The Koala Hospital

This information is taken from the Koala Preservation Society of New South Wale's website.


Situated in Port Macquarie on mid-coastal northern New South Wales, in Australia, the Koala Hospital is the world's first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas. The Hospital has a treatment room, eight intensive care units, a 24 Hour rescue and treatment operation and multiple recovery yards. The Hospital has a research affiliation with the University of Sydney, Australia.

Getting thereEdit

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is situated in Port Macquarie on the NSW Mid North Coast. We are situated approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane. There is an airport, coach and train services available.

About the HospitalEdit

Koala Preservation Society of N.S.W Inc. is a charitable organization surviving on our ability to raise enough funds to keep the Hospital operating in order to save enough funds to keep the Hospital operating in order to save the lives of our precious koala population. We rely heavily on funds raised through our Adopt A Wild Koala Program; donations; bequests and fund raising activities.

The cost of operating the hospital is $140,000 per year. With the exception of our supervisor, and leaf collectors the Hospital is staffed by volunteers. Our overheads consist of large veterinary bills and medical supplies, as well as keeping our leaf truck on the road, and general running costs such as electricity, telephone, equipment, and a myriad of other expenses.

The Koala Preservation Society of N.S.W. Inc. is situated in the grounds of the Macquarie Nature Reserve, Lord Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. It is not only a hospital to treat sick and injured koalas but it is also involved in research with the University of Sydney into koala diseases.

Between 200 and 250 koalas are admitted through the Hospital annually. Apart from Chlamydia, motor vehicle accidents and dog attacks are the most common cause of injuries sustained, predominantly during the breeding season.

Koala Preservation Society of N.S.W. Inc. consists of 10 outside yards and 8 intensive care units inside the hospital.

The Hospital is open 365 days a year and visitors are welcome at all times during the day, however a "Feed, Walk and Talk" tour is conducted every afternoon at 3.00 p.m. where a volunteer walks around the outside yards informing visitors of the history of each koala, why they are there and what is being done for them while other volunteers are feeding the koalas.

Hospital servicesEdit

The koala hospital was founded in 1973 by a local couple, Jean and Max Star. It is a "C" class Veterinary Hospital, restricted to on site minor procedures only. All major surgeries and x-rays are undertaken at our veterinary superintendent's practice in Port Macquarie.

Over the Hospital's 32 year operation, a number of protocols and procedures for dealing with a myriad of reasons for koala admissions, have been developed. Some are highly successful, where others are continually being trialled and reassessed for further improvement. Eye infection as a result of the chlamydial bacteria, usually has an excellent result from treatment, whereas the urogenital form of Chlamydia is still a battle that has to be won. A massive research project involving the University of Sydney and other industry partners will, we hope, eventually to have a successful outcome.

The Koala Hospital, being a research/study centre has not only a strong affiliation with the University of Sydney, but also networks with many institutions, zoos, wildlife researchers, wildlife veterinarians and numerous wildlife rehabilitation groups world wide.

  • One treatment room
  • Eight intensive care units
  • 24 hour rescue and treatment operation
  • Multiple recovery yards

With the ever diminishing koala food trees, due to local development, the Society is committed to replacing as many food trees as possible. Our habitat co-ordinator represents the Society at local council meetings trying to create a balanced view whenever a new development proposal is lodged that is going to have an affect on koala's.

Whilst the Hospital is only staffed from 7.00 am until 4.30 pm each day, we provide a 24 hour rescue service and if a koala is found sick or injured after hospital hours a trained rescuer will attend and either take the koala to one of our home carers for the night or, if necessary, take it to the veterinary surgeon for attention.

Home care volunteers are also trained to look after koalas that need extra "around the clock" care until they are well enough to be admitted to the Hospital. Orphaned joeys are also reared in home care until they reach an acceptable body weight, then they are returned to the Hospital where they finish their 'growing up' and de-humanising, ready to be released into the wild.


The Koala Hospital has had an excellent overseas volunteer program for many years, hosting people from all over the world. As we are a charity organization, we cannot supply accommodation, food or wages, but we do have great morning teas!

Overseas volunteers are required to work for a period of one month and can work every morning shift if they wish. Generally, the afternoon shift is reserved for local volunteers as the workload is light.

You can become involved in many aspects of hospital life as you wish, such as yard and intensive care ward duties, rescues, releases and you can also assist in talking to the many visitors that The Koala Hospital attracts every day. As koalas are 'wild' animals, volunteers must accept that they cannot handle the koalas but are still able to work closely with them. We also accept overseas veterinarians, vet. nurses or those working with wildlife. All applicants would still be considered to be volunteer and must follow the same volunteer rules and protocols as others.

At certain times, the Hospital will accept overseas volunteers to work for short periods. Potential applicants must read the following before completing the application form.

  • We do not have any paid positions at all.
  • We do not have intern positions.
  • We do not supply accommodation or food (see list of recommended establishments here
  • All applicants MUST have a current Tetanus shot before applying.
  • All overseas volunteers are required to stay one month, no less, no more, as it takes approximately one week to train new staff.
  • All new staff must sign a declaration to comply with Health Regulations (for staff safety) before commencing.
  • All volunteers must realize that these are WILD koalas, not captive bred, and therefore are quite capable of inflicting injury, and are NOT to be handled, cuddled, etc.
  • Overseas volunteers can be involved in rescues, releases, and assist in medical treatments, but MUST obey instructions from permanent staff.
  • The Koala Hospital requests that the overseas applicants MUST have a good grasp on the English language. For the safety of any applicant, The Koala Hospital will not accept people only learning the English language.
  • All applicants must be aware that there can be quiet times, with not many patients, and very little to do. Therefore, volunteers may only have a few hours work each day, or rarely - not at all.

Port Macquarie does have some of the most beautiful surfing beaches in Australia, plus beautiful scenery, lots of shops, reasonable night life and other "touristy" things to do, so on quiet days, most people make good use of these facilities.

Click here to apply onlineEdit

Or click here for an application formEdit

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