Wan’kurra The Golden Bandicoot

Original price was: $25.00.Current price is: $20.00.

Wan’kurra (Golden Bandicoots) are an animal that has disappeared from most of mainland Australia. Their last recorded sighting in the Northern Territory was in the 1950’s. When hairs are discovered 
on Martjanba Island in scats of wild dogs, Aboriginal people of the Wessel Islands are asked about their knowledge of Wan’kurra, and reveal the story.
Can these small animals be brought back from the brink of extinction by translocating them to other islands?


Review by Jackie French, January 2013

This superb book describes not just a real hunt for ‘Wan’kurra’ or the rare Golden Bandicoot, but invites the reader to join the zoologists, ecologist and Indigenous custodians who work to preserve one of the world’s most endangered species.

It is a gentle and fascinating way for a child to learn not just what ‘scats’ or ‘Guku’ mean (dried dung and bush honey, respectively), but also to show then how thrilling hands on conservation can be. Instead of the all too often ‘making pot pourri with your dead flowers’ and similar ‘green’ activities for kids, this story involves flying to small islands, watching the men lure fish with their torches before they spear them, then following the mother bandicoot as she too hunts, finding crickets and beetles for her babies.

The book follows the story of the bandicoots from island to island, and the challenges as the communities decide to rid the island of the wild dogs that can exterminate them, and the bandicoots survival despite a cyclone and the tonnes of old fishing net debris washed up on the beaches.

This book also beautifully evokes the little known Wessel Islands and the northern seasons, like ‘Rrarranhdharr’, the term by the Yolgnu people in eastern Arnhem Land for one of the dry seasons, with a mixture of magic photographs and Colwyn Campbell’s superb illustrations. Children from three to adult will be entranced both by this book, and the little known worlds, both physical and cultural, that it describes.

‘Wan’kurra The Golden Bandicoot’ is a book to love and treasure, education in the best possible way.


Review by Debra Dank (November 2012) An Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy foundation and an Indigenous teacher.

This is a truly interesting book which is hard to place into a specific category or genre. The telling of several stories gives a curious movement to the book with so much information being shared with the reader. There are choices for the reader to make; to read purely for story, for discovering scientific fact or for historic record.

Inclusion of Indigenous perspective through language and ethnographic practice adds another facet to this important story of fauna preservation.

The author has woven many strands together to present a story with various entry points for whoever the reader might be. While it can be difficult to address issues in conservation and land management with children and to clarify for them what that process might entail, this book presents the reader with the opportunity to gain an authentic understanding at all levels of this process. Perhaps the most significant facet to this story is the inclusion of local people who develop skills and knowledge to be real participants in this story about saving the Wan’kurra.

Another key feature of this book is the inclusion of a broad range of illustration from photographs to survey maps. The pencil portraits of local Traditional Owners are a wonderful touch which rounds the book nicely.

Wan’kurra, The Golden Bandicoot is a lovely story and is bound to have something for many readers.


Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9780980642261

In stock