Arts / Koalas take over the Botanic Gardens

Photo: Australian National Botanic Gardens

FORGET about Edna Everage’s “Hello Possum” it was all koalas this morning on the lawns of the Australian National Botanic Gardens as a pop-up sculpture trail was unveiled to the public.

The Carramar Koala Quest, a free discovery trail in Canberra featuring 20 larger-than-life “Hello Koalas” sculptures.

It’s an imaginative sculpture project founded in Port Macquarie, NSW, and this is the first time a travelling exhibition of the venture has been staged.

Photo: Australian National Botanic Gardens

Megan Donaldson, who is the visitor services coordinator at the gardens said each of the one metre high fibreglass koala sculptures is adorned with artwork, which promoted messages of conservation of plants and animals.

“Each koala has its own special story to tell and we’re inviting everyone to come and say hello,” she said.

“The Gardens will host 14 of the 20 Hello Koalas sculptures including the elusive ‘Carramar,’ who will be hiding somewhere in the gardens waiting to be discovered.”

She also introduced a new sculpture, “Buzzy”, which highlights the importance of native bees and the native plants that bees thrive on.

A selection of “Hello Koalas” sculptures will also be popping up at the National Zoo and Aquarium and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve during March, while visitors to the Enlighten Festival can also join in the fun with “Guula”, a koala-celebrating Indigenous artwork on display in the Parliamentary Triangle from March 1-17.

Project director Margret Meagher said: “Each ‘Hello Koalas’ sculpture has been selected for its important environmental and cultural message and the Gardens provide the perfect setting for our Hello Koalas to shine as conservation ambassadors to ensure that threatened species in Australia are well cared for and treasured.”

Best of all, she noted, “everyone loves koalas!”

The Carramar Koala Quest, Eucalypt Lawn, Australian National Botanic Gardens, throughout March.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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