip hop and jump) round Dundee. So drivers on the Kingsway as we call our ahead of its time built in the 30s ring road were suddenly confronted with these visions of Australia before their urban eyes and had to slam on the anchors pronto! The police and the authorities sprung into action! They bounded across streets parks gardens and waste ground responding to reports of wallies on the randan.

Eventually skippy and co. were cordoned off and rounded up and returned to Camperdown Park. Poet WN Herbert Dundee’s “makar” (official poet) wrote a brilliantly funny poem about it entitled “The Great Camperdown Breakout”. There’s a copy of it in the Anthology “Whaleback City” a collection of poetry from Dundee and its hinterland. Camperdown Park and its mansion Camperdown House by the way were named after Admiral Duncan from Dundee. He won a famous victory over French forces at the battle of Camperdown during the Napoleonic Wars and hence the name. I wonder what he’d have thought of wallabies roaming the grounds?

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