Skippy - Your Chance To Save A Cultural Icon
21 May 2011 - Steve Lawson - Sunday Piece
Hellmail this year took up the gauntlet of raising awareness in the UK of the plight of Waratah Park in Australia, the cultural home of Australia's most famous TV product - Skippy. It might seem an odd cause, but we were somewhat moved by the work of its president, Penny Edmonds who has been working hard to stop the bulldozers from moving in and the site being lost to the world.
There are a few reasons why we decided to back this one but 'Skippy The Bush Kangaroo' was broadcast at a time before the advent of cheap package holidays and did much to show the world the diversity of the Australian bush and perhaps what a lucky kid its principle actor (Sonny - Aka Gary Pankhurst) was to live in a world where wildlife really mattered. This was all way before the world really woke up to environmental concerns and the site must surely be an icon for those with even a mild interest in ecological matters. The series was also a starting point for a young actress called Lisa Goddard who played the part of 'Clancy' in the series.
Although no firm commitment has been made by the Australian government, there is some hope at least that it could be marked as a heritage site - something I suggested when we first launched the Waratah Park Appeal.
You can make a difference simply by joining as a member (which costs little) and the proceeds will go towards fighting for the future of the site and the establishment of a proper visitors area. This we feel would not only secure the site but provide a mecca for thousands of children (and adults) each year to visit the set which still stands, and have a hands-on experience of Australian Flora and fauna. The views are truly breathtaking and whilst the ownership of the site is still being debated, the world has a stake in this if we are not to loose it forever.
We decided to make Waratah Park our good cause for 2011 (possibly 2012 too) as Skippy was extraordinarily popular in the UK and the series now available on DVD. We are hopeful that the Australian government will appreciate the importance of the site and do its level best to assist Penny in securing its future but to do that we need to raise awareness of its importance not just to Australians but the world.
You might like to take a look and see how the site fares today:
You can find out more about the park and the campaign to save it at:
Any support will be greatly appreciated by Penny and the team behind this project!
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