Roo-markable day: Mum and joey defy odds

BACK HOME: Margaret Howley releases Australia at Morisset Hospital as friend and helper Tink Peach looks on.  Picture: David Stewart
BACK HOME: Margaret Howley releases Australia at Morisset Hospital as friend and helper Tink Peach looks on. Picture: David Stewart
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Margaret and helpers lift Australia from her car onto the grounds of Morisset Hospital. The roo was transported in her favourite  hessian bag.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Margaret and helpers lift Australia from her car onto the grounds of Morisset Hospital. The roo was transported in her favourite hessian bag.

PACKAGE: Margaret is all smiles as she peeks into the bag to see Australia waking up prior to her release.  Pictures: David Stewart

PACKAGE: Margaret is all smiles as she peeks into the bag to see Australia waking up prior to her release. Pictures: David Stewart

SHE’S HOME: Australia stops to take one last look at Margaret.

SHE’S HOME: Australia stops to take one last look at Margaret.

PASSENGER: Margaret checks on the health of Aussie, Australia’s joey.

PASSENGER: Margaret checks on the health of Aussie, Australia’s joey.

SHE’S grown accostomed to stumbling and falling, but this is one young mum who doesn’t give up.

Meet Australia, the eastern grey kangaroo who was found in the Morisset Hospital grounds on Australia Day, close to death and stumbling from the effects of cattle tick fever.

She was stumbling again on Wednesday, albeit briefly, when she was released back into the wild at Morisset.

But this time, the stumbles were caused only by the temporary effects of a sedative used to calm her for the car journey from the Marmong Point home of Native Animal Trust Fund carer Margaret Howley.

‘‘This has been a miracle,’’ Mrs Howley said as she watched Australia hop to freedom.

‘‘It just wasn’t expected to happen, but I’m so stoked that it has.’’

When she took Australia into her care in January, the kangaroo’s face and belly were badly swollen and both she and her joey, which was newborn and ‘‘about the size of a jelly bean’’, were in trouble.

To further complicate matters, Australia was discovered to have a badly broken arm.

But although a vet determined that the arm needed surgical intervention, an operation was out of the question because of Australia’s poor health.

Mrs Howley said it wasn’t looking good.

‘‘So I made a splint for her arm using beer [stubby] holder foam and paddle-pop sticks,’’ she said.

But then, after weeks of providing painstaking care, Mrs Howley was caught off guard when Australia escaped the confines of her makeshift roo enclosure.

Mrs Howley was devastated.

She was convinced that she had seen the last of the roo and her joey. And she was saddened that she would never know the pair’s fate.

‘‘But the next morning there was a knock on the door and a woman said ‘Your roo is across the road, and standing right next to that woman’,’’ Mrs Howley said.

‘‘I was amazed. I could not believe that she’d come back. It was just a miracle.’’