For most people, Roz and Kevin Holme’s property is in the middle of nowhere – many might not even know it exists.
But, for injured wombats, it is a safe place to call home and receive help.
Roz and Kevin have lived on the property near Cessnock for 16 years and, through their not-for-profit organisation Cedar Creek Wombat Rescue, they have been helping in need wombats for almost four decades.
“I was raised with wildlife,” Roz said.
“My parents used to [look after animals] and, when I married my husband, he was into wildlife too and we just started finding more and more injured animals on the roads.
“I knew so many vets that had no idea and wanted to euthanise what they couldn’t fix, [so] I decided that I wanted to get into helping wombats.
“I wanted to fix them and, the more I helped, the more I could train other vets.
“It’s just for the love of it, you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t love them – the expense kills you, but I mean when you look at [their faces], you just can’t resist it.”
Roz’s love for the species runs deep. She and Kevin have spent the last few months building a new hospital in a bid to rescue and care for more injured wombats.
“I just want to fix the broken, so me and my vet, who is wildlife crazy too, sort of went: ‘Nup, we’re going to build a bigger and better hospital and we’re going to save more’ and it blew out from there,” Roz said.
The facility will be equipped with specialised surgical equipment, three Intensive Care Units, and accommodation for visiting vets.
The hospital is set to open on Sunday 22 November and, while there is still a bit of work to do, Roz is confident they’ll get it done.
The pair have dipped into their own pockets to fund construction but, earlier this year, they also received a $30,000 helping hand from confectionary brand Kinder and the Australian Wildlife Society.
“A lot of it is out of our own pockets, but we don’t mind,” Roz said.
“It’s all for the wombats – we’ll just have to work a few years into our retirement.”
Their passion for animals doesn’t stop at wombats though.
When you visit their home, it is like a haven for all creatures, big and small.
Two dingo puppies, a deer, several kangaroos and joeys, rehabilitated wombats, a number of birds, and an emu are all lucky enough to call the place home.
Roz added that donations to their service are greatly appreciated.
“Every dollar counts, it all helps,” she said.
“We usually take in one to 200 wombats a year, so it can be very expensive.”