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13 Apr 2021

Hello Koalas at the Garden

The Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail is an award-winning public art project that has come to south-west Sydney for the first time, hosted by Campbelltown City Council and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan during the month of April 2021. 

Framed by rolling hills and picturesque garden beds, 16 one-metre high fibreglass koala sculptures will delight Sydneysiders and visitors to the Garden alike. Another six koala sculptures will be on display across the surrounding Campbelltown city area. The sculptures are designed and painted by Australian artists, in a blend of arts and culture, heritage and environmental themes.

The Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail was conceived and created in Port Macquarie, by Arts and Health Australia, the national leader in arts and creative engagement programs for community health and wellbeing. 

The highly engaging free exhibition celebrates Australia’s popular and iconic species, the koala, and weave their magic through the personalities of individual Koala’s.

Here are a few of the Koala’s you can meet at the Garden: 

Wollemia the Vital Scientist

Our Botanic Gardens are so important not only as wonderful places to visit but the role that they play in helping to find solutions to critical environmental challenges facing the world today. Our plants serve as living specimens, crucial for research undertaken by horticulturists and scientists at the Australian Institute of Botanical Sciences and around the world. We must continue to invest in future proofing our plant biodiversity and innovate in climate adaption and restoration.  This includes our research work on the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis). Wollemia the Vital Scientist celebrates this important environmental work and commemorates the discovery of the Wollemi Pine in 1994 by David Noble. Keep an eye out for the Wollemi Pines growing in the Garden.

Wollemia has been painted to feature the Wollemi Pine and represent the modern day ‘vital science’ aspect of the Botanic Gardens. She carries her main focus of research with her. Tucked under her arms are branches of the Wollemi Pine. It is one of the world’s oldest and rarest trees. Extensive research including genetic study is made by our scientists to ensure the survival of this living dinosaur. The branches show the Wollemi Pine’s unusual male and female cones that grow on the one tree.

A wildflower tattoo and a DNA strand tattoo are a nod to the importance of the scientific research work undertaken at the Gardens. On Wollemia’s back surrounding her super important message of NO PLANTS NO FUTURE, are symbolic equations for photosynthesis and symbols for water and oxygen. These highlight many plant based items that would not exist without plants.

Wollemia wears a lab coat with the badges of the three Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Mount Annan and Mount Tomah. Other Australian native plants found on Wollemia include:
Waratah, Flannel Flower, Grevillea, Bottlebrush, Wattle, Pink Flannel Flower, Red Iron Bark Eucalyptus.

There are also some creatures to find. They are a native stingless bee, garden jumping spider and a lady bird beetle.

Artist: Lisa Burrell

Charlie - the Botanic Horticulturist

What can you see in the Garden today? Bright flowers and strong happy plants everywhere! 
How do the Botanic Gardens stay looking so amazing? Our Horticulture team love caring for plants. Every day, they work to plant and prune, water and weed, tend and feed. The result is the beautiful Gardens — for everyone to enjoy. What’s your favourite plant?

Artists: Kim and Wayne Staples 

Frankie Firefighter

Frankie Firefighter says a big “thank you” to all the Australian firefighters who protect our communities and fight to keep us and our homes safe.
Many of Australia’s plants show their resilience to bushfire, too. Some have thick bark and re-sprout new branches from their trunks. Others re-grow from underground tubers, or have seeds that germinate after fire.

Artists: Kim & Wayne Staples


Who’s a fussy eater? Baby Koalas — joeys — eat their mother’s poo! This is how they get the special bacteria that helps them digest gum leaves.
There are over 850 species of gum trees (Eucalyptus), but Koalas will only eat a few. In Campbelltown, Koalas like to munch on leaves of Grey Gums and Blue-leaved Stringy Bark trees. 

Artist: Lisa Burrell


Investigate Scoop’s colourful designs. What stories can you see? I-spy a superhero!
Scoop is a very busy News Reporter. This is a great way to be a champion for Koalas — by spreading the word about the importance of looking after our native animals and plants. Why not write your own story or song about Koalas?

Artist: Rebekah Brown


Topiary celebrates the Garden, and the joy people find in growing and caring for plants. It’s been proven that spending time looking at plants makes you happier!

Visit our giant topiary bee sculptures in the Connections Garden.  These amazing creations have been made by the Garden’s Horticulture team using Australian native plants.

Artist: Nicole Lister

Captain Koala

Captain Koala says: Koalas need trees! Koalas rely on gum trees for food, and a safe place to sleep and raise their young, high out of reach of predators.
Even though you’re not a tree, you can help to keep Koalas safe: Drive slowly in areas where they live; and keep dogs and cats indoors at night.

Artist: Tristan Murray

A customised trail map leads visitors on a tour across the lawns, specialty gardens and native plantings of the Garden to learn about the koalas and secure the perfect snap.

To help find the koalas and learn about each one we suggest downloading the trail guide. When you visit the Garden, you can use our Garden Explorer link on our website and choose the Tour option and then the Hello Koalas Tour option to find the koala’s on the site.

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