Myall Coast Messenger - by the Community for the Community

Shop 4, 209 Myall Street Tea Gardens NSW 2324 - Phone: 02 4997 0749 Fax: 02 4997 0759 - -

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Myall Coast



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Tea Gardens - Hawks Nest - Bulahdelah - Karuah - Stroud - Nerong - Pindimar - Bundabah - North Arm Cove

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Former GLC Mayor John Chadban & Jean Shaw at the Koala Reserve Dedication in 2007 - (Photo by Ian Morphett)

Myall Koala & Environment Group

Jean Shaw Returns to Visit

Jean Shaw, the “Koala Lady”, is returning for a visit to Hawks Nest for the first time in nearly 10 years.  Jean looked after our endangered koalas for many, many years until she retired in 2004 to live closer to her daughter in Brisbane.  Jean’s records of koala sightings in Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens were primarily responsible for NPWS officially declaring our small population “endangered”, one of only two in NSW.

Jean and her daughter Irene will be visiting just in time for the Koala Group’s Christmas party on the Tea Gardens waterfront on 13 December.  If any of Jean’s old friends would like to catch up, please let us know on 4997 1550 so that we can arrange a meeting.                                                                                                            By Gail & Ian Morphett

A little more about Jean Shaw

Upon seeing the article above from the Koala Group about Jean Shaw I delved a little deeper to find out who she was.  In July 2006 an application was submitted to Council, by the Myall Koala Group, to name the council reserve located at the corners of Albatross, Ibis, Kingfisher Avenues in Hawks Nest, the ‘Jean Shaw Reserve’.

Jean was considered a driving force within the community for her environmental works, particularly with research and protection of the koala population and was involved with Koalas from 1989 until her re-location in 2004 – she has come to be known locally and elsewhere as the ‘Koala Lady”.

Her involvement started when she spotted a koala in a tree outside her bathroom window.

In 1989 Professor Ian Hume from Sydney Uni. obtained a grant to study koalas in the area but needed some local help to track and record their movements.  Jean and her husband David were part of that group.  In 1991 Jean volunteered to record and maintain details of local koala sightings and did so until her move from the area.  Her reports were widely distributed within the community and relevant agencies such as National Parks & Wildlife, Council and the Native Animal Trust.

Jean became interested in rescuing sick and injured animals, attending wildlife training courses, gaining her rescue and release license.  She rescued not only koalas but kangaroos, penguins, turtles, echidnas, birds, possums, raptors, snakes and even a platypus. 

Jean was also passionate about education and regularly attended Tea Gardens school to impart her knowledge.  In 1997 she was awarded a Great Lakes Mayor’s Service to the Community award and also the Citizen of the Year award in the same year.  Jean was also involved in meals on wheels and the Salvation Army. 

Ros Reynolds - GLC.D6.25/7/2006

Koala Tree Saved (just)

A Swamp Mahogany tree behind the pharmacy that many locals know well was recently slated for extinction because its root system was impacting the sewer pipe underneath it. Fortunately, MidCoast Water had put a letter on the tree indicating the approval to remove.  This particular tree has a long history of koalas visiting dating back to at least 2003.  Also, in the area to the west of the Hawks Nest shops which is a koala hotspot, there are only three Swamp Mahoganies, their preferred food tree. We can ill afford to lose this most popular tree.  We were able put together a list of 27 sightings (and some photos) of koalas in this very tree which we sent off to MidCoast Council pleading with them to find another solution to the sewer pipe problem with MidCoast Water.  Fortunately, common sense has prevailed.  MidCoast Water has decided to retain the tree and classify it a “significant tree” which means greater consideration must be given whenever any activity might put it in danger.  They and MidCoast Council are discussing alternatives to avoid removal of the tree in the future.

Koala Sightings Hotline

The number of sightings have been well down this Spring (15 versus 41 last year). 

This is partly due to technical problems with the Sightings Hotline (4997 0878) which have now been resolved by Telstra.  PLEASE report your koala sightings on our Hotline.

Sadly, we lost a mother and baby koala in September killed by a hit-and-run driver in Kingfisher Avenue near Kurrawong Avenue.

For wildlife rescues call Native Animal Trust Fund on

0418 628 483 (0418 NATIVE) or Wildlife in Need of Care on 1300WINCWL.

Gail & Ian Morphett (4997 1550)

Myall Koala & Environment Group