In the early 1970s, freelance journalists Emily and Ola d’Aulaire, journeyed “down-under” from their home in North America, to investigate and report on the plight of wombats in Australia. They met with numerous locals involved in wombat conservation and made many interesting observations which were reported on in various popular magazines including Reader’s Digest and International Wildlife.
Some of of the people Emily and Ola met included Helge Hergstrom, one of the founding members of the Natural History Society; Mr and Mrs Jack Conquest, wombat enthusiasts who encouraged the Society to establish Moorunde Wildlife Reserve and helped promote the public appeal in 1968; and Dr Peg Christian, Adelaide veterinarian who cared for native animals and provided advice on caring for wombats to people like Brian Staker of Barmera. Among her achievements, Dr Peg Christian helped pioneer the development of Wombaroo, a replacement milk formula for orphaned marsupials.
Emily d’Aulaire has kindly given us permission to present some of their articles here. Please click the links below…
- “Lovable and inoffensive, Australia’s ace burrower”, Reader’s Digest, Nov 1972
- “80-Pound Mole”, International Wildlife, Nov-Dec 1972
The Natural History Society of South Australia thanks Emily and Ola d’Aulaire for helping to publicise the plight of wombats in Australia, and specifically Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats in South Australia.
The photo below features a young wombat kept by Mr and Mrs Jack Conquest in the 1950s. During their visit in the early 1970s, Emily and Ola visited the Conquest’s at their home in Adelaide where they were still keeping several wombats.