Sam the Koala

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Sam the Koala
Sam the Koala.
Source: Museum Victoria

The story of Sam the Koala has touched millions of people across Australia and around the world.

Sam became the symbol of the terrible loss and also of the community spirit felt by so many in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires in February 2009.

As the State museum, Museum Victoria collects and records significant events, like natural disasters, so that future generations can learn and reflect on the events that have shaped our lives.

Sam’s placement in Melbourne Museum preserves her story, and her extraordinary role in providing a source of hope to those devastated by the February bushfires. She also plays an important role in educating the community about issues relating to koalas, changes in habitat, the impact of fire on wildlife and the role of wildlife rescue. Sam is permanently on display as part of the Wild exhibition.


Event Type: Permanent Exhibition

Daily, Now Showing
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Science and Life Gallery

Included with museum entry.
Museum Members receive FREE museum entry.

Comments (20)

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Hamish murphy 21 November, 2010 09:38
It was sad that many people died but Sam brang hope into millions of peoples hearts and proves even after these horrible disatsters we might lose homes it lives but we don't lose one thing hope
jacinta kelly 24 March, 2011 17:08
i feel so so so sorry for sam the koala it was so so cute but very very very SAD!!!!!
Chloe 27 March, 2011 11:27
I feel sorry for sam the koala but thank gosh for him he brang happiness and joy to us kids and parents . i was in victoria in the bush fires to save some horses and saw him from getting burns on my body i put into the hospital i was flown in to the hospital i also got to pat him and was very pleased to seee some wildlife and i have a very burnt and scared leg but the burn is the coulorof my skin
Rachel 20 April, 2011 12:53
I feel so sorry for Sam the koala. It's a shame that he died after the bush fires. I wish that he was back.
jenny 28 April, 2011 16:47
how did he survive that long?? like what did he do to survive
Discovery Centre 2 May, 2011 14:42
Hi there Jenny, could you clarify what you mean by how did she survive so long? Do you mean between when she was first hurt and when the shelter picked her up or between when she was picked up and when she died? Have a read of some of the infosheets that are linked at right as they may answer your question. Otherwise, please let us know the exact question and we'll try to help you out.
Tim 4 May, 2011 16:26
1. Did Sam die in the bushfires or did a fireman save him? 2. Is Sam a he or a she? 3. Whereabouts can I find the Sam The Koala exhbitiion in Melbourne Museum?
Discovery Centre 5 May, 2011 12:32
Hi Tim, thanks for your questions. Sam didn't die in the fires but several months afterwards. She was rescued by the Southern Ash Wildlife shelter, after they were informed by the firefighters about her location. She was a female koala. You'll find further detailed information about Sam and the events surrounding her rescue, care and death by reading the information sheets linked at right.
ANjuli 4 October, 2013 17:08
Ya u can find SAM in special area for children to play in Melbourne museum.
Riley Sheldon 13 October, 2011 09:03
R.I.P sam
Holly Bowin 19 May, 2012 12:04
Hi, i was wondering what year it was and how the fire started
Discovery Centre 30 May, 2012 16:16
Hi Holly, the fire started in 2009; the Boolarra fire was deliberately lit and an individual has been charged and convicted in relation to this fire.
Cath 11 March, 2013 11:01
Holly, the fire that injured Sam was part of the blacking out at Mirboo North a week before the Black Saturday bushfires. (blacking out or backburning - a fire that is lit by firefighters in order to minimise the amount of fuel/undergrowth etc)
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carbonnet 15 June, 2012 08:38
Bonjour,si la cause de Sam peut servir à aider toutes les associations ce serait un juste retour des choses.if the cause of Sam can be used to help all the associations that would be a just reward.
Nas 6 July, 2012 14:07
R.I.P Sammy mate. Hope you are in a better place now :-(
James 7 July, 2012 12:29
The cost of a bush fire of this intensity on nature and human infrastructure can be devastating, if we can educate people through a medium like yours at the Muesum then you have accomplished something great! Well done and keep educating people on what really matters.
Ailish Keane 7 July, 2012 19:36
I am very sorry for Sam the Koala who died in a bush fire. He gave us all joy,and we all remember her great joy.R.I.P
steve morvell 25 January, 2013 11:14
I feel sorry for poor old Sam but happy that one koala could get so much attention....maybe sam could be utilised to address the following issue............. Unhappily Koalas where I live at Halls gap in Victoria's Grampians National Park appear (with reference to the recent MV Bioscan) to have gone extinct and nobody is raising an eyebrow. .......... Is this something of a double standard? Why do MV and Parks Vic appear not to care about the disappearance of this lovable and important member of the Grampians ecosystem? Can sam be featured in a display to raise public awareness of this tragic loss?
Discovery Centre 12 February, 2013 15:09

Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. We forwarded this to the appropriate Museum Victoria staff member, who has responded as follows:

Thank you for your email about the situation of Koalas in the Grampians. I spoke with the Museum Victoria staff who went on the Bioscan and did mammal surveys, they share your concern about a declining Koala population. They did hear koalas on the north west side of the national park  so can say that koalas still live here. Parks Victoria staff agree that Koalas are still present in the national park.

In order to know how many koalas there are, more focussed survey would be needed using calls, scats (droppings) and spotlighting. During the Bioscan no specific surveys to locate Koalas, were done which is why they were not discussed as part of Bioscan findings.We appreciate your interest and suggestions.

summer 26 January, 2013 08:06
sam is so cute