Iconic Australian singer/songwriter John Williamson picks up his paintbrush to help save the Koala

John Williamson

Iconic Australian singer/songwriter John Williamson is set to pick up his paintbrush in aid of helping to save Koalas for the new Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail soon to be launched in the Port Macquarie Hastings region on the NSW Mid North Coast.

Australian Music legend John Williamson is passionate about saving our koalas. He is a Patron of the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie and he is about to take delivery of a one metre-high Koala sculpture to decorate. It is all part of the HELLO KOALAS SCULPTURE TRAIL that will launch later this year.

“I have been a patron of the Koala Preservation Society Australia ever since I met one of their founders, the late Jean Starr, in the early eighties. I could not stand by and watch the demise of our precious marsupial around Port Macquarie so I began to pass the hat around my audiences at my concerts and also recorded the song ‘Goodbye Blinky Bill’. We raised a considerable amount of money and that was donated to the Koala Hospital and enabled them to build a new wing which houses their intensive care unit.” 

Not many people would know that John Williamson is an accomplished visual artist as well as a musician.

It seemed only natural that I have a go at painting a Koala sculpture. Ever since I was a kid I have dabbled in art. In fact I have designed and painted some of my album covers. If it weren’t for my music career, I’m sure I would have pursued art more seriously. I hope I can do the koala justice. There will be stars in my painting, a subtle reminder of Jean Starr and her husband, Max, who were definitely stars in the effort of saving our cute icons. I have a cottage way above the Gold Coast and we are often blessed with the presence of koalas. So I think my creation will reflect the evening looking towards the west from our cliff top home.”

The Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail is a public art community project which will see 50 large scale one-metre high fibreglass koala sculptures dot the landscape from the Pacific Ocean and Hastings River by Port Macquarie’s CBD to the timbered hinterland of Wauchope and the national parks and waters of the Camden Haven. The trail will be a wonderful way for visitors to explore the area and enjoy unique works of art along the trail.

The Hello Koalas Sculpture project is designed to promote cultural tourism, environmental sustainability, creative industries and community participation. Fifty Community Champions are being invited to sponsor the koala sculptures and bring the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail to life from September this year when it is launched.

The Hello Koalas Sculpture Project has been conceived by Arts and Health Australia, a national organisation based in Port Macquarie. Executive Director, Margret Meagher explains: “Our organization is dedicated to advocating the use of the arts and creativity to enhance health and wellbeing. Public art is one of the most effective ways to engage members of a community, from childhood to older age and from diverse backgrounds, and encourage interaction, participation and contribution within a community. Port Macquarie Hastings Council is the principal sponsor of the project”.

Everyone loves the koala. So it was a perfect match of cultural tourism, artistic practice, community engagement, arts and health research and an Australian icon with a special local identity”, says Margret Meagher.

For Media Information, contact Elizabeth Grieg,

Email: egreig@bigpond.net.au or telephone 0418 194 554

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