The Evening Sentinel, a Leek newspaper
"WALLABY MAY GO ON BRI
abies from a private collection belonging to Sir Philip Brocklehurst, land-owner and former explorer, of Swythamley Hall,near Leek, may lead to this species being recognised as a British mammal.SH LIST"
The roamings of some of the wall
It is believed that during the war years a number of wallabies escaped from Sir Philip`s land between Leek and Buxton which includes the Roaches, and settled in the Peak District where a large colony has subsequently developed...
[The population reached a maximum size of about 60 in 1975 according to Wikipedia.-R]
...It has been their survival there over the last 30 years during which there have been several severe winters which inspired research by zoologists who are expected to advance the theory that wallabies can now also be recog
"The wallabies in the peak district are certainly descendants of those belonging to me. It is all right so long as people leave them alone. Some members of the public try to chase them." Despite the number which left the Leek area wallabies - which are between 2 foot 6 ins and 3 foot in height are still seen on the more remote parts of Sir Philip`s land."(1)
In early Sept 1976 the Leek Post and Times published the following along with 3 accompanying photos:
"The N.Staffordshire wallabies are alive and well and Post and Times staff photographer Andrea Richardson has the photographs to prove it. Just where the wallabies are we are not - in the interests of conservation - able to say, but the photographs clearly indicate they are thriving - and they are still breeding.
When Andrea first discovered the animals two or three months ago one female had a baby in its pouch, and a couple of weeks ago a half grown specimen - presumably the baby in the pouch - was hopping about with three adults. The wallabies - red necked and on average about 3 feet in height - have been a source of wonder since the late Courtenay Brocklehurst purchased a pair from Whipsnade in the early 1930s. They were kept in captivity on the Swythamley estate until they escaped in 1936 [N.B. This contradicts other opinions, see above that say they escaped in 1939/40-R]
They then adapted very well to the local environment and bred freely and indeed all the members of the local group are descended from that original pair. Extremely timid - they leap at the slightest sound or movement - and blending in perfectly with their moorland surroundings , the wallabies are rarely seen, and so we are naturally glad to be able to prove that they are
still here and still doing well. (2)
In July 2012 I took 2 colour photos of "Wally", a wallaby stuffed and contained within a glass case in Leek Local Studies Library. He was found dead on December 19th 1993 by Mr Graham Ives of Gradbach as he walked through Lud`s Church,which isn`t a church but a rocky outcrop. It was stuffed by a professional taxidermist for £580. In Feb 2012 "Wally" re-appeared at the National Trust Education Centre at Illam who donated it to the Leek Library.
1. Leek Evening Sentinel 23-6-19722.Leek Post and Times Sept 1976