The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital offers a one-week Work Experience program relevant to people undertaking animal studies or currently working with animals as well as a placement for Year 10, Year 11 and Year12 students and people genuinely interested in koalas.
The Work Experience placement is for one week – normally this is Monday to Friday, but if a volunteer wishes to work for 6 or 7 days then this can be considered.
Hours and Days
The hospital operates on a twice daily working shift pattern – 8am to approx. 11am (depending on the number of koalas that we have in) and 2.30pm to approx. 4.30pm and work experience volunteers work both the morning and afternoon shifts. Given that there is a break of approximately 4 hours between shifts, some volunteers leave the Hospital during this time. However, if a volunteer wanted to stay at the hospital that is no problem and if they wanted to, they could also help with work in other areas or some administration work.
A Team Leader runs each shift and most shifts consist of different volunteers, so work experience volunteers will see a lot of new faces every day. Currently, the Hospital has approximately 160 volunteers.
For the first couple of shifts, work experience volunteers will work with a local volunteer, who will provide the training required.
Volunteers need to be aware that they are working with wild koalas, and even though some may appear quiet and gentle, they are quite capable of inflicting painful injuries with their razor-sharp claws and teeth. No untrained volunteer can handle or pick up any of the koalas without permission or guidance. Patting koalas is not allowed. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the volunteer being asked to leave.
On the morning shift, the work involves cleaning individual koala yards, cutting leaf within set protocols, feeding formula to some koalas, sweeping walkways, and generally tidying up whatever is required in the yards. Volunteers may also be able to attend rescues and releases if they occur on their shift. There may also be the opportunity to watch some clinical checks and procedures, but we cannot guarantee that these will occur during the placement week.
On the afternoon shift, the water containers in each koala yard are filled up and leaf sprayed to refresh it. The rest of the shift consists of tidying up the areas around the hospital, sweeping, mopping floors, emptying bins etc.
All volunteers must provide written confirmation that they have current tetanus immunisation.
They must also be covered for insurance through their school, TAFE or University. If this is not applicable to a work experience volunteer then they are required to become a member of Koala Conservation Australia Inc who will provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover.
The Koala Hospital is not able to provide accommodation or meals for volunteers so they do need to arrange this themselves.
It is important to understand and accept that we are an animal hospital and research centre, and, as with all animal clinics, you are likely to see unpleasant things at times. Volunteers must also accept that we cannot save all wild koalas and euthanasia/death does and will occur.
DUE TO COVID19 WE HAVE CANCELLED ALL WORK EXPERIENCE PLACEMENTS FOR THE REST OF 2020. WE WILL BE UPDATING INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM ON THIS PAGE AS SOON AS WE ARE ABLE TO TAKE BOOKINGS AGAIN.
Membership is designed for people with a concern for the preservation and care of wild koalas and the preservation and expansion of habitat of wild koalas and wishes to support the work of the Koala Preservation Society.
Volunteer involves direct participation at the Koala Hospital including some of the functions and activities concerning the care and welfare of Koalas; this category of membership is open only to adults aged 18 to 85