Animal antics inspire first-time children’s author Ganga Powell

Launch: Port Fairy resident Ganga Powell's first children's book, The Wallaby in the Garden, will be launched at Blarney Books & Art on Saturday. Picture: Christine Ansorge
Launch: Port Fairy resident Ganga Powell's first children's book, The Wallaby in the Garden, will be launched at Blarney Books & Art on Saturday. Picture: Christine Ansorge

The cheeky antics of a wayward wallaby have inspired a Port Fairy grandmother to write her first children’s book.

Ganga Powell is more used to writing educational textbooks, before inspiration for her first picture book literally hopped into her garden.

“It all started with the wallaby that actually came into the garden. It was just unbelievable,” Ms Powell said.

“We were having problems with all the flowers disappearing in the garden and it took us a while to realise it was a wallaby.”

The wallaby had a taste for roses, geraniums and irises and was often seen sharing the bounty with the small joey in her pouch.

Ms Powell began capturing photographs of the trespassing marsupial, putting them together with some words for a basic book for her grandchildren.

“It seemed to come together so well and make a nice little storyline, so then I thought I should try to make it into a children’s book,” she said.

Little Steps Publishing took on the tale about the wallaby causing chaos in the Powell garden and their efforts to keep her out.

Illustrator Olivia Godbee then came on board, recreating iconic Port Fairy landmarks like the Griffiths Island Lighthouse, East Beach and Moyne River for the book – The Wallaby in the Garden.

“Port Fairy is so picturesque, it was perfect. It doesn’t actually say Port Fairy, so you can think of it as any seaside town,” Ms Powell said.

The book was made even more personal as Ms Powell used her own grandchildren’s names in the rhyming story.

The Indian words for grandmother and grandfather, Ammamma and Tata, are also used.

“We’ve kept those ethnic elements in it, which I particularly adore, because I think it’s so special,” Ms Powell said.

The wallaby is still a regular visitor to the Powell home, but a new fence is now helping to keep the geraniums safe.

Blarney Books & Art on James Street, Port Fairy, will host the book’s official launch on Saturday, July 14 at 4pm.

Blarney Books & Art’s Jo Canham said the family-friendly event would include a reading, children’s entertainment and refreshments.