Having rescued more than 100 orphaned wombats, the Wombat Lady of Flinders Island, Kate Mooney, has inadvertently sparked a tourism boom.

Story + Photos Paula Heelan 

It’s a sunny winter’s day at Whitemark, the main settlement on Flinders Island. Kate Mooney is minding Bowman’s General Store. A tourist has popped in for road directions and, with difficulty, Kate is trying to write notes across the shop counter.  Doing its best to distract her, a pudgy young wombat called Maisie is scurrying across newspapers and tugging at Kate’s sleeve. The little bear-like mammal is insisting Kate stop writing and return to play. Customers are falling about laughing. While locals are accustomed to seeing Kate with wombats, for newcomers it’s a surprising sight.

This story excerpt is from Issue #119

Outback Magazine: June/July 2018