George And Koala

Media Alert: Prisoners lend a helping hand after TC Kirrily

Prisoners from Townsville Correctional Complex have rolled up their sleeves and started their chainsaws to assist with the TC Kirrily cleanup.

Prisoners from Townsville Men’s Low Security Farm and Winton, Boulia and Julia Creek Work Camps have deployed to the Billabong Sanctuary, which suffered significant damage when TC Kirrily made landfall.

The prisoners already have strong ties to the sanctuary, with the prisoners from the low security farm growing many varieties of eucalyptus trees and harvesting the leaves for the koalas which live at the sanctuary.

Correctional Manager, George Muir said the low security prisoners were excited to be able to assist the community with the clean-up.

George And Koala

Correctional Manager George Muir with one of the koalas at Billabong Sanctuary

“Many prisoners have learned how to use chainsaws and other equipment as a part of the work they do at the farm and if they go to the work camps,” CM Muir said.

“For safety reasons, Work Camp prisoners were returned to the complex in anticipation of the cyclone.

“The Winton Work Camp will return to Winton as soon as it is able to assist the community, which is also hard hit by rain from TC Kirrily.

“After spending a night on the floor in the visits area at Townsville Men’s High Security waiting for the cyclone to pass, they were keen to get out and help clean up.

“It is the Australian way to want to lend a hand when disaster strikes, and the prisoners get huge pride in being able to give back to the community like this.

“QCS is in contact with police and the council to offer assistance at other sites if required,” CM Muir said.

The Townsville Correctional Complex fared well in the cyclone, with no significant damage apart from fallen trees.

Background – Townsville Men’s Correctional Centre Low Custody Farm

The Townsville Men’s Correctional Centre low custody farm has a gum tree plantation, which houses about 6400 eucalypt trees of various species.

Maintaining Trees

Prisoners at Townsville Low Security Men’s Farm tending to the eucalyptus trees grown to feed koalas at Billabong Sanctuary.

The gumtree plantation employs up to 15 low security prisoners.  The majority of their responsibility relates to general maintenance such as mowing, whipper snipping and general care of the area with a couple who look after the irrigation system.


A koala at Billabong Sanctuary enjoying leaves grown at Townsville Men’s Low Security Farm.

Billabong Sanctuary collects the fresh leaves on most days, which is essential in enabling them to feed their koala population.

Vision opportunity:
Saturday 27 January from 9am
Billabong Sanctuary, 2 Muntalunga Dr, Nome
Contact QCS Media on 0477 387 362 

*MEDIA NOTE: Please ensure prisoners are not identified in photos or vision. All faces and identifying tattoos must be heavily blurred or otherwise obscured.