Unusual fully jointed koala bear

by Reswob

Koala seated

Koala seated

I purchased this koala bear from The Salvation Army Store in Geebung, Queensland, Australia, in 2014. I only paid $2 for him! He is certainly not very old but I have not seen anything like him and he appears to be handmade.

This koala has black glass eyes that are pulled tightly into the head, so much so that the back of the head has indentations. The nose is embroidered with black perle thread using vertical stitches with horizontal stitches bordering the top and the bottom of the nose. There is no mouth and nor is there any indication that there has been. The inner ears are synthetic long pile white plush fabric. The head is constructed of five pieces; head gusset, two side pieces and two pieces that form the back of the head with a seam running from the top of the back of the head to the bottom. The seams are all very well done.

The creature is stuffed firmly with polyester fabric. He also has lead or steel shot in his bottom and his legs. I gave the fellow a sponge bath when he came home because he had some dirty patches. While he was drying out, his joints became a bit stiff which suggests that he has wooden disk joints. (The wood must have expanded because it got a bit damp.)The grey fur fabric is rather unusual. It looks like it might
be a curly viscose with a woven, rather than knitted, backing. He has a small hump on his back. I think he has a two piece body.

The most unusual features of this koala bear is his limbs. All of them are upturned and have three digits with interdigital embroidery using black perle thread. The paws are made of a an olive-tan upholstery velvet or mini-bear fabric. It has a particular sparkle to it. The seams between the paws and the upper limbs seems to have been a weak point. (This creature was made as an adult collectable but I think it was given to a child.) These seams were ripped and I had to sew the paws back onto the body to ensure they stayed there. This is how I discovered that it had lead or steel shot. They are not in inner bags and the poor guy was hemorrhaging little ball bearings everywhere. (My partner thinks its limbs make it look hideous.)

Unfortunately it does not have a tag on it. I also can't find any indication that there was a tag on it anywhere. I am a bearmaker myself and I have some idea of what bear artists are producing in Australia but I can't find anything that looks similar. I know it is a long shot but I am curious to know if anyone can give me some leads as to who made this koala.

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