Mission - Home - Hot Koalas - Springsure Survey - Springsure Reserve - Welcome to a new member - Tributes to Kev Rapley - Tale From Wee Alistair - Treasures Report
Link to Sam the Koala


Beat The Heat
It has been so hot in South Australia for over a week…40+ degrees Celsius everyday, very dry also. A guy at work lives at Maude. His wife sent him these photos of a little koala which just walked into the back porch looking for a bit of heat relief. She filled up a bucket and this is what happened! Alistair
More Hot Koalas
Some more cute koala photos that are probably indicating a collapse in koala populations due to heat stress in South Australia and elsewhere subject to the prolonged extreme conditions. Alistair

Thought you'd like to see this photo taken yesterday (4 February, 2009)on the old Mount Barker Rd, apparently this koala was stopping cyclists on the road for a drink - he finished this whole water bottle! (Email to Alistair)

Volunteer Opportunities
Conservation Volunteers welcomes people with a love of the outdoors and interest in the environment
Mackay, Qld
March - April 2009
If you would like to volunteer on any of the projects shown below or would like more information on Conservation Volunteers and how you can help us, contact us on (07) 4951 0933, email or book into one of our Volunteer Information Sessions

Springsure Koala Reserve Survey

Date: Monday 2nd March - Friday 6th March

It is suspected that koala populations in the Springsure area have been severely impacted by drought, flood and fire. Come and assist with this survey and help to assess the state of local koala populations and their habitat after a series of major events in the region.

Project Focus: Wildlife and Reserves

Project Tasks: Survey activities


Springsure Koala Reserve


Date: Monday 23rd March, Friday 27th March, Monday 30th March, Friday 3rd April, Tuesday 14th April, Saturday 18th April, Monday 20th April, Friday 24th April

Help to improve the habitat available for koalas in the Springsure area. Volunteers will be planting in stock routes and National Park areas to regenerate koala habitat damaged by fire, drought and flood. Come for the day or for the whole week whatever suits you!

There is a one-off $40 booking fee which includes a one year membership to Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Project Focus: National Parks and Reserves and Wildlife

Project Tasks: Weed removal, planting
For enquiries or further information on any of the above please call
Jessica at the Mackay office on (07) 4951 0933, or mb: 0488 370 783
For further information on projects local to you or anywhere across
Australia and New Zealand please visit or Freecall 1800 032 501


Welcome to Carol Campbell, the latest member to join the Koala Volunteers.

The CQKV Website
There are some interesting articles on the website, the latest about Sam the koala that survived the fires. Also some photos from Bethany, the English student who was here last year helping out.
Some observations about Sam, the koala
In the Weekend Australian, 21-22 March, there is a report which seems to contradict some of the media hype which had been reported after the koala was taken to the wild life shelter. If interested, you can find Sams website here
Kev Rapley has gone fishing!
He has retired from the CQ Koala Volunteers after many years supporting the koala research and the volunteer team. I wish to thank him for his commitment to our research effort, field program and community fund raising. In fact Kev was committed to volunteering in many areas other than koalas. Kev was always cheerful, a great team player; enthusiastic and competent at whatever I asked of him and the team.


Kev assists Bill Ellis with a koala catch.

He was also an invaluable member of the CQKV's management group providing considered and sound advice. Kev was an ambulance officer of skill and commitment and he brought that competency to the team. Kev maintained our first aid kits but also provided first-aid when in the field. To the hardened koala catcher who is used to koala scratches and bites healing quickly without infection Kev's first aid was a bit disconcerting at first.

Kev's fine work on a minor scratch

However, when things were serious his assistance was essential and greatly appreciated. Kev provided life saving first aid on a stroke victim on one field trip. All participants on that trip remember his calm handling of a complex incident that included cuts, abrasions, koala scratches and bites, a broken arm and the stroke. For this trip alone we sincerely thank him but also for all the fun times catching koalas, searching the bush and campfire times on St Bees Island, north west, central and south west Qld.
Many thanks and happy fishing, Kev.




Kev Lends a Hand

My earliest memories of Kev as a Koala Volunteer was his willingness to give a hand when needed.

During the year that we fed koalas held in the compounds at Stanwell. Kev came out on a regular basis to share the work of watering and gathering food for the animals.

The work involved chopping branches of selected eucalyptus leaves from various sites and setting them up in large buckets of water at the base of each koala's tree stump. This was rather heavy work. Kev did his share in his usual cheerful way without any complaints.

Thank you for the help you gave Kev and I wish you all the very best in your journeys where ever they take you.

Dawn Pound

Another Tale From WEE ALISTAIR

The Travelling Orphan

Alistair Celebrating Australia Day on the Mighty Fitzroy River

Whilst paddling down from Black Mountain Crossing to Glenroy Crossing one of my extended family was spotted high in a magnificent gum at the Graiglee waterhole this time last year. It's about 90km north of Rocky and west of Marlborough.

I only met a monster Turtle, a shy Jabiru, a cute Water snake, No Crocodile----?

I suspect we had company all the way!!

In February 2009 the intrepid three, Alistair, Shirley and myself set off for Springsure arriving in late afternoon. Springsure was lush and green after recent rain, so different to our last visit which was in drought. We settled into our dongers in the caravan park.

Sunday saw us up early to give the vehicle a good hosing at a wash-down station just out of town. Trying to stop the spread of harmful weeds, parthenium in particular, is an ongoing and difficult job.

