What the Heck’s a Goataroo? The Wagga Wagga Icon I Never Caught

While I’ve never thumbed through Moby Dick, I’m a lot like Captain Ahab. For I also once had a white whale. But mine was Wagga Wagga’s goataroo.

Now, if you’ve never heard of a goataroo, let me explain. A goataroo is a goat that lives with a court of kangaroos. It eats with the kangaroos. It naps with the kangaroos. It even bounces across the countryside, with the kangaroos. 

However, does such a goat truly think it’s a roo? Who knows, for we cannot know a goataroo’s thoughts.

Which brings us to the NSW city of Wagga Wagga. For in the hills near Charles Sturt University, such a mysterious creature once thrived. 

According to my father, Geoffrey Burrows, the goataroo has been a part of the mythology of Wagga Wagga for quite some time. My dad knows this because he’s been a lecturer and a botanist at this uni for over two decades.

However, my dad can’t recall the first time he heard of the goataroo. Until he witnessed it, the goataroo was a “rural legend” that he didn’t give much credence to.

I, on the other hand, distinctly remember learning about the goataroo in the autumn of 2019. I was home for the holidays, freelance writing, and hunting for my next big hit.

As soon as my Dad told me of the goataroo, I wanted to take a picture of it. I thought that I could sell a picture of it for millions. Or at least, VICE would take it for $100 or so.

And what followed was some Captain Ahab shenanigans. I would repeatedly ask my dad if we could travel to Charles Sturt University and meet the goataroo. What’s more, during the times that I went there, I would climb up and down the hills in search of it. But the goataroo never appeared. 

Holidays turned into holidays. Months turned into months. Years turned into years.

Meanwhile, my dad had a whack more luck than me. In July of 2020, he took some stellar pictures of the goataroo. Some of them are as follows:

Wagga Wagga’s goataroo.
Image: Geoffrey Burrows
The goat standing with some kangaroos.
Image: Geoffrey Burrows

“The goat would always be first to stand up and then move away,” stated Dad. “Followed by the roos, who were more relaxed about having humans around.”

RIP: Wagga Wagga’s Goataroo

In the year 2023, Wagga Wagga’s goataroo might be dead. As per Dad, he hasn’t met this creature in a couple of years.

This means that I never get to meet the goataroo. This means that I’ll never make my millions. This means that all my cravings are gone.

So, now that it’s all said and done, how do I feel about this situation? Well, naturally a bit sad. It would have been nice to make myself the goataroo story’s main character. It would have been nice to be a part of this yarn.

However, I’m also somewhat relieved. ‘Cause I can now go home for the holidays and not be haunted by work. I won’t feel any pressure to be at Charles Sturt University. I’ll no longer be lost in its hills.

White whales, goataroos, Captain Ahab, I now set all you folks free.

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