Friends Of Local Koalas

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Recent FOLKLAW Projects

FOLKLAW major project for 2012.

Our latest project which started started November 2012 was to design, build and erect a wildlife animal treatment/hospital building for a Frankston wildlife carer.  As at the start of December the design stage was completed.  The construction phase contained a completed floor and timber framing for wall, doors, windows and roof.   Colourbond roofing material completed the roof and walls.  All moneys raised for this has come from subscriptions and Ritchies CB donations.  The buildling was built over a number of days by Peter Cooper with the assistance of Hans Fortuyn and Steve Ainsworth.  It was erected in the driveway of Peter Cooper and then dismantled in sections.  These sections were then placed on a trailer and ute and transported to the home of Frankston Wildlife Carer, Michelle Thomas.  The ground where the building was to be placed was cleared and levelled and the sections were then re-assembled in place over a number of days.


Peter Cooper and Hans Fortuyn building the Wildife Treatment Room.

 Peter Cooper and Steve Ainsworth building the Wildlife Treatment Room.

Peter Cooper and Steve Ainsworth erecting
Wildlife Treatment Room on site.

Steve Ainsworth and Karin Cooper erecting
Wildlife Treatment Room on site.

Wildlife Carer Michelle Thomas with her newly built Wildlife Treatment Room.

The newly completed Wildlife Treatment Room.

FOLKLAW major project for 2011.

A FOLKLAW committee member approached some wildlife carers at a stall at the Somers Arts Fair in October 2010 and offered assistance.   A request was made for possum boxes for a Balnarring wildlife carer and a roo compound and enclosure for Blind Bight carers.  Possum boxes were made and delivered (see last newsletter).  We visited the Blind Bight carers in early November and sent a letter of agreement and proposed plans for a new roo compound and enclosure.  Changes were made and the plans were finalized in early December.  Materials were then ordered and delivered off site in early January.  Construction of the enclosure commenced in on a FOLKLAW member’s property.  The enclosure and compound was designed and built to the care’s specific requirements.  It was dismantled and loaded on the truck on 28th Jan, and transported to the site on 29thJan.  Work commenced in 40 degree heat on site to re-assemble the compound and erect the fence over the next 2 days.  The total cost of the materials was $2,500 and 153 hours of voluntary labour.  FOLKLAW memberships and donations resulted in this project.  The wildlife carers now meet the legal requirements for injured wildlife rescued from bush fires.


Allan Lim Joon, Pam Bannister, Phil Birchall and 
Chrissie Dempsey with assembled roo enclosure on site.
Gilbert Hogarth and Peter Cooper in front of
pre-assembled roo enclosure before dismantling.


Chrissie Dempsey, Allan Lim Joon, Peter Cooper and Phil Birchall
with assembled roo enclosure on site.

The roo compound under construction.

Chrissie Dempsey and Blind Bight wildlife carers Una and
John in front of newly assembled roo fence with shade cloth
fixed to the  inside.

Compound Construction: Wire fencing is 1.8 meters high, and 200 mm sunk into the ground.  Fencing sunk into the ground is reinforced with bricks and colour matched shade cloth fitted internally over the wire fencing and sunk 200 mm into the ground.  Steel wire entrance gate fitted. 

Total area of compound is 71 sq meters.

Enclosure Construction: Colourbond corrugated to all four sides and roof.  Heavy duty timber frame with wire mesh ventilation windows front and rear Lift off entry door with bolts and latch back.

 Size is 3 meters square, 2.4 meters high.

Again, a BIG thankyou to all our wonderful volunteers and members who made this project possible!

FOLKLAW major project for 2010.

In November, 2010 FOLKLAW approved the funding for materials to build 9 possum nesting boxes for a local wildlife carer.  The carer specified the size and shape of the boxes and then our treasurer built the nest boxes in 2 days.  Two other FOLKLAW Committee members painted the boxes on the third day and then they were delivered to the wildlife carer.  There were approximately 15 possums in various stages of rehabilitation from injuries or sickness.  There were also a number of orphaned possums.  The nesting boxes would house the bigger possums and those that no longer required such intensive care.  Each box would house one possum and as the animal was released into the wild, the box would be placed in a tree, together with the possum near where it was found.  This reduces the risk of injury from other possums over territorial rights.  

