BIG CUDDLE: Ipswich Koala Society vice president Merilyn Spletter has helped over 90 koalas.
BIG CUDDLE: Ipswich Koala Society vice president Merilyn Spletter has helped over 90 koalas. Meg Bolton

Koala carer wants everyone to be kind to animals

Name: Merilyn Spletter

Occupation: Vice president of Ipswich koala protection society (12 years)

Age: 71

Marital Status: Married

What do you enjoy most about working for IPKS? The rescue and the rehabilitation, it's therapeutic. When you're working with koalas all your worries go out of your head, you're concentrating on the sick and injured koalas.

Why did you decide to get involved with the organisation?

I got involved because my baby had finished high school. I didn't know anything about koalas when I started there and I'm still learning.

What's the best advice you've ever received? If you can't say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all.

Have you met anyone famous, who and when?

I met John Williamson. We went to a concert at his house, he's got this big shed out the back that he has personalised concerts. My cousin is Chris Choppy Close so I'm proud to be related to him.

What is your greatest accomplishment in life?

Meeting my husband, getting married and having my three beautiful children.

What is the one thing you would like to change in the world?

Kindness by people towards all animals.

Notwithstanding the number how old do you feel and why?

I feel about under 50 inside, I don't feel old at all, I think it's because you've got something to occupy your mind. A busy person is not as old as what you would be if you just sat here.

What is your favourite hobby or recreation, and why?

Gardening, reading and all sorts of craft. Sewing bags for the animals and blankets for the baskets.

What is your happiest childhood memory?

Moving up to Numinbah Valley with my family and chasing the cows and doing all the farm things.

What is your favourite place to visit in the district?

Jensen's Swamp, there's an environmental garden at Jensen's Swamp and you can nearly always see koalas in the wild there.

What would you do if you won the Lotto?

Build an outdoor cage for my koalas.

Who are the people you most admire?

My mother, I really admired her because Dad had Tuberculosis so she practically raised eight kids by herself. I also admire Ric Nattrass for being one of the major wildlife warriors.