Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

RAN Vessel Mirimar II (examination and patrol vessel) berth

Type
Recreation/community
Region
Brisbane City

708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket 4069

Opened in 1927, 'Lone Pine' was a popular tourist attraction for US service personnel on leave in Brisbane. Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited 'Lone Pine' while touring US bases in September 1943. The Royal Australian Navy used the sanctuary’s tourist boat Mirimar as an auxiliary patrol vessel.

History

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was opened in 1927. It was established in the Moggill District, on a largely undeveloped bushland peninsular formed by a U-bend in the Brisbane River. The dirt road leading to 'Lone Pine' was hilly and sometimes impassable in wet weather, thereby making car or bus trips to the koala sanctuary less desirable than arrival by boat. From 1934, 'Lone Pine' ran a tourist ferry Mirimar II from the Brisbane City wharves to a sanctuary’s jetty that was constructed along the Sherwood Reach of the River. A koala 'riding' the back of a German Shepard dog greeted tourists.

By the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, it had developed into Brisbane’s most popular privately owned tourist attraction and was recognised as a leader in koala research and conservation. The Mirimar II (82 tons) was requisitioned by the RAN twice during the war. From 4 September to 17 November 1939, she mounted two Vickers .303 heavy machine guns and she was used as an auxiliary examination vessel. She was returned to Lone Pine. On 26 May 1941, she was requisitioned again into the RAN on 19 August 1941. She was commissioned as a patrol vessel with four depth charge chutes added. The Commonwealth finally purchased Mirimar II from Lone Pine on 15 December 1942.

The arrival of US forces in Brisbane around Christmas 1941 boosted visitor numbers to 'Lone Pine'. With military vehicles such as jeeps and White scout cars that were designed for off-road use, American servicemen found the road to the koala sanctuary not to be a problem. With its koalas and other exotic Australian wildlife plus other attractions such as its kiosk and the Ye Olde Wishing Well, the sanctuary was a popular destination for American Servicemen and servicewomen on leave. 'Lone Pine' received world media coverage when US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited it during her visit to US troops in Brisbane on 13 September 1943.

Source/comments

BCC Heritage Unit citation