Jack, an ophaned wallaroo handed in to keepers at Cooberie Park for care until it can be released back into the wild when it is a little older. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Jack, an ophaned wallaroo handed in to keepers at Cooberie Park for care until it can be released back into the wild when it is a little older. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Overseas visitors help clean-up and repair Cooberrie Park

THANKS to the help of hundreds of volunteers, Cooberrie Park is finally seeing progress in the mammoth clean-up task left after Cyclone Marcia tore through four weeks ago.

Visiting the volunteer-based wildlife park last week, volunteer Kieron Smedley said the outpouring of generosity had been overwhelming.

"It's been a massive undertaking and we've still got a long way to go," Kieron said.

Dave Smedley working on the new wombat enclosure at Cooberie Park. The old one was completely destroyed by Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Dave Smedley working on the new wombat enclosure at Cooberie Park. The old one was completely destroyed by Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

"We've had an incredible amount of help. We had people holidaying from Ireland, people from Canberra and Brisbane coming to help.

"We had people turn up with their chainsaws, backhoes, trucks, trailers - it was unbelievable.

"We had 20 to 30 people out here a day helping who we didn't even know. As well as the army who helped out for four days."

Special mention was made of the Barlows' family, who donated their equipment and time.

Kieron Smedley at Cooberie Park where fallen trees destroyed a number of animal enclosures. With the help of many volunteers they are getting things fixed up and hope to reopen for Easter. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Kieron Smedley at Cooberie Park where fallen trees destroyed a number of animal enclosures. With the help of many volunteers they are getting things fixed up and hope to reopen for Easter. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

"We're hoping to write out a list to thank everybody because there was just so many helping and making major donations," Kieron said.

Now working on getting the park back to some form of normality, Kieron said some of the enclosures had to be rebuilt, along with a long list of general maintenance jobs.

"We're hoping to be reopened by Easter," he said.

"We had 10 enclosures with damage and three that were totally disintegrated. Our biggest bird enclosure also got damaged, but funnily enough, every animal was counted for after the cyclone hit apart from a couple of native parrot species that flew away, which was incredible."

Kieron Smedley with Jack, an orphaned wallaroo being looked after at Cooberie Park despite the damage wrought on the place by Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Kieron Smedley with Jack, an orphaned wallaroo being looked after at Cooberie Park despite the damage wrought on the place by Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

The wildlife park has been open for 45 years. Kieron said with a core volunteer base of about 10 members, it was important to look at the positives and come up new ways to reinvent the park.

"It will always have a different atmosphere now because it's lost so many trees, but this also gives us the chance to think bigger and better and have new ideas for the park so it's viable for the future," he said.

"It's been such an icon for so many years and we want that to continue."

GET INVOLVED

Located at 9 Stones Road, Cooberrie, Byfield.

If you'd like to help out, phone them on 4939 7590.



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