FOLKLAW treasurer building possum boxes.

                                                                    Some of the 9 possum boxes.

FOLKLAW Committee member painting one of the possum boxes.

FOLKLAW Secretary presenting one of the possum nesting boxes to the wildlife carer.

One of our other recent projects was to purchase the materials to build an avairy/koala enclosure for our local wildlife carer.  

Koala enclosure 1We bought the building materials with money raised from Ritchies' supermarket donations.  The specifications for the enclosure was given to us by the wildlife carer to suit her specific requirements.  On April 6th 2008, June 8th 2008 and 2nd November 2008 we held working bees at her place and built the enclosures.  The 2 structures are built next to each other.  The bird avairy has a solid corrigated roof over one end and walls of mist green colour bond corrigated roofing.  A low wall of approx 2 ft of corrigated sheeting surrounds the bottom of the enclosure to provide wind protection.  Fine mesh is used for the rest of the walls.  The koala enclosure is similar but with a solid roof made of 2/3 clear roofing and 1/3 colourbond roofing and larger mesh.  The 2 cages are separated by timber beams so that the koalas will not get their claws caught in the bird avairy mesh.  The bird avairy will be used to enable injured or sick birds to strenghten they wings prior to being released into the wild.  In total over 3 Sunday working bee days about 190 hours of voluntary labour and $2.891.95 of donated money was used to complete the Koala enclosure/bird aviary.

Koala Enclosure 2

Some of our volunteers helping to build the avairy/koala enclosure.

The Koala Enclosure/Bird Aviary on completion


The Koala Enclosure/Bird Avairy on completion.

Rear view of the Koala Enclosure/Bird Avairy

Rear view of the completed Koala enclosure/Bird Avairy.

New Residents of new Koala Enclosure


                                             The new Residents of the New Koala Enclosure.

                                               - blind mum and 2 babies.

Some plants have been planted in the Kennedy Rd park at the top of Kennedy Rd in Somers.  The park has very few trees and will make a great wildlife corridor which will greatly assist with the movement of wildlife when the plants we put in are mature.  We have been in contact with the Mornington Peninsula Parks manager who have since prepared the site and layed down mulch in 3 stages starting in the Autumn 2007 and continuing through 2008.  We started putting the plants in as soon as it was wet enough. We have a number of used sticks and plastic guards that we used at no cost.  Somers volunteers have assisted with this ongoing project.  Refer to the section below on Other FOLKLAW Work for an update on this venture.

We are also growing plants for the Somers Foreshore Committee. 

We have also grown and donated several thousand plants for the Lord Somers Camp and Somers Education Camp.

We have grown and supplied 100 plants for the Somers Foreshore Committee to put in the Lower Carpark.  This is a project that has been carried out by the Somers Foreshore Committee and the Somers Primary School children.  Equipment was supplied by FOLKLAW.

FOLKLAW Trailer with signage

FOLKLAW trailer with new signage on 3 sides of the trailer paid for by FOLKLAW and kindly put on by Signforce who donated their time.

On 27th July 2008 we had our annual Tree Planting Day at the Somers Koala Reserve.  We planted about 250 trees and bushes and spread mulch.  No photos are available.

Last year (2007) we  planted out a number of other areas around Somers with indigeous plants, many which were grown by us.  

For 2007 National Tree Planting Day we helped organise the infilling of areas within the RW Stone Reserve. Approximately 30 adults and children turned up on the day and planted about 350 plants.  Large areas were sprayed before hand and then mulch was spread out on the day by some energetic volunteers while others planted.  A BBQ was held after the event and a good time was had by all.


On Sunday18th August, 2007 FOLKLAW held a working bee at the Kennedy Rd Park in Somers.  14 volunteers planted 256 indigenous plants around part of the edge of the park.  Some areas had already been sprayed and mulched by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council so we planted these areas out first and then progressed down towards the back of the park and along the back fence line.  Subsequent working bees will be held to continue planting up the other side of the park. Morning tea was provided and some residents met their neighbours for the first time.  Below are some of the volunteers who  stayed for morning tea.

