With knowledge of the kangaroos in the area from the previous night, we did not set off as early as we had on other days. As we travelled the 200.km stretch of Barrier Highway between Wilcannia and Broken Hill the numbers of kangaroos feeding at the side of the road in the daylight were less than the previous night, but more active. Mike again was driving well below speed through country that was dry and bare of greenery. Rain must have fallen at some point due to the patches or lines of small amounts of grass growing immediately next to the edge of the bitumen.
Barrier Highway is a main trucking route. We were constantly on the watch for trucks approaching from behind so as to make it easier for them to pass us. They travelled at speed and were numerous. We have become used to seeing two trucks travelling together with huge loads of hay obviously for the stock of drought affected farms.
About half-way to Broken Hill, three kangaroos suddenly came on to the road. As Mike slowed, two of them turned and jumped back off the road. Unfortunately, for the roo and us, the third one didn’t and we thought we had struck it with the side of the bull bar. It hit the front corner of our motor home behind the cab of the truck and also the electric step underneath, bending the step.
Roughly 20.minutes later, a large kangaroo came out from nowhere and burst across the road at speed, and unavoidably, we hit it centre of the bull bar. The number plate and bottom of the bull bar took the hit and underneath the bull bar, the front bumper was bent. As we passed over the kangaroo it hit the underneath of the caddy (towing the Suzuki) and took off the number plate from the caddy, leaving it hanging by one screw.
It is a ghastly feeling to have hit (and killed) the poor animals. We felt ill. In over 40.years of country driving, we have encountered many times, kangaroos that come onto roads and you don’t know which way they are going to jump. Their powerful legs propel them at great speed. Our country roads are littered with those that didn’t make it. This stretch of road is particularly bad, as evidenced by the stains on the highway.