Bill Boyd boxing with his pet kangaroo, Kanga Joe

William Boyd1923

Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria

Bill Boyd writes of this iconic Australian image of a boxing kangaroo: 'Joe, as we called him, could box quite well and quite enjoyed it. He could throw his head well back and dodge. If he was boxing with a stranger, he could spring off his tail and rip his strides from the hip to the heel.'

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  • Title: Bill Boyd boxing with his pet kangaroo, Kanga Joe
  • Date Created: 1923
  • Type: Image
  • Rights: Copyright: Source: Museum Victoria / Photographer: William (Bill) Boyd, Copyright: Source: Museum Victoria / Photographer: William (Bill) Boyd
  • External Link: Museum Victoria Collections
  • Medium: Photograph; negative
  • Themes: Leisure
  • Artist biography: Bill Boyd (1901-1998) grew up in the Wimmera and Mallee districts of north-western Victoria. His father was a bullock driver who carted wheat through the districts to the rail lines. In 1912 he purchased a 640-acre allotment in Bimbourie Parish, north of Sea Lake. The 14-year-old Bill moved with his family to the allotment in 1915, and became responsible for running the farm while his father continued work as a bullocky. At the age of 19 Bill Boyd purchased a Kodak No 1 Autographic camera, film and a developing kit by mail order, and began to document life on the farm and in the local community. The barrel of the family’s grain stripper became his darkroom, with superphosphate bags creating the lightproofing. By 1922 he had a larger folding camera with a faster shutter. Bill’s photos are a remarkable record of the struggles of small holder settlers in the wheat growing districts of the Mallee. He photographed land clearing, ploughing, harvesting, the creation of irrigation ditches, bullock teams and loading wheat. But he also documented family life on the farm, neighbours, and the social life of the community, including sports day, the tennis club, and the Sea Lake agricultural show. Bill Boyd share-farmed with his father during the 1920s, supplementing his income rabbiting. By the end of the decade, hail and dust storms had put an end to his farming. He trained as a mechanic and in 1931 established his own garage in Sea Lake.
  • Artist: William Boyd


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