Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Hepburn Wildlife Shelter Website is now updated and live!

The Hepburn Wildlife Shelter Website is now updated and live!

Reboot or go to for latest news, gallery photos and lots more.

Also now Hepburn Wildlife Shelter is a charity and if you wish you can become a member or donate to the cause from the website.

Its not too late to order Christmas Cards for this year - see the website or see below.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


Christmas Cards and Greetings Cards are now for sale on the Hepburn Wildlife Shelter website. and click on the button on the Home Page for more details.

Jon has illustrated two beautiful Christmas cards and all the animals have been cared for at the Shelter. All proceeds from card sales go directly to Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Latest Newsletter from Jon and Gayle

Dear supporters

It’s a long time overdue but we thought you would like to know how everybody’s been getting on at the shelter. Firstly we would like to send a huge thank you all for your very welcome support and supportive messages during the fires. Knowing that there were so many people out there thinking of the wildlife and supporting the work we do was overwhelming in the nicest way possible and very encouraging.

During the fires we took in kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, possums, 2 echidna, a Night Heron, a Brown Goshawk and a Swamp Harrier. Most of the animals had second and third degree burns to their hands and feet but the birds of prey were starving from loss of prey. Strangely enough the wombats had burns down their backs, which has puzzled us a bit but we suspect they are radiation burns from the extraordinary heat in the soils and tree roots burning underground. So initially we were mainly treating burns, which meant a lot of bandage changes and injections of antibiotics and pain relief. Many of our patients also needed rehydration and most were put on intravenous fluids. Any animal we suspected to have suffered smoke inhalation (which was most) we put in a tent with a vaporizer to keep up the humidity and open the airways.

The animals came to us from the Wildlife Victoria rescue crews who did a truly fantastic job, searching fire grounds for injured wildlife day after day for months on end. The rescue efforts continued on into July as so many wombats were suffering mange and emaciation, so most weekends we still had a wombat or two arrive at the shelter from the fire grounds. We had one as recently as two weeks ago. We had fires around Daylesford come very close to the shelter as well. Fortunately the wind conditions were in our favour and it was late summer so a bit of rain fell in the nick of time. The hardest thing for us was not having any volunteers able to get to the shelter because of roadblocks. The local community responded though and new faces just turned up on our doorstep to help. People came to take our growing pile of rubbish to the tip, drop of blankets and towels, transport injured animals from rescue grounds to the shelter or just to mop the floor or clean the dishes.

It’s been an exhausting start to the year and the number of animals coming into the shelter just doesn’t seem to diminish. The fires are over for now but the everyday trauma to wildlife goes on. We have nearly one hundred animals in care at the moment. Most are kangaroos that have been hit by cars or caught in fences, but now we have a reputation for treating adult and manged wombats, we find more are sent to the shelter

from other parts of the state and we are very busy trying to find more effective ways to treat them.

We have a fantastic crew of volunteers that come in most days and we can’t sing their praises enough.

Our local vet in Hepburn Springs, Emma Tomkin, has been a godsend and her veterinary support has been simply wonderful and very thorough. We feel we have been blessed for the people around the shelter, and us and for the help that has been given to keep up going and enabling us to keep helping the wildlife.

Recent donations have meant that we have been able to build more facilities to treat adult wombats. We have purchased a humidicrib for small intensive care patients and in preparation for the baby bird season in spring. Next fire season (be nice if there wasn’t one) it will be used for koalas with suspected smoke inhalation. We would like to build a unit that can take an adult wombat, as they are susceptible to ash inhalation. We have bought new heat pads and medical equipment and bandages. The vet, milk and feed bills have been enormous and we have been able to keep up with the demands only thanks to all of you. Wildlife Victoria has been very supportive with veterinary and lab costs and assisting with some more wombat facilities.

Exciting plans for the shelter are afoot and we are currently working towards building a trial wildlife hospital/ treatment centre here that will also be built as a fire bunker for all us animals. It’s a large project but looking probable as, with the assistance again of Wildlife Victoria, a grant has been secured to get the project going. Preparing the shelter to protect the animals during an extreme fire event is a current priority as

we are not far from the next fire season.

Other than yourselves and Wildlife Victoria, the only other external support for the shelter and fire affected wildlife came from the Department of Sustainability and Environment in the way of a $500 fire grant. Currently, the shelter costs about $2 000 a month to run, excluding new enclosures and infrastructure that seem to be a constantly growing requirement. We remain optimistic about the future of this shelter as we

strive to keep up with the ever-growing demand for our services.

Enough from us for now,

Warm regards

Gayle and Jon.

To make a donation please post to Hepburn Wildlife Shelter, P.O. Box 133 Daylesford, Vic 3460 or go

to our website at

Sunday, 22 November 2009

World change at the Shelter! - Rain! (photo is Parky in the rain!)

The world has changed around us overnight as we've had the most fantastic downpour. The unseasonable heat has been chased away by cool relief and the animals are all perky. The three baby wombats finally scraped themselves off the floor where they had lain stretched out for days trying to find an extra bit of coolness somewhere. They've been full of naughtiness and play since late last night, running and rolling and tackling until they've collapsed exhausted and content in their basket; except for little Pyrite who insists on pouch sharing with the kangaroo joeys. Little Morph is the smallest of the wombat joeys and he's still small enough to sit in the cup of two hands. Pyrite is about the size of half a house brick and Ruby the size (and shape) of a whole house brick.

