The koala is, of course, a key icon of Australia – they look cuddly and cute, even if all they do is sleep much of the day and between-times munch on a gum leaf or two. In fact, they’re rarely seen in much of Australia these days though I know LoneTester is lucky enough to have them near her home. Despite the local signs, I haven’t seen any koalas or roos as yet, and I surely don’t want to see them on the road!
One place I used to see them in the wild quite often was when we’d visit Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville. It was a tremendous koala habitat and patience was rewarded with regular sightings. In those days the old Kodak camera just wasn’t up to capturing their images though.
1930. Koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, photographed for Mrs Forgan Smith, October 1939, Queensland State Archives. Copyright expired.
Brisbane has a long-lived tradition of showing its tourists the cuddly koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. While many similar places have limited access to them, they can still be handled by besotted tourists from Princess Alexandra of Kent(1959) or the Russian Ballet troupe (1961) to The Legal Genealogist (2016). Luckily for all of them the koalas were on their best behaviour and didn’t piddle on royalty, British or genealogical, although it’s possible they were bored and yawned.
Of course it’s not just the tourists who would make the pilgrimage to see the koala at Brisbane’s iconic tourist spot. Back in the day it was a “special treat” outing for children during school holidays. We would catch the ferry from North Quay and arrive upriver at Lone Pine to be greeted by the German Shepherd with a koala on its back.
You can see from these photos that my family made occasional visits to Lone Pine. While our children didn’t get to go to Lone Pine, they’ve managed to cuddle a koala on a couple of occasions.
Lone Pine has always been proud of its reputation, boasting proudly back in 1939 of four generations of koalas living there. The trend for popularity is long established as one was named “Princess” and another “Amy Johnson” and our own Aussie genearoyalty, Jill. I notice that the sanctuary was still referring to koalas as bears, which they’re not. Don’t you love the photo from our good friend Trove of a whole row of koalas?
So there we have it, one post combining “Trove Tuesday”, “Sepia Saturday” and a planned-for-another-day “Monday Memories” post.
Have you ever cuddled a koala? Are they on your bucket list? If so you might want to think about visiting Australia for Congress 2018, our triennial family history conference.
And if you think they’re always docile, check out this video which has been doing the rounds on Facebook and YouTube.
FOUR GENERATIONS OF KOALAS (1935, July 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), , p. 12. Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36766724
Here are some photos of my aunt and cousins, Patsy and Jimmy, at Lone Pine. Sadly they are all deceased now.