Australian Bilby Appreciation Society
Mr Bilby can take you
back to the main
to Join the Society
or back to the main
by Bruce Gayleard
from the Autumn 2001 issue of Greenhouse Living magazine
The Australian Bilby Appreciation Society is run by Bilbies on behalf of Bilbies. The dynamic force behind the Society is the charismatic Mr Bilby, who began his association with the Society in early 1998. It is no coincidence that the time he joined the Society corresponds with the time it truly "took off".
The Society had its genesis around Easter 1995, when a group of then coworkers in Melbourne discovered that they shared an appreciation for the beautiful little marsupial that was being promoted as an alternative to the Easter Bunny.
The Society was born when, for a laugh on a quiet afternoon at the office, one of the group (who by his actions forever immortalised himself as the Society's founder) produced the first membership cards and presented them to the rest of the members.
He also dreamt up the following aims for the Society:
Being young and foolish, the group felt that the Bilby idea was just so good that it would quickly catch on and in a short time the Bilby would replace the bunny at Easter and the Canberra Bilbies would be lifting the premiership cup. Unfortunately, this attitude lead to the Society remaining dormant for the next couple of years.
In 1997 the founder of the Society became interested in learning HTML and web publishing, however he didn't want to produce just another personal web page (you know the style: "Hi, this is me. This is what I do. These are my family and friends. Here are lists of the things I like. Here is a list of the things I hate. And here is a shirt-load of links"). To the great joy of Bilbies everywhere, he decided the Society would make a great web site and the first pages went on-line late in 1997.
Soon after Mr Bilby stepped into the picture. He could see the enormous benefits that a "cyber-society" of Bilby Appreciators could bring. He quickly went about the task of recruiting a crack team of top Bilbies to run the Society and, utilising the computer skills of the founder, soon developed a web presence that any Bilby would be proud of.
Since then the Society has gathered over 200 members from all over the world, Mr Bilby has travelled all over eastern Australia visiting his friends and relatives, and many e-mail requests for Bilby related information have been answered.
The weeks around Easter are by far the busiest time for the Society. The web site receives hundreds of hits per week and many membership requests are processed. Each member receives an e-mail with an attached file containing their membership card, which is their License to Appreciate Bilbies. Each card has a Bilby related slogan, chosen by the member. The slogan used on the original cards back in 1995 was "Bilbies - can't live with them, can't live without them", but members are free to invent their own slogans, and many do. As a "cyber-society", the web site is the focus and e-mail is the major form of communication.
For the future of the Society Mr Bilby has two major goals that he wants to provide for Bilby lovers who visit him on-line.
The first is a list of all the places members of the public can go to see a Bilby. This is important because there is almost no chance of seeing a Bilby in the wild - you must visit a zoo, or sanctuary or wildlife park, but only a select few have Bilbies on display. The more people who have the pleasure of viewing a living Bilby, the more people who will Appreciate them.
The second is a list of all the organisations involved in Saving the Bilby to which people can donate money. The importance of this can't be stressed enough - without our support there soon won't be any Bilbies left to Appreciate.
December 2000 saw Mr
Bilby take some important steps towards fulfilling these goals.
He visited Charleville in Queensland, the home of the Save the Bilby
Fund and a Bilby captive breading program, and met the men behind these
projects - Frank Manthey and Peter McRae. It can't be stressed
enough what a brilliant job
Frank and Peter are doing, and how helpful they were during the
As a result of this trip a series of new pages were produced for the
Society web site that highlight the fund and a campaign was instigated
to encourage Society members to support the fund. It is Mr
Bilby's great hope that this will be the first of many such alliances.