SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ A 12-year-old girl was bitten on the head and ear by a 6-foot tall kangaroo and her father was mauled when he tried to rescue her, residents of a remote Australian bush town said in a newspaper report today.

They said the kangaroo a group of children at an Easter holiday barbecue before attacking the girl, Katie Schmidt. Her father, Wayne Schmidt, 40, was bitten twice on the right arm and had his clothing ripped as he attempted to free his daughter.

The attack occurred Nungaloo, outside the town of Geraldton in Western Australia, and was reported today in the Sun newspaper.

''We were amazed at what we saw,'' said local farmer Kevin Hipper.''The 'roo had Katie by the throat and she was screaming. Wayne started to yell and started punching the 'roo. It turned on him and started to bite him.''

Hipper and two other men pulled the kangaroo off the father and daughter.

''The little girl was lucky that the kangaroo was backed up against a car when it attacked her and couldn't use its back legs. Otherwise it could have killed her,'' said Hipper.

Kangaroos have previously been known to attack humans, but this attack was of unusual severity.