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Welcome to
The Koala History and Sustainability Research Cluster

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. 

- George Santayana 1863-1952

The Koala History and Sustainability Research Cluster (KHSRC) is the brainchild of a group of interdisciplinary researchers who are concerned with the long-term survival of the Koala in the wild.

In most parts of its range, stretching inland and down from the Atherton Tableland in Northern Queensland to islands off the coast of Victoria and South Australia, the Koala is considered a threatened species due to habitat destruction and deforestation as a result of logging and urban growth, past hunting for its fur, diseases such as Chlamydia, collision with vehicles, attacks by dogs, fires and now changing climatic conditions.

The objectives of the KHSRC team are centered on the belief that if we want to improve the long-term outlook for the koala, we need to learn from past mistakes that were made in respect to the species’s management. In order to learn from the past, we must gather historical evidence, examine it closely and suggest improvements.


About Us

The Koala History and Sustainability Research Cluster (KHSRC) is a collaborative group of researchers from various disciplines including anthropology, history, zoology, ecology, tourism, political science, policy and education who are concerned with the long-term sustainability of wild populations of koalas in Australia.

The KHSRC team are leading experts in their respective fields and bring innovative and creative ideas to their research. The team includes: 

Dr Rolf Schlagloth (CQ University)*

Prof, Dr Fred Cahir (Federation University)*

Prof, Dr Ian Clark (Federation University)*

Dr Gabrielle McGinnis (University of Newcastle and BrodiMapi LLC)*

Dr Flavia Santamaria (CQ University)*

Dr Timothy Cadman (Griffith University)

Dr Alexandra McEwan (CQ University)

A/Prof, Dr Danielle Clode (Flinders University)

Dr Michael Danahar (CQ University)

* denotes founding members of the KHSRC

We have produced several publications on koala related topics and are currently working on a further two.

The KHSRC team would like to use this platform to engage with a worldwide audience concerning the need for historical koala research and to share the progress we are making with that endeavour.

We also invite people to share their experiences and records and suggest new topics for us to explore. If you have, or know of, some funding sources to support our projects, please feel free to contact us and let us know.

We are convinced that there are many stakeholders and researchers out there who share our interests and who will be able to add valuable information and perspectives – please contact the KHSRC. 

Recent News

Koalas Creating a Buzz in Media Outlets Nationwide

Koala on Tree
koalas to NZ SBS news.png

Scientists find burnt, starving koalas weeks after the bushfires

16 March, 2020

The Conversation


Wildlife experts and koala conservation organisations met political leaders in Canberra this week

27 February, 2020

ABC News

Push to Export Koalas to New Zealand in Effort to Save Iconic Marsupial

13 January, 2020

SBS News

Koalas are the Face of Australian Tourism. What Now After the Fires?

6 January, 2020

The Conversation

Suggested Reading

Download our publications below for more Information about our research.

Authors in bold below are members of the KHSRC.

The Gathering of the Koalas at Meredithby Rolf Schlagloth, Flavia Santamaria et al.
Danaher, M., Shanks, B., Jones, B.T., Schlagloth, R. (2023) How did they get there? A history of koalas on Queensland’s islands, Australian Zoologist, DOI: 
Schlagloth, R.; Morgan, E.A.; Cadman, T.; Santamaria, F.; McGinnis, G.; Thomson, H.; Kerlin, D.H.; Maraseni, T.N.; Cahir, F.; Clark, I.D.; Clode, D. & McEwan, A. (2022) Applying landscape-level principles to koala management in Australia: a comparative analysis, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2022.2124154
Schlagloth, R., Golding, B., Kentish, B., McGinnis, G., Clark, I., Cadman, T., Cahir, F., & Santamaria, F. (2022) Koalas - Agents for Change: A case study from regional Victoria, Journal of Sustainability Education, 26, 1-16.
Cahir, F., Schlagloth, R. & Clark, I. (2021) The Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in Nineteenth-Century Queensland (Australia): A Reconsideration of the Archival Record, Anthrozoös, 1-15, DOI:  10.1080/08927936.2021.1963544
Clark, I., Schlagloth, R., Cahir, F. & McGinnis, G. (2020). "Kurrburra (Koala) the Boonwurrung Wirrirrap and Bard (1797-1849) – a man of high degree," Australian Journal of Biography and History, ANU Press, (4) 73-91. 
Cahir, F., Schlagloth, R. & Clark, I. (2020). "The Historic Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in New South Wales, Australia: An Exploration of the Archival Record," ab-Original, 3(2), 172-191. 
Schlagloth, R., Cahir, F. & Clark, I. (2018), "The Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in Nineteenth-century Victoria (Australia): A Reconsideration of the Archival Record," Anthrozoös, 31 (4), 433-441, DOI: 10.1080/08927936.2018.1482115
Schlagloth, R., Santamaria, F., Golding, B. & Thomson, H. (2018), "Why is it important to use flagship species in community education? The Koala as a case study," Animal Studies Journal. 7(1), 127-148.
Santamaria, F. & Schlagloth, R. (2016), "The effect of Chlamydia on translocated Chlamydia-naïve koalas: a case study," Australian Zoologist, 38 (2), 192-202.
Wedrowicz, W., Wright, W., Schlagloth, R., Santamaria, F. & Cahir, F. (2017), "Landscape, koalas and people: A historical account of koala populations and their environment in South Gippsland," Australian Zoologist, 38 (4), 518-536. DOI:
Santamaria, F., Keateley, M. & Schlagloth, R. (2005), "Does size matter? Tree use by translocated koalas," The Victorian Naturalist, 122  (1), 4-13.

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Rolf: +61 0419-200768

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