Long live Frida Koalho

 In Frida Koahlo: A Koala Story

I haven’t had a koala in the garden for a while. I don’t think my trees are part of their winter route. But I started dreaming about a koala being in the garden at the beginning of last the week. And on Wednesday, there one was.

I knew it was going to be there as I walked out to check ( as I do a few times a day!). I raced back to get my proper camera, because this koala was not up all that high. When I looked back at the pics I noticed something was not right with the eyes.


I called ‘Friends of the Koala‘ in Lismore and a rescuer was assigned to  me. Wendy confirmed the koala was a female, and that she would need treatment for her eyes. She suggested I name her. In honour of one of my favourite artists, Frida Kalho, so this koala became Frida Koalho.

Hopes were high for a safe and successful capture.We set up a special koala tree trap. See the circle at the top? That’s the ‘low’ koala! These Gum trees are very, very tall. Basically we need to wait for the koala to come down from the tree, and with nowhere to go except in the pressure sensitive cage, she could be captured.


From my koala watching, I know that they sleep mostly during the day, and forage for leaves at night, and then usually at dusk or dawn come down to change trees if necessary.

After the trap was set, It was my job to check regularly and see if all was well. ie: that the trap door was still open (frogs have been known to set them off!) and if the koala had been secured, I was to call Wendy so she could come and collect the trap and get our furry friend to care.

On the first evening,  I went to bed late after checking on her and set an alarm for 1.30am. I had the most VIVID and INTENSE dreams about walking in the garden with amazing wildlife flying, jumping, scurrying and leaping all around me. It was wild! In my dream my torch ran out of batteries and I had to come back inside and that’s when I woke up…just before the alarm.

When I went outside it was so peaceful… Not a lick of wind… The full moon lighting up the night…I felt connected to the land we live on in such a nourishing way. Frida Koalho was way up high still, and still up there at 3 and 5 am.

She slept all the next day ( much like me!) and on the second night, just before all light faded, I could see her way at the top of the tree again. I checked a few times during the night, but couldn’t see her at all. I was concerned she may have crossed to another tree via the branches.

But at 4am, I woke with no scheduled alarm. Just an inkling it was time to check on her. As I headed out, and shined my torch, I saw her walk in to the trap. I head the door activate behind her!

I called Wendy and she arrived to take darling Frida Koahlo on the next part of her adventure. Here is Frida, calm and cute.

Frida went up to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.  The veterinary dept gave her a thorough examination and …. the very worse scenario was in evidence :

“Hi Jane,

It is very sad news I’m afraid.  Frida Koahlo was admitted to the intensive care ward and an ultrasound and testing showed she was suffering from Chlamydia, a bacterial infection that causes conjunctivitis, blindness and reproductive disease in koalas. Frida had a very large ovarian cyst which are progressive and very painful, which we were not able to treat or remove so sadly Frida had to be euthanised.  We are seeing increasing numbers of koalas with Chlamydia as habitat on the east coast decreases so we thank you for keeping an eye on Frida and going to her aid when she needed it.

Kind Regards,

Veterinary Department
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin QLD 4223″


I still cry whenever I think about it. Not only because I  feel for her life as an individual, but I feel such a colossal sadness and sense of loss for all koalas. Hundreds are in care in my region alone. And this figure doesn’t account for the koalas that are euthanised.

My eyes are opened.

First I will look to what I can personally do to make my property as Wildlife friendly as possible. That starts with planting more trees.

I have joined ‘Friends of the Koala‘ and donated money.

You can do the same if you like. Please do:
Payments can be made to supportakoala@friendsofthekoala.org through the Paypal website. ( go to your paypal account, select ‘Send Money’ and enter the details.)

I have donated a huge pallet of goods for resale at fundraising events to the Port Stephens Koala group.

I will also visit the Friends of the Koala Research and Rehabilitation centre as soon as I am over grieving for Frida. It may sound like I am being dramatic, but that dear little soul has touched me very deeply, and I need some space before seeing the rescued koalas.

When the time is right, seeing little bubs like this will make my heart sing ( look at their dear little faces!).



This is not the story I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you that Frida was fine, and would be coming back to me and live in that very same tree.

The reality is, koalas are in shocking decline. Their habitat is continually shrinking. Stress lowers their bodily defences to disease. But, as I said, my eyes are opened. My heart is strong and I will do whatever I can for them.

Watch this space.




Artomologist and Koala Mamma wannabe.



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Showing 29 comments
  • cathy huggett

    Jane, I can see Frida popping up in your paintings. I can see her little, soulful face appearing like a little talisman in your work.

  • cathy huggett

    Hi Jane,
    As an art lover and art teacher – a friend suggested I visit your website. I’m so glad I did. Within the space of a few minutes I have come away wonderfully inspired and invigorated. I was so sad to read your story about Frida Koalho. When things like this happen I always stop and think about why it happened to me and what was I meant to learn from it. It may have been that Frida was sent to your property because that is where she would find someone who cared enough to seek help for her. Why-ever it is that these mysterious things happen, if we can come away from the experience stronger, better informed and determined to improve things, it has served a wonderful purpose.
    Thank you for sharing. You’ve opened many people’s eyes to the welfare of our beautiful, poor koalas and perhaps now, things will begin to chnage for the better.
    Kind regards, Cathy

  • Kim Davis

    Thank you for telling this story – sad indeed – but one needing to be told. I used the qr code to donate and will share the link on my Facebook page as well…hopefully your story will raise more awareness and money to help the koalas.

