The community’s beloved Koala Mural has finally been refurbished, repaired and is ready to be repainted after a traffic accident left a hole in it last year. The only thing that’s left to do? Pick a name!
What will we call the new furry friend that we will wave to as we drive or walk past it, standing proudly on the side of Bayliss road for years to come?
That’s a question that Councillor Jacob Heremaia, the person responsible for driving the Koala Mural repairs, says the community will soon get the chance to answer.
“Maybe we will have a mini-community election to see the most popular name,” Councillor Heremaia joked after I asked what he’d name the new mural.
To my surprise, he wasn’t kidding.
“Yes, we will hold a ‘Name the Koala’ competition,” he said.
There you have it, people, the name for the new Koala Mural is officially up for a public vote.
Park Ridge News would be remiss not to nominate a few names for voting, so peruse the list below of each of our PR News team members’ suggestions.
Bayli (after Bayliss Rd that the mural is on) suggested by our owner and manager Paul
Logi (Because it sounds like Logan but better) says Tracy our sales director.
Burbi’ (The Yugambeh/Bundjalung word for koala, pending approval of our local Indigenous leaders) suggested by our editor Scott.
Ernie (after local legend Ernie who passed away last year) from yours truly.
Blinky (after the TV character Blinky Bill) from our reporter Jamie.
Now that the formalities are over let’s hear what Councillor Heremaia had to say about the 40-year-old Koala Mural, mainly, why it was essential to repair it.
“It’s a bit of a community icon,” he said.
“It’s a walking area, there are pedestrians there all the time, and we needed to make it safe and to have a big hole there wasn’t safe.”
“So I secured the funding to rebuild and repair that section of the wall which had some pretty serious damage, but now we have to get back out there and repaint the mural.”
Councillor Heremaia says the mural will be repainted sometime this year, with everything about the design undecided except that it will have the same theme as the one that’s been there in the past.
“Heading down Bayliss road, there are two murals there, one of the left and one on the right, which is the non-damaged one – a mural of a koala, so we are trying to compliment that one,” he said.
“It will be a homage to the history of that mural there because Heritage Park and Park Ridge are growing and changing, but we want to respect our history still.”
Councillor Heremaia says that community art unites us.
“I think community art is important and helps bring us together because it’s something we can all believe in and back,” he said.
“It’s about acknowledging our history and making sure we keep the community spirit that has made our area special and unique.”
The announcement of the refurbishments broke in a Facebook post by Councillor Heremaia on December 29, saying he was excited to see the koala back and returning to give us a wave soon.
The post even attracted the attention of The Gold Coast Rotary Club of Koala Lovers’ attention, who gave their thumbs up, commenting; Fantastic Work!’
Although praised for resurrecting the beloved koala mural, Councillor Heremaia says that thanks belong to the taxpayers.
“It’s an interesting one because should taxpayer money be spent on murals of nice paintings in public spaces?” he said.
“But I do think it’s a really important thing for the community.”
So, what will it be? Bayli, Logi , Burbi, Ernie or Blinky?