Koalas, Christmas, and Cockatoos in Canberra

At last, something to smile about in 2020!

Recently a family living in the Adelaide Hills had an unexpected visitor to their Christmas tree. There are many trees in the area where they live, and seeing koalas in the trees is not uncommon. However, a curious koala had made it’s way into Amanda McCormick’s house

and climbed up the Christmas tree! The story went viral when her daughter posted these photos on FB. The koala was gently removed, (the Wildlife Rescue Team thinking this was a hoax at first) and the koala was taken back to her natural habitat. Fortunately she had not managed to eat decorations or green plastic leaves!

Amanda McCormick said, ”After a bad year, it was nice to have that

2020 has been a year like no other. A year of changing our routines and habits, feeling a degree of fear and anxiety as the pandemic spread, and spending more time at home than ever before.

Looking back over my photos of the year, I feel as if we have lived three years in one year! Was it really only in January that we did a trip to Melbourne Botanic gardens? Wasn’t that a life time ago?

Botanical Gardens Melbourne.
Bottle trees in the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne
Botanical Gardens Melbourne in January… before long we would be avoiding people and crowds….who knew?

Lockdown began in Canberra in March and we realised it was time to cancel our long planned trip to the UK in May. The light slowly dawned on us all that travel to another country was definitely not going to happen any time in the near future, and travel to other states within Australia became increasingly difficult too.

By August and September, when the state of Victoria had the worst number of Covid cases in Australia and therefore the hardest lockdown, travel to another suburb within Melbourne was banned for three months. During this time, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, our daughter, living in Melbourne, gave birth to a baby boy.

Despite all the hurdles of tight hospital rules and general anxiety in the community, this bonny baby was born in September and he smiles all the time….the best of 2020.

relaxing under the trees in November

During this Lockdown year, most Australians have been able to go for walks, around suburbs and within slightly wider boundaries.

As good luck would have it , the La Nina had begun, bringing plenty of rain to Australia.

Eastern Rosella
Crimson Rosella

Now there is less chance of drought and bushfires in summer…not to mention beautiful healthy green growth, food for all the birds and animals around Canberra.

Commonwealth Park in April
The kangaroos in Commonwealth Park are having a slow start on this chilly April morning.
Museum of Sydney has an exhibition about The Griffins called Paradise on Earth, until April 18th 2021

If the Chicagoan architects and planners of this city, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony could see Canberra now (well, most parts of it anyway) …..so much greenery, bushland and space, at a time when it is most needed. Many thanks to them.

I have read that during this pandemic, dog ownership has become remarkably popular, in Australia and elsewhere. This is not surprising considering how many people have been working from home…dogs provide both companionship and a reason to exercise!

Our daughter bought a puppy, named Charlie, during this year, and he has been a great Covid year companion, and we look forward to his visits. He is very very cute!

He looks as if he auditioning for a Disney movie, and gets lots of attention from children.

Last summer I wrote about a gardener in our suburb, named Ken, who had begun to grow plants on the verge outside his home and garden.

Red Hot Pokers are the stars in summer.

This year, he has, with the permission of the local council, extended the area and he has planted, trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables. (the vegetables are for any passer-by to pick)

These pathways are well used by the local community, and every time we walked past there are a whole range of new plants to admire.

Ken and his wife are very proud of their gardens and always have time for a chat. The big sandstone rocks provide seating and shade, and companionship to passers-by. Best of all, the birds love the extra trees and plant food.

I think this casual interaction between neighbours gives us a sense of community, and belonging, I’m not sure anyone had the time for chatting before 2020!

Red Hot Pokers

Yesterday, as we walked through these gardens and down the hill to get the morning paper, we came across some busy cockatoos.

The ABC Science show recently had an interesting talk on Sulphur Crested Cockatoos..

They often fly in flocks as big as 50 -100, (the noise they make is deafening) but spend their time sleeping and eating in small five square kilometre areas, with tight networks, going from 5-20 birds who seem to be best mates….as seen here.

This cockatoo is helpfully dropping bark down to the others.

They could be collecting the bark to look for bugs to eat, and/or perhaps sharpening their beaks at the same time. (I’m open to suggestions). They are such intelligent birds they could be just keeping busy.

These Cockatoos are perhaps the older members of the group, relaxing and doing a bit of much needed preening.

I always love to catch a glimpse of birdlife in Canberra, and to look over at the Brindabella Mountains….may they keep that blue/green hue all summer long.