  • Susannah (Friends of the Koala)

    Jane, I was so sorry to hear Frida couldn’t be saved. I wanted to thank you for doing something positive with your grief and thank those of your friends who have very kindly donated to our group, Friends of the Koala. We are 100% volunteer run so every dollar goes directly to care for these beautiful animals.
    I hope a healthy koala finds it’s way to your property some day soon.

    • Jane Davenport

      Hi Susannah, I know you will put every dollar to great use for our furry friends!

  • Linda

    Dear sweet Jane, I’m so sorry to hear that Frida did not make it. I just watched a program about koalas and their struggles last night, then woke up to read your email this morning. It is very sad what is happening with the koalas as they adapt to a shrinking habitat, but it seems many people are working together to help them (like you!). Bless your kind soul for helping her.

  • Andrea E.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story. Her fate made me cry too. Thank you for your passion and dedication to making a difference for these precious creatures.

  • Karen Hasler

    Jane, not only are you an artist on canvas, but an artist with words. My heart is aching and I am sorry about Frida. I imagine Frida will appear in some wonderful artwork and be smiling at us forever in some colorful and whimsical way. Just like Frida Kahlo.

  • Barbara Gilmartin

    I totally empathise with your great sadness as I’ve tried to help numerous wild and pet animals over the years. Some have gone on to have long and happy lives, others sadly have had to be euthanased. You did all that you could – you stopped Frida from dying a long and painful death. In my mind that’s a wonderful thing to do. I have made a small donation too as I want to show practical support. Thank you Jane for caring.

  • Denise

    Hi, I am so sorry about Frida. I had the pleasure of meeting and even holding a koala when I was in Aulstralia I the ’90’s. they are beautiful and sweet. I heard about this disease back then. It is sad to hear it is so bad. I also had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people who care like you do and even a rescue site where they cared for many native species. Much love to you for all you do.

  • Sally Downes

    I love this story! Here in the USA koalas are only seen as adorable stuffed animals. To have the privilege of one living in your space must be extraordinary. I love your art work and am not surprised that you were so taken by Frieda. Naming her makes her seem more real. I will be glad to donate via Paypal. And I agree with Rose – it would be lovely if you drew some koalas.
    Blessed be!

  • Rose Szabo

    Draw koalas Jane, draw them… Draw your dreams of them… Your drawings can be the posters to help people save them! Little Frieda did not choose just anyone’s tree!!!! She choose you because you are that special artist with a heart who can connect with just about anyone through your art!!!!!

  • Kat Lakie

    It’s sad alright but you have done a wonderful thing Jane, poor little darling would have suffered for ages if you hadn’t taken that action. It’s hard, but try to think of the positive side of this sadness. xx Big Hugs xx

  • Nancy Peevey

    Jane, I am a new fan of yours. I just ordered your video on whimsical faces. You have such a precious personality. Now reading about Frida touches me deeply. I can relate to your heart for her. It seems as though she was tired when she finally reached the cage. She was tired and didn’t feel good. I’d like to think that we will see her and all of the other beloved creatures in Heaven one day. Bless you for being you! I’m so grateful to know you.

    • Jane Davenport

      She wasn’t well. A healthy koala would never sit so low in the trees… but she must have been exhausted. It was so sad, but as you said, she is in koala heaven now!

  • Kathie Vezzani

    Lovely Jane, when I visited your beautiful country over 30 years ago, they were saying even then how these creatures were losing their habitats and not reproducing. I felt then, as I do now when reading your story, how sad it would be if the koalas became extinct. I was thrilled when you bought your new property and had little visitors and am even more thrilled that you are going to do your part in saving these beautiful bears. I’m so sorry about Frida.

    • Jane Davenport

      As a species we are relentless in our pursuit of ‘progress’ at all costs it seems. But there are amazing people helping the koalas, who are invested in their preservation. They are my heroes!

  • Katie O'Sullivan

    I’m so sorry to hear about Frieda Koalho – she made her way to you for a special reason – and I’m glad she got to spend her last few days here with someone as awesome as you. I am joining in to help the little fellas too – in honor of Frieda ( one of my favorite artist too )

  • Joanne Martinson

    You are such a lovely soul Jane, and you have shed light on a subject I knew nothing about! Thank you for opening my eyes, and letting me help from a distance. I hope your saddness lifts fast and you can fit some of the experience into your art.
    Hugs my friend,

  • samantha

    Oh Jane, you are truly heaven sent, my heart cries for you and the beautiful Frida. I may live across the world, and these stories are all to common not just for the Koalas but also for the flying foxes. I am very proud of you, as many of us just close our eyes and walk away… you just did the opposite…you are my hero, thank you Jane for being in her and the other Koala’s lives and mine.

    • Jane Davenport

      It’s hard Samantha. Next time I see a koala that isn’t well, I will be tempted to leave it, but I can’t stand the reality that it would die in terrible pain and the risk it could spread disease to an otherwise healthy koala. They seem t be a mythical beast at present. I need to find out more, much more about the research efforts and what their specific needs are.

  • Daniela Giles

    Oh Jane…tears well reading your story and your grief!!! I am sure you will be so dedicated to this new cause, as you are with everything you do. You are such a caring person!

  • Edie

    You embiggen my life in so many ways. Lighting a candle and sending a wee donation in honor and memory of Frieda.


pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] I think Jane Davenport had the koala she rescued in mind for prompt one, here is her story on that: click me.) I am not sure, but here is MY interpretation on the […]

  • […] ‘Frida Koahlo’ was a lovely little koala bear that visited my garden. If you followed her story you will know that it did not have a happy ending for her. But I feel that her story can have a big impact on other precious koalas. […]

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