THE WORD KOALA COMES FROM AN ABORIGINAL LANGUAGE.
Koala derives from the Dharug language, which was spoken by the Darug people living in present-day New South Wales, and has also been written as koola, kulla, and kula.
Interestingly; the aboriginal and native people of Australia were the first ones to discover koalas and on the basis of the koalas’ habitat which rarely involves water, the aboriginals named this animal such a name which either meant no water, lacking in water or not requiring water etc. Koalas’ lifestyle requires the to drink very little water. Their water needs are primarily accomplished through their diet of eucalyptus leaves.
Adventuring is the title of today’s recipe for hope. Yesterday my family and I got in the car and went on an adventure; to visit one of the towns affected by the bushfires and, in some small way, to offer support in the rebuilding of the community and secondly to fulfill my dream of petting a koala.
Last night we arrived in the town of Alludulla in NSW. It was sobering to drive along and see miles upon miles upon miles of burnt trees. An eerie smell gradually started to pervade the car as we drove. I realised that this pungent smell was not just burnt wood, it smelt of burnt animals. It was horrible.
In contrast to this was the sight of many patches of grass where the burn marks suddenly ceased. It was apparent from this that the wonderful firies had saved properties, with the flames literally licking at people’s grasslands and virtually at their doors. There were gorgeous signs of gratitude around the town saying heartfelt thanks to the brave firies for saving them. Although huge huge numbers of trees were burnt, there were very rare sightings of destroyed houses. I was struck by several melted road signs, which again highlights the ferocity of the fire which has swept over Australia in recent days.
Alludulla was very empty and we were informed that 100,000 tourists had been evacuated from the area two weeks previously. Once again the impact of the fires economically was brought home. I heard from the owner of the motel in which we stayed that their close friend’s daughter who had moved from the UK a year ago had lost everything in the fire. Tragedy is everywhere at present.
However hope is reigning. Today ABC news showed some wonderful luscious plant growth after only six weeks of previous fire destruction and I learnt that some species need smoke to elicit new growth.
I went to invest in rebuilding a community and felt happy that I could play a small part. Alludulla has a beautiful waterfront and I saw a vast array of white cockatoos at dusk, dancing and chirruping. It was like a bird ballet.
Today I visited the Symbio wildlife park, where you can have a photo (or three) taken with koalas. I bonded with the beautiful Willow, who was patient to the nth degree and I suspect enjoys striking the cutest poses with adults and children alike. I have come to the conclusion that koalas are therapeutic; I felt so calm as I stood next to Willow. I also found watching the other koalas sleeping made me fee relaxed and calm.
These wonderful creatures have totally captivated my heart and from watching the news footage they have melted the hearts of the army reservists, who have been sent to Kamgaroo Island to help rescue the affected wildlife. They were shown today feeding syringes to koalas, holding them like babies. These army men looked so tender and gentle as they administered the milk-it was beautiful to behold.
I also had the privilege of feeding wallabies, kangaroos and alpacas. It is just so lovely to engage with these animals and I felt so connected with the Australian wildlife today. It was almost as if the animals and birds could sense my delight because on the way back, as we drove through the New South Wales nature reserve, we spotted five lyre birds. These are extremely shy birds, so it was wonderful that they had popped out to greet us as we drove by. And to cap it all off, tonight a sulphur crested cockatoo landed on a tree close by to where I was drinking my tea, again seemingly to say hello.
I am hopeful because Australian wildlife is truly glorious. I am hopeful because so many people care about rebuilding Australia and are serving the communities and the wildlife communities also. I am hopeful because dreams come true (my photos of Willow are there as a reminder of this). And I am hopeful because out of fire new life can and does emerge. I view this as an image for myself and for Australia.