We've had two roo rescues this morning; a young male who has been hit by a car and is currently paralysed in his back legs. We can't feel any breaks in the spine but that's no surity. His prognosis is not good but we'll give him some medications to bring down swelling and re assess in 48 hours. A trip to the vet for xrays is most likely.

The second roo is a young female who was found on some ones' bush block and shows no obvious sign of injury but is very underweight and very weak. She's lost a joey recently as her pouch is stretched and her teats are swollen with use.
We suspect she's been clipped by a car and has been doing it tough while she tries to recover from bruising and perhaps a bit of fracturing in her hip or pelvis.

In the photo here - Parky, the Long Billed Corella has just worked out how to open the injured cockatoo's cage; he lets the cockie out and puts himself in the cage!! Jon put an extra clip on the cage so now he's moved on to try to liberate a Magpie chick. Parky loves the rain and he spreads out his wings, fluffs up his feather, screams his head off and dances about under the rain drops. He knows how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


Dear Friends

The Hepburn Wildlife Shelter is in desperate need of a fire bunker to protect native animals from bushfires this summer. If a fire swept through the area this fire season, the 100+ animals (and possibly the two human carers) would perish.

Over the next few weeks, HWS volunteers will attempt to raise $10,000 to commence excavating work for the bunker. We have already raised $1,000, but we are still $9,000 short of our target.

To help raise funds for this important project, we are asking all of our friends, families and colleagues to donate 10 unwanted (but functional) household items to our $5 & Under Trash & Treasure Sale. We're seeking an assortment of quality items: toys, books, records, cds, ornaments, novelties, games, sports equipment, tools, old gifts - anything that can sold either individually or in bundles for under $5 (sorry - we cannot accept very large items such as furniture, electrical goods or clothing).

Each volunteer has been asked to invite 10 friends to donate 10 items each - with 10 volunteers involved and each item selling for a minimum of $1.00, we may just raise another $1,000.

It's this easy:
Step 1: Do a little spring cleaning & find 10 items that are in good nick, that still hold their value, that you no longer need. Get your friends, kids & neighbours involved - the more the better. Forward this email to every friend in your contact list.
Step 2: Place your unwanted items in a box & give us a call or email. We'll send a friendly volunteer around to collect them asap (goods collection: ph 0401 540 546).

Please act and help, before bushfires threaten our precious shelter again.

Jason Beks

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Thank you letter from 'Tahini' on behalf of all the animals at Hepburn Wildlife Shelter


I am Tahini, a 1.6 m, 50 kg emu and one of the longer-term residents of the Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.

I weighed just 400g and was a mere 15cm tall when I was taken to the shelter as an orphan. I shall probably be here for the duration of my life, which is about 20 years. I graze upon what grass is available during the drought but need special food once a day to maintain my strength. If my human carers are slow to feed me in the evening, I tell them so by tapping my beak on the high kitchen window, which I can reach easily.

I am "caretaker" of the animals here. Because I tower over them, I can keep my sharp eyes on their comings and goings. When I call, I sound like the beat of a native drum sending out messages. I notice how the current 75 residents of the shelter fare when they are treated for injuries or nurtured after being orphaned. The current rate of rehabilitation is fantastic. But it saddens me that so many wild animals and birds need intensive care from gunshot wounds, car accidents, poison, and becoming entangled in garbage or caught on fences. Sometimes it distresses me greatly - I hope I don't lose any feathers as a consequence!

The wombats here are the most mischievous residents and need to be kept in line. They dig a lot of holes and move around like bulldozers. The endangered phascogale ( a beautiful small carnivorous marsupial) is growing up and flourishing but he is still no bigger than my middle toe.

I am always amused by 'Puff'. Puff is a Chinese Silky Rooster who believes he is a kangaroo! Puff only associates with the "roos" and wallabies and refuses social contact with other chickens.

As "caretaker" I also chase away snakes, which my humans have on occasion witnessed.

On behalf of my human carers, Gayle Chappell and Jon Rowdon, and the animals at the shelter - be they furry, feathered or tiny creatures with no feathers or fur - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help in saving and caring for me and my fellow creatures. The cost of food, medicines, bandages, blankets and the many other things needed for our care and rehabilitation is enormous.

Your help both financial and 'in kind' is valued much more than I can express. I give you a booming call in appreciation.

Well, I need to make another stroll around the perimeter - an emu's work is never done!

Yours most gratefully


Emu-in-residence and "Caretaker"

Hit this link button here to go to the website... there is a good picture of me on the top line of photos! ( my friend from England took that last year - she came to stay for a few days)

Friday, 13 February 2009


We are happy to say that Hepburn Wildlife Shelter is ok at the moment... however,

all of us at the shelter are really busy with the rescue and care of the animals that are now being brought in from the fire ravaged areas. We are very grateful to everyone for their emails and offers of help that are pouring in to us and we will try to get answers to you all as soon as possible. In the meantime Jon and Gayle are asking everyone to go to the website of Wildlife Victoria (Jon is the President) and there is up to date information and a donation information page there which is giving all the news. Also there are a number of drop off places for donations of various things eg medical supplies, blankets, pillow cases etc.

Thank you so much from all at Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.

We will keep this blog up to date and let everyone know how we are doing from time to time so keep checking in here.

Be safe everyone, and as usual, please phone us on the 24/7 phone number if there is an Emergency. Thanks again. ( We ask you not to use this number for normal calls at this time please.)