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Australian Zoo Hospital

The Wildlife Warriors new Animal Hospital at Australia Zoo, Beerwah, Queensland

Photo shows from left to right: Renderer Hardy Dubrau, Frank Thomas from Strawtec, Terry Irwin – Owner of Australia Zoo, Gail Gipps – Australian Wildlife Hospital Manager, construction workers Kai Aufrecht & Jan Hoelle.

A new “state of the art” Wildlife Warriors Animal Hospital has been built at Australia Zoo, Beerwah – Sunshine Coast Hinterland – Queensland.

Measuring about 1300 square metres the hospital is one of the largest strawbale buildings in the world.

It has been designed to help sick and injured wildlife – and being an eco-friendly construction – the environment too.

Construction materials and services include (external) strawbale walls, (internal) rammed earth walls, flooring made from recycled materials, water recycling, solar power, natural paints and finishes and much more.

We were responsible to build and render the strawbale walls. Because of the purpose of the building and its resulting high traffic from staff and public it was decided to render the walls with three coats of lime render (made with high quality slaked lime putty) both sides. This will provide highest strenghts and durability.

Design by Andrew Webb from WD Architects

The land for the veterinary hospital has been donated by Australia Zoo. The new hospital replaces a much smaller and comparibly basic facility that was housed in an old Avocado packing shed. The original hospital was initiated by (the late) Steve Irwin in 2004 in memory of his mother Lyn Irwin who was a pioneer of wildlife care in Queensland. The new hospital was officially opened in November 2008 and is treating injured wildlife while we speak.

A dream realised, the late Steve Irwin welcomes you to the Animal Hospital at Australia Zoo.

Driveway to the animal hospital.

Come in.

Sculpted Hand.

Bindi & Bob Irvin.

From the back.

Ceilings in the foyer have been lined with Solomit strawpanels.

More Lizard doorhandles & rammed earth walls framing viewing glass into treatment rooms.

Another view of the Solomit panels.

Comfortable holding cages in entrance/triage area.

Looking in.

Lime rendered strawbale wall in reception/office area.

Windows and French doors in strawbale walls, smooth!

And again, smoothly rendered and elegantly curved openings in SB walls – photographed from the other side of the staff room.

Animal themed glass plates decorate the reception counter.

The obligatory “Truth Window”.

Great office, I’m jealous.

Small windows in office.

Quotes with very relevant, personal and caring messages have been inscripted on many of the large viewing windows throughout the hospital.

Bindi, the very busy daughter of Steve and Terry Irvin, took the time to pose for a photo with us so we could show it to our boys who are big fans of Bindi’s Jungle TV show. Still have to take Marley & Dylan,Frank’s boys, now 8 and 6 years old) for this long overdue visit to the animal hospital & Zoo.

Please follow below links if you like to read more about this wonderful project:
Australia Zoo
Wildlife Warriors
Architect Andrew Webb

Totally Wild

News source: The Road Ahead
February 2009
By Jim Mathers

A SIGNIFICANT facility in south-east Queensland is helping to save sick and injured native wildlife.

Queensland is now home to what is claimed to be the world’s largest wildlife hospital: the Australian Wildlife Hospital (AWH), at Beerwah, north of Brisbane.

The new hospital, a $5 million project officially opened late last year and a major focus of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, could treat up to 10,000 animals a year.

The 1300 square metre facility has replaced the original hospital building, which started in an avocado packing shed on the same site. The shed still remains part of the complex.

The hospital treated more than 6000 animals on a “no fee” basis during 2008. Staffing is set to include eight vets, 14 vet nurses, three administrative people and more than 90 volunteers. The aim is to treat sick, injured or orphaned wildlife and, once healthy, to rehabilitate them for release back into the wild.

The AWH also partners with more than 300 volunteer wildlife carers, who help rehabilitate thousands of animals.

General Manager Gail Gipp has been working with injured wildlife in one capacity or another for more than 30 years. Gail established the original AWH in 2004 with senior veterinary surgeon Dr Jon Hanger.

According to Gail, in its busier periods, the hospital has admitted more than 60 native animals in one day.

More than two-thirds of wildlife rescues are the result of injuries sustained by animals struck by motor vehicles or attacked by domestic pets. The rehabilitation success rate is quite high in these circumstances, especially for koalas. Koalas also have a high “admittance” rate due to such chronic diseases as chlamydiosis, which can cause blindness and kidney failure among other things.

A major AWH focus for 2009 will be advancing research into koala disease in association with the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology.

The hospital is equipped with all manner of medical devices that you would see in “traditional” hospitals, including a cat scanner, x-ray machines and humidicribs. There are dedicated wards for certain species, an infectious diseases ward and operating theatres. Major enclosures have been built outside the hospital in which animals can complete their rehabilitation.

A strict process is followed, in accordance with government regulations, in terms of rehabilitating and releasing recovered animals back into the wild.

Environmental elements of the building’s design include use of natural, low-embodied energy, renewable or recyclable materials. This includes straw bale and rammed earth walls, and low-toxicity cabinet materials, ceiling linings, floor finishes and paints.

The facility also has a conference room which can seat up to 100 people, with catering available.

Members of the public can tour the AWH (it takes about 1.5 hours) at a cost of $50 for adults and $35 for children, or $35/$20 if you visit Australia Zoo on the same day. Family rates apply.

The hospital’s operating costs are underwritten by Australia Zoo, its major sponsor.