1919-The Wyulda

Northern Standard (Darwin, NT : 1921 - 1955)

Tue 6 Jun 1922 - Page 1


 To a New South Welshman named Rademey belongs the distinction of having discovered the rarest animal in the world. So far only one specimen is known to exist, and that is preserved in the Perth Museum.

 This antique creature is known to scientists as the Wyulda squama-caudatus ; it is not common enough to have received a popular name. Some of its characteristics mark it as of a tpye [sic] intermediate between the opossum and the cuscus of some of the islands of the Malay Archipelago, lt has a long tail, which differs from that of the 'possum in being hairless and covered with scales, it is about the size of a small 'possum and not unlike it in general appearance.

Realised that we have a photograph of Mr. Rademy [spelling from KHS photograph documentation differs to article - Not certain which is correct] in the KHS Archive, as follows.

[Image links to KHS - Argyle Downs Album on Flickr - Opens in New Tab]

 Reports about an unknown animal resembling a 'possum have at times uttered into Darwin, from remote parts of the Northern Territory. It is possible that other Wyuldas will eventually be found either which has never been examined by the white man.-"Sydney Sun." - [Article END]

 The Wyulda was found by Mr. Rademey at Violet Valley in the Kimberley district of West Australia, on a station of which he is manager. After having been kept on the station for some time it was sent to the Perth Zoo, but did not live there long.

 The painting of the Wyulda used here is from a painting circa 1920 - Wyulda Painting by George Pitt Morrison - for the Royal Society WA - Journal as recently digitised by the Biodiversity Heritage Library and made available and accessible to all online from the following link - Thanks BHL.au. - http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/148607#page/44/mode/1up or here to see what other wonderful titles are available - This link shows a search for "Australia" at the BHL which turns up over 100 digitised books - http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/search?searchTerm=Australia#/titles.

 All of the B&W photographs below have been sourced from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) and reproduced here with the permission of the Library Board of Western Australia - With great thanks to SLWA from KHS - Note that images are linked back to the SLWA catalogue and will open in a new Tab or Window - The first B&W photograph is catalogued as being 1950, however I believe this is incorrect and more likely to be circa 1920s or earlier - All other photographs are dated 1916 when AO Neville toured the East Kimberley.

[Trove Article Continues]

State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) - 733B/452 001356D 

Violet Vallet 'Cattle Depot' from a 1923-1955 Cancelled Public Plan - One of the 300 Chain Plans from the WA State Records Office (WA SRO) 

WA SRO Series 4265 Consignment 4567 Item 132-4

[Other resources]


 Rediscovery of the scaly-tailed possum (Wyulda squamicaudata) in the eastern Kimberley J. Sean Doody A B E, David Rhind C, Christina M. Castellano B and Michael Bass D - Published: 20 January 2012.

 The tropical mammal fauna of Australia is both understudied and, in some cases, imperiled, and the former hinders a complete understanding of the latter. An enigmatic and poorly understood species is the scaly-tailed possum (Wyulda squamicaudata), a species endemic to the Kimberley Region, Western Australia.

 We describe the rediscovery of the scaly-tailed possum in the east Kimberley, where it has not been recorded since 1917. The discovery: (1) reinforces the hitherto-questioned validity of the east Kimberley record; (2) confirms an extension of the range by 200–300 km to the east from populations in the west Kimberley; and thus (3) broadens the climate envelope occupied by the species.


1920 ca Ambrose and Nance Durack Young Ambrosine Durack, with Mr Rademy and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Webster) at Argyle Downs - Elizabeth Durack personal photographic collection courtesy of the Clancy and Durack families. KHS Archive Number KHS-2011-11-PD-20.

 Some great photographs of Violet Valley a few years before the Wyulda was found, have been located at the State Library of Western Australia, from the AO Neville Collection. The first photograph above links back to that single photograph of Violet Valley, whereas, the following (6) photographs, are all available from a single url - Go to the SLWA Catalogue page with 6 x Violet Valley Photographs - (Opens in a New Tab :^)

The WA State Records Office have digitised thousands of Cancelled Public Plans, which are the master plans that were used by the WA Lands Department. They are printed lithographically so start black. Any new lease-holder is added in red, as can be seen here, meaning that anything in red was added sometime between 1923, (the start year for this plan) and 1955 (the end year for this plan). Typically, when they started in the 1880s as the "K" Series Kimberley plans, would last for about five years then the 2nd in the series would have lasted a similar period and so on so there are about 5 plans between say 1886 and 1910 then they go to the 300 chain plans, at a different scale, usually a similar number (4 or 5) of plans for that series between circa 1910 and 1955. In other words for every sectional area of WA there exists about 10 plans between say 1886 and 1955. I have DL'd all of the Kimberley for KHS use. Through these plans one can trace who had what land and when. A great resource digitised by the WA State Records Office from their 'Maps Online' Page or try their new(ish) Atom Search engine from https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/ [All Open in new Tabs]

SLWA - Battye Library of WA History - 3231B/43 (1916) 

 Implications of the known distribution for the biology, genetics and conservation of the scaly-tailed possum are briefly discussed.

SLWA - Battye Library of WA History - 3231B/45 (1916) 

 The furless scaly tail of the Wyulda is prehensile.  The possum can use its tail almost as a fifth limb; it can wrap the tail around tree branches to help it climb within the forest canopy or to steady itself when using its hands to eat food. The rough scaly skin provides extra grip.

Scaly-tailed possum[1]

Article mentions the Wyulda


[Violet Valley Research Compiled by KHS volunteer Andrew Barker for the Kununurra Historical Society & Kununurra Museum - Digital Collections - KHS - Started file - May 20 2016 - Violet Valley pics - AB 22 V 2016 - Related to KHS-2015-43-H-BD - Violet Valley Photographs]


Scaly-tailed possum - From Wikipedia


Species profile - Wyulda

 The Artesian Range is at the heart of the limited range for the Wyulda, which is restricted to high rainfall areas along a small coastal section of the northwest Kimberley region between Yampi Sound and Kalumburu. A small isolated population has recently been rediscovered in a few rugged gorges in the eastern Kimberley.



Kingdom          Phylum          Class          Order                  Family

Animalia  Chordata  Mammalia  Diprotodontia  Phalangeridae

Scientific Name: Wyulda squamicaudata

Species Authority: Alexander, 1919

Common Name(s):

English – Scaly-tailed Possum, Yilangal, Ilangurra

French – Possum À Queue Écailleuse

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1

Year Published: 2008

Date Assessed: 2008-06-30

Assessor(s): McKnight, M. 

Reviewer(s):  Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

SLWA - A.O. Neville Collection - 3231B/47 (1916)  

SLWA - A.O. Neville Collection - 3231B/44 (1916) 

SLWA - Battye Library of WA History - 3231B/49 (1916) 

SLWA - A.O. Neville Collection - 3231B/49 (1916)