There aren't many schools with koalas in the playground, but the pupils at Kuyper Christian School at Kurrajong are privileged to have this iconic species visit on a regular basis.
According to the school principal, koalas have even been known to casually shimmy down a tree and wander past the students as they seek out their next feed tree at the school, which is located near bush on Redbank Road.
Female koala Gwendoline has been a regular in and around the school grounds for some time. But when she contracted chlamydia for the second time this year - after a first bout of the potentially-deadly disease in 2017 - WIRES volunteers who rescued her were concerned she would not survive.
Further, an assessment with veterinarian Dr Luke Smith at Vineyard Veterinary Hospital revealed Gwendoline was not only suffering from chlamydia but also had a large ovarian cyst.
An antibiotics course cured the chlamydia and Dr Smith also successfully managed to reduce the cyst. Throughout her recovery, Gwendoline remained in the care of Hawkesbury WIRES volunteer John [surname withheld], and he was impressed with her will to live.
"She's a very feisty koala and I believe her determined attitude helped her overcome the odds," said John. "It's always a wonderful experience to be able to restore their health and then release them back into their natural habitat."
Much to the delight of the Kuyper students, Gwendoline was released last Thursday (August 12) on the edge of the school grounds where she was found - but in true Gwendoline style she declined the chosen tree and headed off into the grounds to choose her own tree.
WIRES spokesperson John Grant said it was a credit to the students and the school that these shy animals were successfully cohabitating in such close proximity to humans.
"Thanks to the teachers and students who know not to approach or disturb them, these koalas feel safe and secure in their environment and so haven't moved on to another area," said Mr Grant.
"It is a terrific example of what can be achieved when we learn to live together with our unique native wildlife."