It’s widely known that Australian wildlife is dangerous. In actual fact, most native Australian animals spend more time plotting your demise than eating and procreating. I came upon this realisation as a child one dusty afternoon in the bush behind our house in Moranbah, Central Queensland. Some kids had spotted a koala sleeping in a tree and, as with all small country towns populated by bored children whose only excitement in the previous 12 months was when the takeaway shop had started stocking chicken salt, this news spread like wildfire. I went and looked at the critter with my friends and saw that it was only about 3 metres up a tree. Naturally, my friends all goaded me into climbing the aforementioned tree in order to get a closer look at this dozing ball of fur. “It’s a sleeping koala” they said. “It can’t hurt you!”
Before you could say “razor sharp claws” and “chlamydia”, I was grunting my way up the tree, eyes firmly fixed on the koala. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got up there but I quickly reached the large branch it was perched on. I shuffled closer and raised my hands in triumph as I looked in the direction of my mates. In hindsight, the whole raising of the arms thing was probably a bad idea because the koala instantly exploded into action and started growling. It then slowly turned and began making its way along the branch towards me, rumbling like a badly maintained motorbike. I started mewling in terror before losing my grip and promptly falling out of the tree. As I lay on the ground in tremendous pain I looked up and saw the koala staring down at me with malevolence in its eyes. Then it urinated, chuffed in my direction and climbed higher. My friends were nowhere to be seen.
That's how the legend of the Flesh-Eating Koala evolved at Moranbah East State School