The Koala Project

This project focuses on sustaining koala populations in NSW by establishing a sanctuary in the Port Macquarie Region, in collaboration with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. This will be a starting point for koalas to roam suitable habitat and strengthen breeding numbers with protection and support. The sanctuary will focus on educating the public on native wildlife and ecosystems, so everyone understands the importance of wildlife protection.

“If we are to survive, let alone feel at home, we must
begin to understand our country. If we succeed, one day we might become Australian”

– Bill Gammage, 2011, p. 22 The biggest estate on earth how Aborigines made Australia.

Conserving the Australian landscape for wildlife recovery.

Koalas are one of the most well-known marsupials of the Australian landscape, being a major symbol to our culture and identity. The 2019-2020 bushfires burnt over 5.5 million hectares in NSW causing distress to hundreds of animal species and ecosystems, including a loss of 5,000 koalas. This situates the species at a major risk of extinction in the wild by 2050 which needs to be urgently addressed. Koalas are an iconic symbol to our nation that to lose such a species would be a major impact to our culture, economy, and ecology.


Tree Planting

Eucalyptus trees will be planted over a 15-year period inside and outside of the sanctuary boundary to increase koala habitat and connection. The type of trees planted are a primary koala food sources and take at least 10 years of growth until they are legible as koala habitat. Trees will be placed in areas that are highly cleared and will be strategically located to connect surrounding habitat while not influencing any farming practices.

Koala Population Growth


Joeys will stay in their mother’s pouch for 6-7 months until they can tolerate gum leaves.

Fire Management

15-year rotation

Hazard reduction burns are purposely lit fires to reduce the severity of future bushfires. This method reduces the amount of debris, logs, and leaves on the ground floor. This intends to let ecology recover and leave the trees intact. With the serious climate changes in Australia, the importance in maintaining ecological communities is crucial. Indigenous communities have been altering the fire regime to the Australian landscape to protect and resource flora and fauna. Their method was to produce a ‘mosaic’ of the landscape where plant communities recover and regrow in stages that would protect them from wildfires.


The signage of The Koala Sanctuary will be an important attraction that will be uniquely designed while informing the public of facts and knowledge of the landscape and koalas. This signage will be located at certain points that inform where koalas are frequently seen and have important environmental factors. These signs will be made out of recycled metal from the houses and properties burnt from the 2019-2020 bushfires as these materials will have no other purpose and rather than being placed in landfill. Now, they will be reused to benefit koalas, the community, and educational purposes. The metal material of the signage will also be able to withstand the prescribed burn around the sanctuary unlike wood, be durable and blend into the environment without changing the natural experience. This idea will provide more meaning to the sanctuary while connecting wildlife and humanity for a bigger purpose.

The information located on these signs will include:
– Koalas facts, biology, diet, habitat, impact, and significance
– Clues in how to look for koalas through scratch marks and droppings
– Structure of geology and soil of the region
– Climate and rainfall
– How fire moves and is naturally apart of the Australian landscape
– How hazard reduction burning occurs and why it is different from back burning


With over 700 Eucalyptus species, koalas will only eat 40-50, classifying them as very fussy eaters.

Koala Sanctuary board walk

This boardwalk will move people above the ground to the koala’s level for a closer look, however, people will not be able to touch or physically interact with the species for safety.

Walking at dusk

Koalas are most active in the evening before dusk, one of the coolest parts of the day. If people want to see a koala, walking at dusk or in mating season are their best chances.

Prescribed burning in Autumn

Prescribed burns are lit purposely to be controlled by firefighters. Wildlife such as koalas are relocated to safe areas while burning is undertaken.


‘Koala’ in the local Indigenous language means ‘no drink’ as they only seek out water during drought.

Akala Stumkat

Akala is a creative and determined individual who highly appreciates the outdoors and nature. She grew up on a rural farm, forming a strong connection with flora and fauna directing her to study Landscape Architecture. She will be completing her studies halfway through 2021 and is currently looking for experience in the workforce.