The race that stops the nation can help a race against extinction. Two bilbies get up close with the 2014 Melbourne Cup in Charleville.
The race that stops the nation can help a race against extinction. Two bilbies get up close with the 2014 Melbourne Cup in Charleville. Contributed

Help save the bilby

IPSWICH'S own "bilby man" Frank Manthey is constantly looking for ways to draw attention to the plight of the endangered animal.

This month Mr Manthey, along with a number of special guests including Olympic swimming champion Dawn Fraser, will host National Bilby Day celebrations in Queens Park.

"Bilbies used to occupy 70% of Australia and now they're on the brink of extinction," he said.

"We will be hosting the first official National Bilby Day for Ipswich and are hoping it will spread across Australia."

In 2002, Mr Manthey came up with the idea of having a National Bilby Day on the second Sunday of September and successfully lobbied the Federal Government to gazette the day in 2005.

Ruth Lewis from the Ipswich Koala Protection Society is helping organise the event and said people could expect a fun-filled and entertaining day.

"I called Frank and asked if we could combine forces because we're recognising a lot of threatened species on the day and koalas are in a dire situation as well," she said.

"People can expect sausage sizzles, a jumping castle, wildlife, fairy floss, ice cream, displays and live entertainment from Queensland Youth Choir, Ipswich Cambrian Choir and more.

"It's about creating public awareness, which is the best thing we can do to protect endangered species."

The day will begin with a Spot the Species walk starting at Denmark Hill Conservation Park at 8am.

Participation in the Spot the Species walk costs a gold coin.

All proceeds from the day will go towards the Save the Bilby Fund and Ipswich Koala Protection Society.

National Bilby Day celebrations will be held at Queens Park on Sunday, September 13 from 9am.

Visit savethebilbyfund.com.


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