Where is Matilda the winking kangaroo?

Do you remember Matilda? The 13m tall kangaroo who stole hearts world-wide when she unexpectedly winked at the audience during the Opening Ceremony of the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games. We’ve tracked her down — find out how you can meet Queensland’s most well-known Kangaroo.

Everyone knows Matilda, the giant kangaroo mascot of the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games. She captured the attention of international media when she unexpectedly winked at dignitaries, including the late Duke of Edinburgh, during the opening ceremony. 

This wasn’t the only trick she had up her sleeve though… 

At the end of her march around the stadium, Matilda opened her pouch and children performers dressed as Joeys hopped out to perform for the crowd. 

Matilda is a huge part of Queensland history, but where is Matilda? And will she make an appearance if Brisbane successfully obtains the 2032 Olympic Games? 

Where is the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games mascot, Matilda, now? 

It’s been 39 years since the Brisbane Commonwealth Games and Matilda has done her fair share of travel in South-East Queensland. Find out more about her journey below.

1. 1984 — Wet’n’Wild

After her moment in the spotlight at the Commonwealth Games, Matilda headed for the Gold Coast. She was installed at Wet’nWild, then known as Cade’s County Waterpark, where she greeted guests as they entered the park. Matilda lived at the popular theme park for the better part of 20 years before she travelled south again. 

2. 2010 — Matilda Fuel Supply

In 2009, Matilda the winking Kangaroo was bought by former Australia petrol station chain Matilda Fuel Supply, now Puma Energy Australia. She was transported to their service station in Tugun, minutes north of the New South Wales border. Her stay here was short lived as the Gold Coast City Council deemed her too tall for her intended purpose.

3. 2011 — Gympie

In 2011, Matilda was transported to the Kybong Travel Centre in Gympie, about 3 hours north of Brisbane. Here she was restored to her former glory, with much needed new paint, fiberglass fillings and a new autonomous blink. 

It is likely Matilda will remain in Gympie for the foreseeable future, attracting tourists far and wide to see the giant kangaroo that winks!

The Most Iconic Australian Olympic & Commonwealth Games Mascots 

1. Matilda the kangaroo. 

There is not one person who doesn’t remember the moment Matilda, the 13m kangaroo stole the show in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games when she winked at the audience. The famous move captured world-wide attention and helped put Australia on the map for international tourists. These days, Matilda resides at Kybong service centre in Gympie where she steals the show yet again with tourists and locals alike. 

 

2. Borobi.

Borobi is the youngest Australian mascot, making his debut for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. He’s a blue Koala with amazing Indigenous markings on his paws created by Indigenous artist, Chern’ee Sutton. The name ‘Borobi’ means koala in the language of the Gold Coast’s Yugambah people, a group of Aboriginal clans in South-East Queensland and North-Eastern New South Wales.

What is the story of Borobi? 

Legend has it, Borobi was born with markings on his paws, however he was missing his fifth finger meaning he was not able to climb trees like other koalas. But, as he lived on the Gold Coast, he always saw people surfing and decided to give it a try. When he took his first steps into the ocean, his fur changed from grey to blue. After emerging from the surf, an elder approached him, and explained the marking on his paw spoke of a great gathering, large meeting place and athletes’ journeys. From then on, Borobi knew his calling was to be the mascot of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

3. Syd, Olly and Millie.

Syd, Olly and Millie were the mascots for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Syd, short for Sydney, Olly short for Olympics and Millie short for millennium. The mascots were chosen based on a survey given to Australia and some countries with the idea being some of Australia’s lesser known animals would be featured. It was the very first time there had been three mascots for an Olympic Games.

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.