Jump start combines road-sign language and vernacular speech, with absence as a tangible presence. The ’roo has jumped away, leaving its iconic outline, along with the ‘see you later’ meaning of the traditional phrase ‘ooroo’. The ’roo depiction has been carefully traced from the design of an Australian copper penny (1938–64).
The word ‘kangaroo’ derives from the Guugu Yimithirr word gangurru, referring to grey kangaroos. It was first recorded as ‘Kangooroo or Kanguru’ in 1770 by Lieutenant James Cook on the banks of the Endeavour River at the site of today’s Cooktown, when his ship the Endeavour was beached for almost seven weeks to repair damage sustained on the Great Barrier Reef. ‘Ooroo’ is a palindrome; however, kangooroos can’t walk backwards.
- Richard Tipping, 2016