Our people

Operations and Communication Manager – Claire Agnew

Claire joined Friends of the Koala in March 2018. Her role is to oversee the day to day operations of Friends of the Koala as well as coordinating the organisations communication activities. Claire has worked in the nonprofit sector for six years with Taronga Conservation Society Australia and most recently the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia. After completing a BA in Environment majoring in Biology, Claire went on to complete a Master of Wildlife Management at Macquarie University. Claire has also had three years’ experience as a volunteer herself with the Taronga Conservation Society, so she relates well with all our volunteers.

Outside of work, Claire enjoys travelling, following her passion for wildlife. Claire can be contacted between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Thursday on 02 6621 4664 or at manager@friendsofthekoala.org

IFAW sponsored Veterinarian – Jackie Reed

Jackie joined Friends of the Koala in April 2020 after spending 9 months on an island in the Maldives working at a sea turtle hospital. Before this, Jackie was contracted by Victoria Government to do koala health assessments and fertility control in densely populated areas. She was employed for 6 years by Zoos Victoria as a locum veterinarian at both Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, and also worked as a vet at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Prior to this she had worked as a wildlife vet at RSPCA ACT.

Jackie works full time and can be contacted at vet@friendsofthekoala.org

IFAW sponsored Veterinary Nurse – Marley Christian

Marley joined Friends of the Koala in 2015 as a volunteer. Since then she has completed a Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing and gained valuable hands on experience caring and rescuing koalas. In May 2019, Marley became our first employed Vet Nurse and is responsible for ensuring the triage and immediate treatment of sick and injured koalas that come into care. Marley works closely with our Shift Supervisors and utilises equipment now available in our Triage, Treatment & Pathology Clinic to ensure the koalas receive early and consistent clinical supervision. Marley works part time and can be contacted between 9 am and 2 pm Monday to Friday on 02 6621 4664 or at vetnurse@friendsofthekoala.org

Our Current Management Committee Members

Executive Management Committee Members

President – Susannah Keogh – president@friendsofthekoala.org

Vice President – Aliison Kelly vicepresident@friendsofthekoala.org

Treasurer – Lindy Brown – treasurer@friendsofthekoala.org

Secretary – Mark Ambrose – secretary@friendsofthekoala.org

General Committee Members

Sue James
Rhonda James
Ina Egermann
Konrad Elford
Linda Swankie
Paul White
Luke Kane

Other Non-Committee Coordinators

Environmental Project Coordinator – Julie Reid BApp Sc (Cons Tech), GradDipEd (Science), Cert III CLM, TAE Cert IV

Julie has worked in the natural resource management industry for 21 years with a focus on coordination of natural area restoration projects. She is currently working with 31 landowners & public land managers on five funded projects to restore wildlife habitat and create corridors. She lives on a property in Jiggi protected by a conservation agreement.

Taulangau Wildlife Refuge.


Leafing Coordinator – Fiona Dawson

Fiona is an ecologist with a koala-focussed background including koala surveys for Biolink and NPWS, bush regeneration, planting, vegetation restoration and monitoring plans, survey plots and reports particularly within koala habitat. Her second degree (Environmental Science) was completed in 2016. Fiona has long-term voluntary experience and Honorary Life Membership with Friends of the Koala and loves her current role of Leafing Coordinator with responsibility for the daily harvesting of food for koalas in care comprising all facets from rostering to training of volunteers in koala food tree
identification. Other hobbies squeezed in around full time work include bass & classical guitar. Fiona is on the left in this photo.

Research Coordinator – Linda Swankie

Linda moved to Australia from the UK in 2016 and, having always been passionate about wildlife and conservation and keen to get into wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, immediately began volunteering at FOK. After many years working as a secretary, where she was known as ‘Linda save the whale save the world’, Linda decided to retrain and earned a BSc (Hons) in Ecology and an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation.

Although Linda spent over 15 years working as a professional ecologist in the UK, her main interest has always been in research, and in particular landscape ecology, which is of major relevance to koalas with impacts of habitat fragmentation. She has been involved in research in the UK, Spain, Chile and the USA and is now keen to develop and carry out research on koalas in the Northern Rivers and help FOK achieve one of its strategic objectives, while also benefiting the koalas themselves.