METRE high koalas have been popping up around the Hastings.
Four sculptures of the Port Macquarie-specific koalas, which are the forerunners to those which will make up the exciting Hello Koalas Public Sculpture Trail, have been on display at various sponsor locations.
After their summer on tour they will join their brothers and sisters in studios to be daubed with amazing designs by the 50 chosen artists.
There is still time for artists, photographers, and community groups to submit an inspirational design at www.hellokoalas.com/artists
January 31 is the deadline for consideration to be included among those chosen to pair with a sponsor.
The sponsors’ visions for the koalas located at or near their place of business will help create a trail across the Hastings that hopefully attracts tourism as we salute a true Aussie icon.
One artist who has submitted designs is Pauline Roods.
She sees the Hello Koala as “a blank canvas to show a snapshot of Port Macquarie’s under water world.
“Most visitors come to Port Macquarie to spend time in or on the waters of our famous beaches and rivers,” Roods said.
“But how many visitors let alone locals, get to see what lies below the surface?”
Her suggested design would feature a question on its pedestal asking viewers to locate the 25 different species of local sea life she would incorporate in the artwork.
“This makes it an interactive Koala. All sea creatures will be endemic to our coastline, and it [the koala] could be wired for sound to play whale song, dolphin calls, splashing waves, seagull calls etc.”
As a leader in koala conservation, Port Macquarie boasts the world’s only hospital solely dedicated to koala care and conservation.
Managed by the Koala Preservation Society of NSW the Koala Hospital is staffed by 150 volunteers who help care for injured koalas.
The Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park also manages an internationally renowned koala breeding program and supplies them to zoos around the world.
Saluting these enigmatic creatures the 50 artistically designed fibreglass koalas will be located near the Hastings River, in the CBD, industrial area and the hinterland from September this year.
The Hello Koalas Public Sculpture Project was conceived by Arts and Health Australia and auspiced by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Other community champions stepping up as sponsors so far include Bago Vineyards, Billabong, Carbon Reduction Institute, Cassegrain Winery, Charles Sturt University, Emerald Downs Residential Estate and Golf Course, Focus magazine, Forestry Corporation of NSW, Observatory Hotel, Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie News, Port Macquarie Panthers, Primary Health Care, Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, Sails Resort Port Macquarie, Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, The Corner Restaurant at Macquarie Waters Boutique Hotel and Apartments, Rydges Port Macquarie and World ParTea.
Start your own selfie trail with the Hello Koala sculptures on their summer tour by checking them out at these locations:
* Bago Vineyards - Until January 11
* The Little Brewing Company - Until Jan 11
* Emerald Downs Golf Course - Until Jan 11 and Jan 19 - 27
* World ParTea - Jan 12 - 18
* Sea Acres Rainforest Centre - Jan 12 - 27
* Port Macquarie Panthers - Jan 12 - 27
* The Observatory Hotel - Jan 28 - February 16
* Zebu Bar + Grill at Port Macquarie Rydges - Jan 28 - Feb 16
* Sails Resort Port Macquarie - Jan 28 - Feb 16
* The Corner Restaurant - Jan 12 - 18, Jan 28 - Feb 16
For more information on the Hello Koalas Public Sculpture Trail visit www.hellokoalas.com