Hello Koala Lovers,
I walk past this poster every day at HQ in Brisbane and today I want to thank Olivia for everything she did for me, the AKF, for the Koala, for the environment and of course for her commitment to wellness for people with cancer. I was so sad to hear of her passing.
I met Olivia at her home in the early 90’s and she was the star of a Community Service Announcement for our Koala phone line in the United States 1-800 MY KOALA which no longer operates but was so instrumental in our early history to make people aware of our work.
The footage was also used for one of our first “gumleaf campaigns” here in Australia.
When I look back at photos of that time, I remember all of us being so young,so eager and so dedicated to changing the world for the better. I rang my friend and colleague from San Diego Zoo, Georgeanne Irvine this morning. Georgeanne taught me a lot about public relations and she was head of the Zoo’s PR at that time. Today we both giggled and cried about the day of visiting Oliva with Pulyara, the gorgeous Koala in that image.
He was a star Koala too; he was used to cameras and I am pretty sure had been on the Johnny Carson Show. He also knew that being a poster child for wild Koalas was part of his destiny and I remember him fondly. He would snooze during filming, as Koalas do, but he perked up when he met Olivia and she was, as always the beautiful woman we have all come to know and love. Her love of animals was palpable.
I will put a plaque on the biggest eucalyptus tree I can find at Quinlans to honour her passing and I will always remember her kindness to me over the years.
Vale Olivia and like one TV presenter said this morning, she and Judith Durham, the lead singer of the Seekers who passed this week too, will be singing with the angels.