Carmen and Shirley

We then went to see the property owners. First we called into Pinnacle Creek where Shirley and I were very impressed with the homestead garden of natives, sculptures and found pieces of interesting timber. We then went onto a property called Koala

Creek. On the way our expectations were raised by the sighting of a koala in a roadside tree. We had to travel across several paddocks to get to the Koala Creek site that we were we to work on. After a lunch break we trudged across paddock and creek,

the grass was LONG & GREEN. We measured out a kilometre in readiness for tree counting of 'nearest neighbours'. In crossing the creek for a second time, I came down onto my knees and Shirley following me got bogged. We came out rather muddied. By now, mid afternoon, I was feeling the heat badly and had to call time out and totter off to a shady tree to recuperate.



Back at Springsure our second team of five had arrived. There was Tom, who was originally from England and the leader of the C.V.A.(Conservation Volunteers of Australia), with volunteers, Wouter a young man from Holland, Frances a bush walker from Mackay, Leah a young girl also from Mackay and Kathy, who came from South Korea. These volunteers were being sponsored by X Strata Mines.


Alistair, Wouter, Frances,Cathy, Shirley,
Frt row
Carmen, Tom, Leah

Monday, after a briefing from Alistair as to what we were to be doing, we all headed out to Springsure Creek on Wallalee.. In the morning we searched for koalas. This is an area once famous for its koala population. Where tourist buses often came and were always assured of seeing koalas in the gums along the creek bank, but now many trees are dead, with only some showing signs of recovery. Today only one was spotted, by Susie a local girl who spent the morning with us.

I have walked many times in the dry sandy bottom of this creek however, today it was full of water and we either had to return to the bridge or wade across. I decided to wade, Kathy, Wouter, Frances and Tom went further along, where they managed to find a log to cross on.

The afternoon saw us doing nearest neighbours, something Shirley and I were familiar with. We formed three teams and some rivalry began between the teams to see how many points each team could achieve.

I was teamed with Wouter, a tall athletic lad who managed the long grass better than the rest of us and of course we ended up with the best tally. Walking through the long grass and parthenium was really exhausting, coupled with extreme heat, everyone drank and drank, as well, we ‘slip, slop  slapped’ all day. Shirley and Leah drew a swampy patch where Leah managed to bog herself and leave her boot buried in the mud. With difficulty she retrieved it and continued on. The mossies came out in force in early afternoon so we called it a day and headed back to enjoy a shower.

Tuesday saw another hot day as the teams continued the tree counting at Wallalee. It was slow work but spirits were lifted when Alistair spotted another koala and the cameras came out, Kathy who had missed yesterday's sighting was able to see a 'wild' koala.

The next morning, Wednesday, we were off to Pinnacle Creek, where there was more shade but the grass was even longer. Tom and his team had a late start as Wouter needed to visit a Doctor because of an eye infection. Alistair, Shirley and I worked all morning so we were well ahead by the time the two other teams began. One team got off track for a while, 'just a bit disorientated' they said. Several paper wasps objected to being disturbed, resulting in stings to Alistair, Leah and myself. Luckily none of us was allergic to the sting. The heat was oppressive again, and resulted in a storm coming up as we headed home. The storm gave some relief from the heat.


Cathy, Susie, Tom, Frances,
Wouter, Leah, Cathy, Frances

Thursday morning there was a nice breeze as we headed off for Koala Creek, luckily for us they had no rain from the storm, so we to were able to cross the black soil paddocks with no problems. This being our last day, we split into teams again and set to work measuring, walking and looking for the closest neighbour trees. Wouter again being the one on the wrong end of the tape, did a lot of walking and by end of day he, Leah and I again won the day by just one point.

In the afternoon two environmental officers from XStrata Mines came out to see how the volunteers were coping and lent a hand with the last few trees. Sadly no koalas were sighted. Searching this area many years ago we spotted fifteen koalas in the gums along the creek.

That evening after a reviving shower, (I must say the showers are a pleasure that we don’t get when camping.) everyone enjoyed a combined BBQ. and reflected on our couple of days in the bush.

We thank the property owners for giving us access to the paddocks and areas where we carried out this research.

Friday after a final wash-down of vehicles, a farewell to the volunteer team, we all set off for home. We came home via Rolleston which made the trip home quite interesting particularly for me as we passed through the area where I was reared.




You have not heard from me for some time, however, our finances have kept bubbling along. I sold my property of 32 years and moved to a home on the flat with a problem garden. I have spent the last year making the house into my home and have put considerable physical effort into the garden with a new lawn and lots of Aussie plants.

On to finance, our Koala Chocolate drive has been our main revenue with the assistance of our local Supa IGA which sells our chocolates without taking a margin. This support is appreciated. Other revenue has come from our diaries with miniatures painted by members, Carmen's Orphan Koalas, aluminium cans and interest from investments.

The money is raised for Koala Research and last year we spent just under $3 000 which was extended by $2 000 given to the group from a Harvard Club Grant given to Alistair Melzer.

$2 000 was used towards the cost of our 4WD transport. We were also able to draw a gift of $1 000 given by a supporter and held in trust by CQUniversity. No doubt, 2009 will be a difficult year financially and our Koala Chocolates will be our main revenue. Members are asked for their support.

Our research will carry on. We have already completed a trip to Springsure, costing approximately approximately $2 000 which is not included in current assets. Further research trips are planned for Collinsville and the West.

Shirley Hopkins, treasurer