Canberra’s favourite koala turns 40

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Rudi Lammers will today plant a tree at the Australian National Botanic Gardens to commemorate Constable Kenny Koala’s contribution to the Canberra community for the past 40 years.

Constable Kenny has been a visible figure in the ACT educating Canberra children on how to stay safe, and today he celebrates his 40th birthday.

ACT Policing’s Constable Kenny program is designed to educate preschool and primary-aged school children between three to 12 years of age on a range of safety themes, and to encourage them to turn to police for help and advice.

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Rudi Lammers said the program, and Constable Kenny himself, has come a long way over the past four decades, becoming a Canberra institution.

“Constable Kenny started out in the mid 70’s as a bathmat sewn into shape by the then Commissioner’s secretary. He made his first TV appearance in 1975 on a program called Junior Police 7.”

“Our furry crime-fighter now visits over 20,000 students per year and is not only an important part of ACT Policing, but he is an important resource to ensuring the safety of our community, especially our children,” Assistant Commissioner Lammers said.

“As law enforcers, we aim to protect the Canberra community and its citizens, and Constable Kenny Koala is very much part of our crime prevention efforts. I’m looking forward to seeing Constable Kenny’s eucalyptus tree grow over the coming years as well as the success of the program.”

Executive Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens Judy West said ceremonial tree plantings were not a common occurrence in the Gardens.

“However, the opportunity to celebrate Constable Kenny Koala’s anniversary with the placement of a White Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) is a symbolic gesture of its value as an important food source for koalas,” Doctor West said.