On this day …….. 9th of October 2009
Sam the koala gained notoriety in February 2009 when she was rescued during backburning operations prior to the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009. CFA volunteer firefighter David Tree approached the koala with a bottle of water, from which the animal drank; an unusual occurrence, given that koalas rarely drink water. A mobile phone video of the event was broadcast worldwide, creating an instant celebrity in the koala. Sam was subsequently taken to the Southern Ash Wildlife Centre in Rawson where she was treated for second-degree burns. After living there happily for several months, along with a young male koala who had also been rescued from bushfires, Sam was found to be stricken with the disease chlamydia. She was euthanased on 6 August 2009 when it was discovered her condition was inoperable. Dadswells Bridge, a town with a population of around 170 near the Grampians in Victoria, is home to the Giant Koala. Standing since 1988, the Giant Koala is a well-known tourist attraction in the area. It is 14 metres high, cast primarily out of bronze and weighs approximately 12 tonnes. On Saturday 10 October 2009, the Giant Koala was officially renamed “Sam” in honour of the koala. The centre aims to raise awareness of the life-threatening disease chlamydia, while offering a tribute to the hope Sam gave amidst the horrors of the Victorian bushfires.