Author to unveil mega-story

June 8, 2024 BY

Mount Gambier Library will host Limestone Coast author Bronwyn Saunders with the launch of her picture book ‘Diprotodon: A Megafauna Journey’ on Sunday, June 9, at 11am.

The story follows a young Diprotodon, the largest marsupial that ever lived, as he finds his way in the world. Exploring the megafauna that existed in the Pleistocene era, some of which were local to the Limestone Coast area, this picture book highlights the challenges the Diprotodon faces from the environment and other animals.

Acting Manager Library and Community Development Sally Mann said the library was excited to host Bronwyn for the local release of her picture book which allows children and families to learn about the fascinating world of the megafauna.

“Published by CSIRO this is a highly engaging book which combines realistic illustrations with reliable scientific knowledge, one which children of all ages can enjoy,” Ms Mann said.

Bronwyn is a passionate citizen scientist who enjoys sharing facts about Australia’s natural history with readers. The story is bought to life by the captivating illustrations of Andrew Plant, a Melbourne-based illustrator, author, and science educator.

The author event is family friendly featuring a book reading followed by an activity for children. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. Bookings are required. Contact the Mount Gambier Library on (08) 8721 2540 or book online at under ‘Programs and Events’.


“Kalangadoo was the most amazing place to grow up in and I will forever consider it to be my home. I returned to Kalangadoo regularly, even packing cherries for a couple of summers to earn money for university. I have good friends and family in the area.”

It is a connection children’s author Bronwyn Saunders, who promotes herself as the ‘kid from Kalangadoo’, has always cherished and qualifies her to be labelled a local author as she unveils her debut children’s book at an author event at the Mount Gambier Library,

“I lived there from March 1983 until January 1990, completing Year 7 of primary school in Kalangadoo,” Bronwyn said. “We moved to Kalangadoo after Ash Wednesday and with the great losses due to the bushfire, the Kalangadoo community was still coming to terms with what had happened. My father, George Kaiser, was posted to Kalangadoo to fill the position of officer in charge of the police station.”

And while her parents maintained a close connection to the region, moving at one stage to Bordertown, Bronwyn moved onto tertiary study, graduating from Flinders University mid-2002 before moving to Canberra later that year with her New Zealand-born fiancé Roderick, who she met at university.

It was when she and her husband spent Christmas 2006 with her parents in Bordertown that a childhood fascination was reignited when she took Rod to experience the Naracoorte Caves.

“This is when my mind was blown and I learned about megafauna,” Bronwyn said. “I was first told a tall tale that the diprotodon was carnivorous. Imagine a wombat the size of a black rhinoceros wanting to eat meat. That’s when I fell in love with diprotodons.

“I quickly learnt that diprotodons are not carnivorous, but it no longer mattered, my love for diprotodons could not be dimmed. I did all this research and I spent a great deal of time looking into diprotodons.”

It was a trip that took her back to those school days at Kalangadoo where at least once a year the Naracoorte Caves was a school excursion destination.

“Megafauna was never mentioned, despite the 1969 discoveries and the 1994 World Heritage Area listing,” Bronwyn said. “But, I always saw the sign advertising Flinders University and their involvement in some project to do with the caves.”

So when she evolved from a 17 year Commonwealth public servant to a children’s author, Flinders University was her first port of call.

I worked as a Commonwealth public servant for 17 years. I began to explore the idea of writing for children in 2011. Then in 2021, I became a full-time author.

“Using my alumna status, I was able to connect with Professor Roderick Wells (he is now an Emeritus Professor) and he suggested texts and articles, and spoke on the phone to me,” Bronwyn said. “He understood my desire to educate everyone about Australian megafauna and he is also the science advisor to CSIRO Publishing for my book.”

Rod Wells was a member of the research team that discovered the extensive fossil deposits of Australian mammals, birds and reptiles at the Naracoorte Caves in 1969. He was also instrumental in the development of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Flinders University.

Bronwyn was fortunate to have this ally as she forged ahead with creating her first published non-fiction picture book has seen her career trajectory now inextricably tied to palaeontology.

“The unique megafauna is what has piqued my interest and not learning about these amazing animals earlier than 2007 is what grabbed my attention,” Bronwyn said. “Palaeontology is how we can understand the animals’ amazing attributes, movements and likely interaction with their environment.”

Prior to her debut book, Bronwyn did win a competition to have a story published as part of a 2014 Creative Kids Tales 2014 e-book anthology.

“I am now working on more megafauna books and a number of fictional stories too,” Bronwyn said. “If you are travelling to Canberra in July, I am giving free public megafauna talks at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) during their annual megafauna display.”