We have also donated several thousand indigenous plants to the Lord Somers Camp and Somers Education Camp who are introducing more indigenous plants in their grounds.

FOLKLAW was involved with the National Tree Planting Day on 30th July 2007 as we have been over the past few years.  We have registered with Greening Australia’s Website and have had a number of successful days thanks to the public who volunteer their time to put in plants around the Koala Reserve.


Over the years we have applied for and received two grants for tools and equipment.  From these we were able to purchase diggers, mattocks, weeders, loppers, mulching forks, pruners, a brush cutter and other equipment.  These tools are shared with other environment or interested groups around Somers.  We were also able to buy and erect a shed with money from another grant.  This shed holds all our tools, display stands and brochures for when we hold an information stall.  We also store our recycled stakes and plastic guards in the compound.

We recently applied for a grant for a customized trailer so that it is easier to transport our tools and refreshment stand to our working bee sites.  We failed to get the grant in the first attempt but our application was automatically resubmitted when the next grant money became available.   As we were successful in the second round of funding, we ordered a new trailer in May 2007 and took delivery of it in August.   The trailer is available for use by other environmental voluntary groups.  It has opening doors at the rear and side and a platform at the front for a mower or wheelbarrow.  We store most of our equipment in it, including first aid kit and coffee and  tea facilities.  It means far less preparation work for our working bees as we no longer have to load and unload all the equipment.  Below is a picture of our new acquisition without the tools. 

Two of our committee members and another volunteer planted about 80 manna gums at the home of the local wildlife carer.  The carer specializes in treating and 

rehabilitating injured and sick koalas but has an ongoing problem of having to get gum leaves to feed them while they are in her care.  We decided to plant the trees so that she will have an easy source of food for the koalas in a few years.

We had a display at the Hastings library from 14/7/06 – 03/08/06 to educate the public about caring for their environment and to encourage them to join our environmental group.   Information about local native animals and how to attract them back into the garden by planting indigenous plants was part of the display.  We received very good feed back from the library staff about the number of people that took the time to read our display board.

FOLKLAW was also involved with the planting of 2000 trees, shrubs and grasses in the Ray Stone Reserve in Camp Hill Rd.  South East Water had used this reserve to store all their equipment and as a good will gesture to the people of Somers they donated 2000 plants.  FOLKLAW together with some children from the Somers Primary School and other volunteers planted them over 2 days.  Although some perished during the long dry summer, many have survived and the reserve looks much better and attracts koalas and other animals and birds.

On 13th November 1996 FOLKLAW was involved with planting 284 indigenous trees in the grounds of Cerberus to remember the 280 men who served in the 4 RAN Sloops HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Swan, HMAS Warrego and HMAS Yarra in Word War 2.  In 2006 we went to the 10th anniversary Memorial Service at Cerberus and afterwards walked among the 284 trees that had been planted.  A new plaque was put in place and the old one was donated to the Cerberus Historic Society.

Over the past few years, FOLKLAW has had an information stall at the Somers Arts Fair and the Somers Garden Fair.  We have raised money by selling indigenous plants, auctioning a poster sized photo donated by one of our Committee Members and having a garage sale.  This money was donated to our local wildlife carer for medicines, blankets etc.

Over the years FOLKLAW has been actively involved with the Somers Primary School plant nursery and garden.


A FOLKLAW member has very generously painted some beautiful posters of the Somers Koala Reserve which we use in our displays.  She has also done some signs warning cars to slow down when koalas cross the road and during the baby bird season. 


In 2001 FOLKLAW organized a volunteer day to plant out the Kennedy Rd Track.  The day was a great success with many people turning up.  Although some of the plants did not survive the harsh Summer, many did, especially the Manna Gums at the end of the track.  Some of the smaller plants, including grasses are actually spreading.  The track is still maintained on a yearly basis with spraying of weeds and replacement of plants that have died.

We have also organized a number of speakers to lecture on such topics as migratory birds, local bats, etc.


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