Mark Wilson has penned a poem about saving Port Stephens koalas

Koalas are dinki-di. They epitomise Australia. We reckon you can’t get much more Australian than a koala.

Given this, we reckon the NSW government should be doing everything it can to help save these creatures from extinction in Port Stephens.

An independent NSW Scientific Committee, which the government appoints, said the koala population near Port Stephens was endangered because it was “facing a very high risk of extinction in the near future”.

The Herald reported on Tuesday that the government had destroyed the chances of the Port Stephens koala population being listed as endangered. They did this by changing biodiversity conservation laws, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said, while backing up her case with documents.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian alleged the article was misleading and said the government had invested $10 million [over five years] to “increase the presence of koalas across the state”.

Ms Washington hasn’t heard of any of that money making its way to Port Stephens. And she reckons the government isn’t doing enough to help the iconic marsupials.

Mark Wilson, a former Newcastle Breakers player, feels the same way. He wrote this poem for Kate and the koalas.

It’s titled Save the Koalas.

A sharp brattle clattered through the helpless bark,

Belligerent teeth ignited a constant spark,

Prosperous soils more suitable for farming,

Expanding suburbs quite alarming.

Lifeless trunks, impossible to save, nugatory, amidst an open grave.

The aroma of eucalyptus hidden by smoke, Dark coloured buttons had clearly awoke.

Sharp claws grasping out of reach, Habitats like halves of an uneaten peach.

Pouches as bare as a schoolboy’s diary, Towering flames, menacing and fiery.

Desperate sustenance awaiting their arrival, Heavy machinery ceasing their survival.

Protective dogs cling on like baseballs in a mit, Trapped in backyards like bears in a pit,

Backyard pools no place to be, Sunk like lead into the sea.

Plethora of fins grace the rich coastline, The boardwalk the perfect place to dine,

Picturesque views simply breathtaking, Tourists constantly sunbaking, Yet inland the torment and agitation, On the backbone of deforestation.

The native bear struggling to cope, An unexpected lifeline providing hope.

Balls of fur no longer shivered, The local member has delivered.

The seeds watering the new plant, Koalas at the crossroads of a welcoming grant.

A region praised for action, Now waiting for a government’s reaction.

And as a community awaits the walls to be built, It ensures that no more blood is spilt,

A platform of sustained captivity, An environment of sensitivity, A world class centre for a community to share, Professionals with a willingness to care, An opportunity for education, A vision for exploration.

No longer a community on a wave of hesitation, As it strives for longevity of preservation.

A proud MP has kept its hopes alive, And will ensure that the koalas of Port Stephens survive. 

When You’ve Gotta Go

Crown and Anchor Hotel staff Kelsey Hoffman and Angus Carroll.

Crown and Anchor Hotel staff Kelsey Hoffman and Angus Carroll.

You know when you’re busting to go to the loo, but there’s no public toilets around. 

What do you do? You look for a pub. 

You feel a bit guilty about using their loo without buying anything. So you buy a schooner. Just joking about that last part. 

Newcastle’s Crown and Anchor hotelier Mark Chegwidden knows this issue well.

“On a normal day, we get – on average – 18 people using the toilets without making a purchase,’’ Mark said.

“We figured that if we're good enough to supply water, electricity, toilet paper, hand towels and soap free of charge, maybe they could help out a worthy cause.’’

Staff at the hotel already donate their tips to the Bowel Cancer Research Foundation, so Mark thought the foot traffic was an ideal way to raise more money for the cause.

Donation posters were first put up during the recent Newcastle 500 Supercars event. So far they’ve been successful.

Mark originally chose bowel cancer research for the charity because a friend from his school days was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago.

“She was 29 when she was diagnosed and has been battling it like a trooper and kicking its ass,’’ he said.

“It made me want to do something to try and help.”