Student inspires a fire-y tribute

A Port Macquarie student has inspired a new figure in the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail.

20 August 2020
A young girl stands beside a metre-high koala sculpture
Image: Tacking Point Public School student Jessica Miles with Frankie the Firefighter koala statue. Photo: Lindsay Moller

Students can make a real difference in the world.

That’s what 12-year-old Jessica Miles has learned, knowing she played a part in the creation of the newest addition to Port Macquarie’s award-winning Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail – Frankie Firefighter.

In January as bushfires came within a kilometre of her home, Jessica found herself thinking about the firefighters working to protect their community.

Over a family dinner, the Tacking Point Public School student raised the idea of building a sculpture to honour the men and women on the bushfire frontline and was greeted with support.

With an artwork from the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail on their doorstep, Jessica’s mother, Michelle, suggested she contact the organisers of the trail with her idea.

In a message to Hello Koalas via a Facebook post, Jessica wrote: “I've recently thought of an idea as Australia has been facing terror lately … The firefighters have risked their life and their time to protect us.

“In recognition of their bravery, I wanted to share an idea I had about making a koala in honour of the firefighters and to spread hope to Australia.”

This week Jessica was guest of honour when Frankie Firefighter – complete with the Rural Fire Service badge and fireman’s jacket she had suggested – was finally unveiled.

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