The Australian Bat Hospital is a private organisation that has been established to provide best practices medical care for all species of sick, injured and orphaned flying foxes and microbats.
HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN BAT CLINIC & WILDLIFE TRAUMA CENTRE AND NARROWLEAF RETREAT
Narrow leaf Retreat is a 40-acre property in the Gold Coast hinterland at Advancetown in Queensland Australia. The property in its most recent history was a Banana plantation, before being purchased and operated by the Catholic Church as a halfway house for street youth. Next came the use as an Herbalist Healing Centre and health retreat.
In April of 1999, Narrowleaf Retreat passed into the hands of Terry and Trish Wimberley. Their vision for the property sees themselves as custodians of the property even though they own the property by title. Found on the property was a sign calling the property Dhalanbah (the place of the rainbow) which now adorns the main house and clinic rooms. Terry and Trish acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and live in hope that their use of the land honours the spirit of the land.
Terry and Trish were married on the property in May of 2001 a decision was made by both to dedicate the use of the property for the Native animals of South East Queensland. A badly injured Bandicoot named Benjamina Bandicoot inspired this passion. Trish nursed Benjamina back to health using her knowledge gained as a career in the Blue Mountain WIRES organization in New South Wales.
Trish and Terry joined Wildcare Australia a Queensland equivalent to Wires NSW and attended virtually every educational class given; Wildcare Australia Inc. used the property as its base for 6 1/2 years. Improvements to the property saw cages and fencing purchased to care for Macropods, Possums, Gliders, Turtles, Birds, and Reptiles etc.
In 2003, Trish and Terry felt that their best contribution would be to specialize in a group of animals and narrow their focus and increase their depth—This was a dilemma as Terry loved the Parrots and Possums and Trish loved everything especially bats. Depending which one, you talk to determine the story about how Bats were selected; however, there is some consisity in that both loved the Bats. Bats are a cornerstone of the ecological system and it was difficult to find people that dealt with them at the depth that Trish and Terry wished to go.
As with most things, that Trish and Terry do—-They adopted the plan to learn all they could about Bats—-Put themselves into situations where good things could happen and have fun whilst working on the plan.
The quest for knowledge about Bats has resulted in over 1400 hours of classroom and field studies all over Australia, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa and Madagascar. Importantly these studies have been with some of the foremost Bat researchers and educators in the world. Specifically Cave and mines research at the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, Echolocation and capture studies in Arizona. Field studies in the Amazon, Madagascar, Mexico and Texas. Cave and conservation work in South Africa. Seminars on destruction of Bat habitat and threats from wind turbines. The lists of people places and accomplishments are both inspiring and amazing. When asked about special memories Trish and Terry talk about some of the rare bats they have captured but most of all it seems to be about the knowledge gained, shared and the unexpected.
The most recent expedition saw Trish and Terry team up with the photographic wildlife guru Steve Parrish and Bat research Legend Dr. Les Hall on a 24-day 10,000klm capture and photograph trip to the Northern Territory and Cape Tribulation for a new book from Steve Parrish Publishing.
In February of 2009, the Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre achieved the Deductable Gift Recipient not for profit Charity status. This is perhaps the culmination of all the work up to this point that for the most part has been self funded by the Wimberley’s putting their passion and money into educating themselves and others and working with the over 1000 animals they assist each year. Unfortunately the Wimberley’s cannot continue without financial assistance from the general public thus the registration as a charity and the call for tax deductible donations.