THE well-known musical tale of the jolly swagman camped by his billabong wasn’t the only sound heard echoing through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens earlier this year.
Audiences of Big Monkey Theatre’s family show ‘Waltzing Matilda – the tale of the dancing sheep’ were also treated to the distinctive rattle of donation buckets as cast members sought donations at the end of each performance as part of their annual charity drive.
Traditionally provided to Save the Children, this year’s charity drive was also directed to assist animals affected by bushfires and drought conditions, decided in response to this summer’s devastating bushfire crisis and the impact on local wildlife.
Big Monkey Theatre’s cast and crew asked Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary’s Greg Irons to nominate a suitable charity that would ensure these donations would be used for the affected animal’s welfare.
And thus, Wildlife Victoria was selected as this year’s second charity of choice.
Big Monkey Theatre board member Les Winspear, who wrote and directed Waltzing Matilda – the tale of a dancing sheep said as the annual show was aimed at families and children in particular, it was appropriate to support a charity which in turn did so much to support children both here in Tasmania and globally.
“So, this year we had already collected $1,133.50, which Andrew ‘Cocky’ Casey presented to Save the Children’s Tasmanian state manager Lisa Cuatt at the end of February,” he said.
“However, as this year’s show focused on a fictitious drought in the Australian outback and the efforts of the animals to overcome this dilemma, the actual drought conditions and summer bushfires reinforced the show’s message about looking after our valuable natural assets like water.
“And, with our show’s heroes all being Australian animals, the plight of the actual wildlife in these fires couldn’t be ignored so we looked at ways in which we might be able to help.”
A cheque of more than $1,460 has now been posted to the Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal.
Caption: Cocky (Andrew Casey), left, and Bilby (Jane Hamilton-Foster) staging a posting of the cheque to Wildlife Victoria from the ‘Cooee Creek post box.’