40th Anniversary – Open Day at the Koala Hospital
This was the special Open Day the Koala Hospital had been working towards for a long time – 40 years in fact.
40 years ago, in 1973, Jean and Max Starr had begun looking after sick and injured koalas in their own home. Thanks to their passion, it was amazing now to look around the grounds of the koala hospital, and realize just how much they had achieved over those years.
Following a welcome by Uncle Bill O’Brien, an elder from the Birpai Tribe, who are the traditional owners of the land on which the hospital is built, the celebrations were officially opened by our Mayor, Peter Besseling, who paid tribute to the efforts of Jean and Max Starr.
An album of photographs representing the different stages of development of the hospital over the past 40 years was presented to Max by Gerry Walsh, who had painstakingly collected a photographic record and mounted them as a permanent memory of an amazing journey.
You can’t have a birthday celebration without a cake, and today was to be no exception. The huge birthday cake was a work of art, and showed the koala hospital logo in great detail. It not only looked good, it tasted wonderful! (photo above)
In the background, during the day, ‘Strawney’, from 2MC was conducting a live to air radio programme from the grounds of the hospital, so those who couldn’t make it the day, could tune in and keep up with the events.
There was a good crowd moving around the various stalls and amusements, and trying their luck with the on-going raffles for bottles of wine generously donated by Bago, Cassegrain, Inneslake and Rose’s wineries.
Children were well catered for, with the magic show by Troppo Bob keeping them enthralled and the goodie bags which were on sale at the kiosk.
Morning tea and the BBQ kept tummies well fed, whatever your preference, and Sing Australia were there for your musical appreciation.
In the midst of all this was our delightful koala mascot, True Blue¸ who is always a favourite with young and old alike. He certainly had everyone laughing and enjoying his antics as he wandered around, greeting members of the crowd and spreading his own special brand of happiness.
Thanks to the efforts of so many of the hospital volunteers, under the co-ordination of Maree and Robyne, it was voted our best and most successful Open Day ever. With people like these, and a generous and caring public, the future of our koalas is in safe hands.