A conversation with a friend led Barb Barrett to become a volunteer at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
That was 20 years ago.
Barb started out as a volunteer in the koala hospital yards and she looked after her first koala in home care about 18 months later.
Some 12 months after that, Barb started rearing orphaned koala joeys as a home carer for Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Caring for koala joeys is her forte.
The young koalas in home care weigh between 200-odd grams and 1.5 kilograms.
"If they are really tiny, you have to feed them every two or three hours around the clock for probably a month," Barb said.
They are fed a special milk formula for marsupials, and gradually as they grow, the koala joeys are introduced to leaf while continuing the milk formula.
They remain in home care until they reach about 2.5kg when they swap home care for the koala hospital's kindergarten yard.
Barb's work is done once the koalas reach the kindergarten yard.
"They have to learn to live without relying on us humans and it doesn't take them very long," she said.
The koalas are released into the wild once they weigh 3.5kg.
"Particularly with the joeys, when you have them from such a tiny little thing to rearing them up when they are big enough to be released back into the wild, that's very rewarding," Barb said.
"I just love them.
"They are a special animal and I can't imagine anyone that once they have been involved with [caring for] them wouldn't want to keep doing it for as long as they could."
But rearing koala joeys isn't always a success story.
A tiny koala joey, named Ocean Drive Pixie, was only 79 grams when she came into the care of the koala hospital.
"We had never tried to rear one that little before so I had to carry her against my body 24 hours a day," Barb said.
"I used to sleep with her there as well, so she could get the warmth from me."
Pixie grew to 2kg but died out of the blue.
"That's what the little ones can do," Barb said.
"You have to steel yourself all the time when you are rearing the little ones because that can happen."
Barb says she worries terribly about the future of our koala population, which was impacted by the drought and the bushfires.
She is also concerned about the loss of habitat faced by koalas in urban areas.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is putting the foundations in place for the wild koala breeding program which was fast-tracked after a GoFundMe campaign launched in response to bushfire devastation raised $7.9 million.
The money also went towards 140 wildlife drinking stations which are in place across NSW, Queensland and Victoria.