A BRIGHT red metre high koala sculpture and its white glazed partner have been causing a stir around the town.
They are the first of the The Hello Koalas Public Sculpture Project to be made and will be seen at many more locations as they tour the sponsors that have so far signed on for the project.
At the official launch of the project last Tuesday at Eighteen Thirty restaurant, project instigator Arts and Health Australia executive director Margret Meagher thanked Port Macquarie-Hastings Council as principal sponsors and the "community champions" who have come on board so far.
"We believe the Hello Koalas will be a great new cultural event for our calendar," Councillor Mike Cusato said.
"As the Koala Trail grows so will visitation from animal lovers from all over the world," he said in reference to our internationally known Koala Hospital.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said her colleagues in parliament were very curious about the Hello Koala Trail and she expected many of them would come to Port Macquarie to find out about it for themselves.
She congratulated Ms Meagher and project manager Linda Hall on the work they have done so far and mentioned the many opportunities for merchandising she had seen from a similar project in Bristol in the UK.
Ms Hall said the Hello Koalas project would be more than just a cultural event because of its many layers.
The exposure of the artists, tourism visitation, conservation of koalas, inclusion of all the community she said would be its long-term legacy.
Eighty design submissions for decorating the furry friends, which will form a Hello Koala Trail throughout the region from September 2014, have come in from across Australia.
But it's not too late to have a crack at putting your art onto one of the 50 sponsored koalas.
The call for artists has now been extended until January.
For more information go to www.hellokoalas.com