Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Is ‘Birthday Girl’ Australia’s Oldest Koala?
Believed to be Australia’s oldest koala, aptly name ‘Birthday Girl’, will celebrate her 22nd year at
the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on Saturday 19 September. The ‘Family Fun Day’ will be
dedicated to the grand old lady with a birthday atmosphere, kid’s games, a birthday card
colouring competition, cake and educational tours of her home at the Hospital.
Now in its second year the Family Fun Day has free entry for locals and visitors from 9am to
3pm. The Hospital is the only hospital in the world that is dedicated to the care of koalas - it
treats and rehabilitates around 300 of our furry friends every year.
‘Birthday Girl’ is one of the Hospital’s earliest patients, turning 22 this year, but she has defied
her age with mischievous escapes thanks to wonder drugs. Volunteers believe she could be
Australia’s oldest koala by measurements and teeth wear. They normally live to be 15 for females
and 13 for males.
‘Birthday Girl’ first came into the Hospital in 1990 for a check and relocation and returned 4
years ago in 2005 with chronic arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs gave her extra willpower when
she “self-released” from a deemed ‘escape proof, fenced yard’, and needed a special operations
‘abseil’ rescue from a nearby tree.
The Hospital is run by volunteers and the Family Fun Day is designed to raise funds for the
$180,000 costs to annually run the Hospital. This includes treatment rooms, eight intensive care
units, a 24 hour rescue and treatment operation and 33 recovery yards. Visitors can meet
‘Birthday Girl’ and other koalas 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8am to 4.30pm. Entry is
free, donations accepted, and there is a daily ‘Feed, Walk and Talk’ tour at 3pm.
The Koala Hospital is located in Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of NSW, 4.5 hours drive
from Sydney. Tourists from all over the world visit Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital, which attracts
more than 24,000 visitors a year. The ‘Adopt A Koala’ package costs AU$40 per year and
includes a certificate of adoption with a photo, the name of the koala and a short story about its
life. Overseas adoptions cost AU$50, a true Aussie gift for international family and friends.
The Koala Hospital, Lord St, Port Macquarie - go to www.koalahospital.org.au or call (02) 6584
For more information on animal attractions and travel contact the Greater Port Macquarie Visitor
Information Centre on 1300 303 155 or book on-line at www.portmacquarieinfo.com.au