This photograph by Frank Blum does have a certain kind of humor to it. A man reaches out his hand to a kangaroo in order to shake hands. The kangaroo seems to think for a while, wether it should or should not take it. We wanted to learn more about that odd situation.

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© Frank Blum/Westend61

Did the kangaroo really shake hands with the guy, Frank?

Frank Blum

Frank Blum

After having spent one week in Sidney doing rehearsals and presenting our Media-Dance Performance at the 2013 SEAM-Symposium, Burkard, the singer of the Ensemble and I, who was in charge for all audiovisual content and interactive controls, did have 11 days left to explore that humonguous continent. We totally knew that it was absolutely impossible, so we decided to listen to one of our australian friends and hired a Mini-Van.

So we took off right towards Seal Rocks on the east coast. We travelled through various national parks, crossed some beautiful landscapes and drove by miles of deserted beaches until we finally reached Hawks Nest. For the entire trip we had only seen a few kangaroos here and there and already wondered where all those heraldic animals of Australia were. In Hawks Nest we met an elderly couple, who sold handmade pillows and marmelade in their little store. After a long chitchat while having coffee and some selfbaked cake they told us the way towards a big meadow, known as the gathering point for all kangaroos of the region – “there will be hundreds of them”.

Excited, if we would really see some of those animals from close now, we followed their directions and indeed: Close to a sanatory in the middle of the woods we discovered hundreds of kangaroos in the wild. It was a big jump-around, breastfeeding mothers with their kids in their bag, sunbathing old men und muscly young kangaroos, that had an eye on us. The shop owner had told us, that the kangaroos there were pretty tame and would allow us to feed them by hand, but due to their sharp claws and their impressive appearances we stayed careful and kept standing at the edge of the meadow. A few of the kangaroos came up closer looking at us. Shortly after that a woman with her young daughter came by. The girl jumped out of the car, ran up to the kangaroos and made them jump away like rabbits.

So we took our guts together, stepped up towards the animals and indeed they allowed us to pet them and now they were as trustful as giant rabbits. Holding on to our bags of bread we went onto the meadow. That obviously was the go for all of them, who now jumped up to us from each side and started to take the bread from our hands. But after a little while they became very impatient and we could hardly feed them as fast as they grabbed for the bread. We felt a bit trapped amidst all those kangaroos, they almost ripped the bag of bread out of Burkard´s hand so that he carried away a massive scratch on his hand. Within 5 minutes the bag was absolutely empty, the kangaroos lost their interest in us and we were finally able to catch a breath again. That is were the picture with the handshake was taken, but that doesn´t seem to be very common among kangaroos.