As part of National Volunteer Week, Kristy McBain MP extended her thanks to many ‘change-making’ volunteers across the federal electorate. One of these volunteers was Monica, a wombat carer from Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary in Gundaroo. She was presented with a National Volunteer Week Change Maker certificate by Ms McBain. 


“Thank you Monica from Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary in Gundaroo for everything you do to help conserve the Bare Nosed wombat,” Ms McBain said.


“Volunteers play a vital role in creating positive change in our communities and their dedication and selflessness to help others creates a better future for all.”


“Volunteering has the power to change the lives of both volunteers and those they help and I am very pleased to acknowledge volunteers in 

Eden-Monaro this week,” she said.


Ms McBain encourages the community to learn further about the Sleepy Burrows Sanctuary, describing their work as inspiring.


The Sanctuary explains that the beloved native wombat – one of Australia’s most iconic marsupials – is under serious threat from loss of habitat, mange (a deadly skin disease), motor vehicle accidents, and even deliberate animal cruelty. Sleepy Burrows’ mission is to save Australia’s wombats from these threats and many more.

“The sanctuary is home to a loveable bunch of sick, injured, illegal pet and orphaned wombats undergoing rehabilitation. The wombats – boasting names like Digger, Daphne and VB – are nursed to full health and retaught how to survive in the wild (prior to release).

No wombat is released without the necessary skills to survive in the bush,” the Sanctuary states. 


Some of the wombats at the sanctuary are babies, called joeys or pinkies. 


“It’s not unusual for a female wombat killed by a motor vehicle to have a joey in its pouch. If the joey is still alive, Sleepy Burrows begins the long process, usually 2-3 years, of nurturing and training the joey to survive on its own, with all the relevant bush skills necessary.”


Founder and operator of Sleepy Burrows Donna Stepan started Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary in 2004 and received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to animal welfare in June, 2017. Together with her team, including wombat carers like Moncia, she ensures wombats are properly cared for. Donna explains this work can sometimes stretch over 20 hours a day. 


A typical day at the wombat sanctuary involves feeding, medicating and nurturing up to 75 wombats, both young and old, as well as maintenance tasks and capital works at the sanctuary. Wombat carers are also called out regularly to collect injured and orphaned wombats.


The team also conducts public education campaigns and hosts educational visits to the sanctuary.