Many thanks for visiting my blog this year. During a year of so much solitude, I have enjoyed reading blogs and keeping in touch with every day living in other parts of the world.

May you have a peaceful, happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Desiderata was my mother’s favourite verse, and it is very apt for today, despite it being written in 1692!


”…with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful Strive to be happy

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved

25 Replies to “Koalas, Christmas, and Cockatoos in Canberra”

  1. I’m a bit taken with Ken’s community garden. The sandstone and aloes are rather striking. Lucky you to have such good rains – Canberra is certainly putting on a display.

  2. It was an absolute delight to read through this post and admire all the excellent photographs. Thank you for entertaining me so well.

  3. Happy Friday and thank you for such an uplifting start to my day. How does it get much better than these photos and stories? Love the Kaola, the birds always, the bottle tree, and Ken’s garden. Great way to sum up a year that included a new grandbaby and a new grandpup. Life is good, and may you have a Merry Christmas.

  4. I’m with Susan! An utterly beautiful post that actually brought tears to my eyes. Despite the sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world as your post so brilliantly illustrated. Love, love, love the koala in the Christmas tree, the bottle trees, your neighbor’s garden, the cockatoos, your daughter’s dog, the kangaroos. The photographs were one delight after another, and the accompanying text was perfect. I’m convinced that babies born during this time are going to grow up to be very special people.

    1. I agree Laurie…. babies born this year are special, and our little baby has brought great joy. Many thanks for your comments and for linking me in your post.

  5. Very grateful to be reminded of rain and green (we had another terrible fire yesterday – no lives lost – but five thousand people homeless and needing to start their lives again)

    May Christmas be peaceful and happy for your family

  6. What a cute koala story, Gerrie. It really made me smile. Charlie is absolutely adorable. It’s no wonder that you look forward to his visits. Ken’s vegetable garden sounds like such a great idea and so neighbourly of him and his wife to share with the community. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring some relief for all of us from this pesky virus. Really enjoy your posts.

    1. Thanks Sylvia, I thought the koala was quite cute. Yes, this pesky virus…there has been a number of cases in the Sydney area just recently, enough to spoil Christmas for a lot of people.
      Have a lovely Christmas, and look forward to some changes in 2021..we hope!

  7. What a lovely post. That koala story was amazing, thank goodness it was rescued! I loved seeing the Botanical gardens again, I visited most days when we lived there. Oh, Charlie is sooo cute and Ken an utter inspiration! Those cockatoos are fascinating, you can almost hear them thinking. All the best best for Christmas and here’s to a better 2021.xxx

    1. Thanks Dina, I thought the whole koala story was quite amazing too, I’m surprised the tree didn’t topple over! The Melbourne Botanical gardens are lovely and huge!
      Best wishes for Christmas, and as you say, a better new year.

  8. Thank you for that, just what I needed to lift my spirits and remind me of better times in Australia. I remember only too well the trauma of last year and the bushfires, I sincerely hope there is no repeat of that, or anything approaching it, but the rain sounds good.
    A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both.

    1. Thanks Jessica, I’m glad the post could bring back some good memories. The rain has really helped the animals and birds, we have a bumper crop of baby koalas at our nearest national park, and kangaroo Island is improving too. However, still plenty to be done in the communities affected. The pandemic has slowed some progress.
      I hope you both have a very peaceful and healthy Christmas…and keep warm in your lovely cottage.

    1. We love beautiful New Zealand, we are really hoping that visiting will be permitted soon. (once the Sydney spike comes down)

  9. What a satisfying post. It is amazing to look back on the year and think about what naive babies we were in January and February, isn’t it? A leisurely stroll around the botanical gardens seems like something from a previous life. Your botanical gardens are so–exotic. I love how the bottle trees slowly crack open anything trying to hold them back. Growth, inexorable. I’ll take it as a good sign for the future. And the topiary with the (asparagus?) ferns–lovely beasties. As for Charlie, the new baby, Ken, the rains, and the cockatoos, I’d say you’ve had some wonderfully bright lights in this year of too much grim and gloom. Cheers to the new year, Gerrie!

    1. Thanks Brenda. The bottle trees are really amazing, they could survive anything I’m sure. It was a good exercise for me to sit down and record the positives of the year, so easy to dwell on the negatives. Happy New Year to you and your family, and may the new year bring many new weaving and gardening projects and activities, as well as time with family, and good health!

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