Mother of all jobs for Featherdale keeper

Proud ‘‘mum’’: Animal keeper Chad Staples found joy in becoming  ‘‘mum’’  to eight-month-old koala, Archer. Picture: Gary Warrick

Proud ‘‘mum’’: Animal keeper Chad Staples found joy in becoming ‘‘mum’’ to eight-month-old koala, Archer. Picture: Gary Warrick

Archer the koala joey has taken  nearly all the attention of Featherdale Wildlife Park keeper Chad Staples since he became his full-time carer.

Mr Staples, who has raised the eight-month-old koala since birth, said the work was very rewarding.

‘‘It’s a hell of a lot of work,’’ Mr Staples said.

‘‘He gets the lion’s share of attention.’’

Mr Staples already looks after almost 2000 animals at the park, but he took on the role of Archer’s carer after  the young marsupial wasn’t spending enough time in his mother’s pouch.

‘‘It was a hard decision to intervene,’’ he said.

‘‘We were closely monitoring the situation all through the night ... he wasn’t spending the time in the pouch that he needed.

‘‘If it was summer it would have been a different story.’’

As part of  caring for the cuddly youngster, Mr Staples gives him eucalyptus leaves, has introduced him to a different milk and keeps him warm by using an artificial pouch.

Despite the constant care and attention  given to Archer while  he balances looking after all the other animals, Mr Staples said ‘‘becoming mum’’  had given him joy.

‘‘[Archer’s] taking it all really well,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m really happy.’’

SCHOOL HOLIDAY GUIDE

Blacktown Arts Centre

Kids can experiment with drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, acting and music at the school holiday workshops. For ages 5-17.

Details: 78 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown, 9839 6558, www.artscentre.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Blacktown Leisure Centre

Four-day intensive holiday swimming program for preschool and school-aged children.

Details: Acceler8, June 30-July 4 and July 2-7, corner Stanhope Parkway and Sentry Drive, Stanhope Gardens, 9421 2600, www.blsc.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Blacktown Sportspark

■ June 30, July 1, 2, 7, 8, 9: The International Goalkeeper's Academy offers day, morning and afternoon camps for goalkeepers of all skill levels. 9am-1pm daily, 1pm-4pm daily, 9am-4pm daily, all day camp, or live-in camp.

Details: Eastern Road, Rooty Hill. Bookings: Sue, 0402 390 705 or visit internationalgoalkeepers.com.

Dennis Johnson Branch Library

■ July 2, 4, 9, 11: Winter stories and craft from around the world. 10.30am-11.30am. Free. Ages 3-8.

■ July 10: Hands-on stars and planets workshop. 2.30pm-3.30pm. Ages 9-12. Free but book.

Details: Corner Stanhope Parkway and Sentry Drive, Stanhope Gardens, www.libraries.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Doonside Festival

■ July 12: Amusement rides, entertainment, stalls. 9am-3pm.

Details: Corner Cross Street and Hillend Road, Doonside, 9839 6000, www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Emerton Leisure Centre

■ August 1-2, 8-9: Family Fish In. 5pm-6pm, 6.10pm-7.10pm, 7.20pm-8.20pm. Book. Cost: $11 a session (adults), $5.50 (under 15).

Details: 35 Jersey Road, Emerton, 9628 7016, www.elc.blacktown.nsw.gov.au.

Jenolan Caves

Discover the underground at the world's most magnificent cave system. Explore a spectacular show cave, go on an adventure or special children's or night tour.

Details: Jenolan Road, Jenolan, jenolancaves.org.au.

Nana's Teddies & Toys

With 15,000 teddy bears and plush animals at Australia's largest and most-awarded specialist teddy bear haven, you're bound to meet the furry friend that's just right for you.

Details: Kidman Street, Blaxland, teddys.com.au.

Norman Lindsay Gallery

■ July 2: Make your favourite Magic Pudding character out of clay; and

■ July 3: Transform your favourite character from a Lindsay drawing to your own relief print.

Both workshops for children aged 5-12. Cost: $25 for one, $40 for two.

Details: Norman Lindsay Avenue, Faulconbridge, normanlindsay.com.au. Bookings: info@normanlindsay.com.au.

NSW Sport and Recreation

Sport and Recreation school holiday camp packages include all activities, accommodation, meals and 24-hour supervision. Supervised transport is also available to and from most camps. There are 11 sites across NSW. Many camps are day-only. Others provide the full camp experience including high ropes, canoeing, rock-climbing and sing-alongs around the campfire at night.

Details: June 28-July 11 for ages 7 to 16, dsr.nsw.gov.au/kidscamps, 131302.

Powerhouse Discovery Centre Castle Hill

■July 1-4, July 8-11: Make a paper bird puppet. 10am-4pm. Suitable for ages 3 and up. Cost: $2.

■July 1-4, July 8-11: Make a mini constellation viewer out of templates and a cardboard tube to take home. 10am-4pm. For ages 3 and up. Cost: $2.

■July 2 and 10: The charismagic Jonas Jost is back with his bag of magic tricks. All ages. 11am. Free with general admission.

■July 11: Learn about tornadoes, clouds and flying objects with the Fizzics Education show. All ages. 11am. Free with general admission.

Details: 172 Showground Road, Castle Hill, 97621300.

Rouse Hill Town Centre

School holiday activities include: biscuit and frozen yoghurt decorating, soccer craft, guacamole-making, record your own version of Let It Go (the smash hit from Disney movie Frozen), enter a FIFA interactive gaming competition (prizes: Xbox Wii and a copy of the 2014 FIFA World Cup video game), go on a rollercoaster or giant slide in the Market Square, a jumping castle in the Town Square, ride through the centre on the Rouseabout Train.

Details: White Hart Drive, Rouse Hill, rhtc.com.au, 94212300.

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