Students band together to architect a future for koalas

Thursday, 8 October 2020

A group of more than 20 University of Newcastle Architecture students have contributed their design skills to a project aimed at helping the endangered koala species.

Student measuring circumference of a treeAs part of a hands-on two-week intensive elective, students were tasked with designing a perimeter fence and entry for a new Koala Rehabilitation Education & Tourism Precinct to be built in Cowarra State Forest.

A prototype of their timber design and a virtual reality experience was presented to a panel of guest critics today, including the project client, Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW). The architectural design includes fencing, entry feature walls, Indigenous art and signage into the precinct.

To gain a holistic understanding of the challenges koalas face and their habitat, the students visited Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, participated in a koala tracking expedition where they spotted ‘Shazza’ and her joey, and witnessed an Aboriginal Cultural Burn.

Multi-award-winning architect, Professor Ken McBryde of the University of Newcastle, is leading the course.

cultural burn

Mick Wilson Protection Supervisor Mid North Coast & John Shipp Aboriginal Partnerships Leader for FCNSW, showing the Koala Elective students the Cultural Burn in Cowarra State Forest. Image credit: FCNSW




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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.