Ellenborough Lewis, the koala who captured international attention after being rescued from fire west of Port Macquarie, will be immortalised with a bronze statue.
Lewis tragically lost the fight against his fire-related injuries at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on November 26. He'd been rescued by Toni Doherty during a fire near Long Flat.
Australian collaborative art couple Gillie and Marc Schattner have taken on the task of creating a permanent statue of Lewis to be stationed in Port Central shopping centre.
Mr Schattner said in destruction there can still be moments of love and compassion if people simply stop and lend a hand.
"Lewis is a reminder for the generations for those who have never seen bush fires of this ferocity," he said.
"The sight of Lewis crawling from the flames to be rescued transcends the conservation message. That sight is a reminder of humanity coming together to step up and protect threatened animals. It unifies the world."
The statue is expected to take around four to five months to create and will be fitted with a plaque detailing his rescue.
The pair have previously created koala sculptures including a koala family and solo koala, Cuddles. They are most well-known for a 17 foot statue featuring the last three Northern White Rhinos, stationed in New York City.
Mrs Schattner said the news of Lewis being euthanised at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital due to his injuries was completely heartbreaking.
"It was a tremendous shock," she said.
"We had been sent photos of him for the artwork. We had seen him eating leaves and recovering but unfortunately his health deteriorated very quickly."
The artistic duo are People's Choice Award winners for Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea, Archibald Prize finalists and have won the 2019 Bayside Arts Festival Acquisition Award in Sydney this year.
Port Central and Kempsey Central marketing and events coordinator Courtney Thomas said the Lewis memorial is a lovely gift.
"It's going to look brilliant because it's a beautiful statue (design)," she said.
"It will look very different to other koalas along the koala trail.
"It's a beautiful story and what Toni did was very heroic. There are many untold stories and this is one that has been told."
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