Sepia Saturday: Aussie royalty – the koala

Sepia Saturday Header

How could I resist this wonderful Sepia Saturday prompt which had passed me by until I read Jollett Etc’s post today?

koala sign croppedThe 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.

koalas at lone pine 1939 copy

1930. Koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, photographed for Mrs Forgan Smith, October 1939, Queensland State Archives. Copyright expired.

German Shepherd and Koala Lone Pine

Photographed c1960 by P Cass

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.

pauleen Lone Pine

oh my, look at those freckles!


Pauleen Kunkel Valerie Carstens middle and Pauline Morris and brothers Lone Pine

A picnic with family friends by the river at Lone Pine c1960.

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.

Rach Louisa and Bec and koala crop

My small bear is looking a little worried about that ‘bear”..perhaps she knew she was in the “firing line” if it decided to wee.


Koalas Lone Pine news fm TroveLone 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

Here are some photos of my aunt and cousins, Patsy and Jimmy, at Lone Pine. Sadly they are all deceased now.

Mary farraher with koala

Aunty Mary, perhaps circa 1995.

My grandmother with cousin Patsy and koala.

My grandmother with cousin Patsy and koala.


My cousin Jimmy being introduced to a koala.

My cousin Jimmy being introduced to a koala.






Fab Feb Photo Festival: Day 6 Day Tripping

4 x 7UP collageThere are several outings that would be common to many children who grew up in Brisbane or South East Queensland: these are trips to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the Dolphin pool at Coolangatta and Currumbin Sanctuary. Today I’d like to share with you some of the snaps from our family outings to these places.

Currumbin Bird Sanctuary

Pauleen with wallaby at Currumbin.

Pauleen with wallaby at Currumbin.

This was always one of my favourite places as a child, especially when we would holiday near the beachfront in Currumbin. Despite its name, it also had kangaroos, wallabies and other critters as well as the rainbow lorikeets which gave the sanctuary its theme. Twice a day huge flocks of these colourful and gorgeous birds would arrive to be fed. People would hold up their tin plates filled with bread crumbs softened with honey and water. In mere moments there would be birds on the plate, on your arms, on your hair, and man their claws would scratch! I guess not good for anyone who had a Hitchcock like fear of birds. I also can’t believe the entry prices now, because I’m quite sure my parents would not have been able to afford comparative prices when I was a child yet we visited regularly.

Another favourite photo - eldest daughter with her Poppy.

Another favourite photo – eldest daughter with her Poppy at Currumbin.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Why on earth was I dressed up to meet this koala?

Why on earth was I dressed up to meet this koala?

As a child a trip to Lone Pine was almost de rigeur, and yet (hang my head in shame) I’m sure we never took our own children there. I wonder why not? My parents, or perhaps just my mother, would take me up to the Sanctuary on one of the ferry/cruise boats that travelled from North Quay out to the sanctuary. At least one time we took other children with us…I wonder if it was a birthday celebration, if so I no longer recall. Unfortunately I can’t include that photo here without the permission of the people in it.

I had often enough seen koalas on Magnetic Island when we holidayed there, as it is still a koala preservation zone. However the difference at Lone Pine was that you could cuddle them, and have your photo taken. Cuddly as they look they’ve been known to make their presence felt with VIPs by peeing on them!

Another typical Lone Pine photo: why the dog+koala?

Another typical Lone Pine photo: why the dog+koala?

Porpoise Pool Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta

At the Porpoise Pool

At the Porpoise Pool

This venue was built by Jack Evans in 1955 apparently and was Australia’s first trained dolphin show, a role now overtaken by Seaworld which has become an even more popular forum for school excursions and holiday visits.

I remember visiting the Porpoise pools at Point Danger a couple of times over the years and always enjoyed seeing the dolphins/porpoises as they are such exuberant creatures. You can see a YouTube video of the show here.

It was undoubtedly my exposure to these creatures that created some of my lust for a Readers Digest book on Wildlife which featured dolphins as the cover image.

Did you have favourite family outings when you were a child?

Fab Feb imageFamily Hx writing challengeThis post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.