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Featherdale offers many attractions. Featherdale offers many attractions. Featured
27 September 2018 Posted by 

WSABE 2018: FEATHERDALE WINS

Chicken farm turns tourist icon
 ILIANA STILLITANO
AVID bird enthusiast Bruce Kubbere would revel when the neighbourhood kids turned up on his vast property to look at his treasured feathered friends in his aviaries.

But it was a visit from a local tour bus operator that catapulted the one-time chicken farm into Western Sydney’s admired wildlife attraction.
 
The tour guide encouraged Mr Kubbere and his wife Margaret to open the family farm in Doonside as a tourist destination. A bricklayer by trade, Mr Kubbere set about building a toilet block to ensure his property would meet code and before long, the doors to Featherdale Wildlife Park opened for the first time.
 
That was 46 years ago and today, the park remains one of the country’s finest tourist attractions in the heart of Western Sydney, welcoming 600,000 visitors every year.
 
Now, the park - which is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian animals - has been named the region’s most outstanding business, taking out the top gong at the 2018 Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence.
 
Rare species
 
In homage to Mr Kubbere’s love of nature, Featherdale also houses some of the rarest species of birds in the world.
 
“There is a trend for other parks to dabble in exotic animals but our strength is our focus on Australian animals,” said Featherdale’s director of sales and marketing, Sara Ang.
 
“Every day is an opportunity to enlighten people about our very own breed of animals. Of course there are people who are excited to pat a koala but while they’re here they become excited to also learn about quolls and ghosts bat and they leave this place knowing that Australia is so much more than just cuddly koalas.”
 
The park is a hit with local and international guests – the latter making up 60 per cent of its visitors. It receives four times as many online reviews and feedback than its competitors from sites like Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook which have put the average review at 4.5 stars.
 
So what gives Featherdale the edge?
 
“Our layout has remained largely unchanged since we opened in 1972 and it offers guests the opportunity to get up close to the animals, certainly much closer than anywhere else to the quokkas,” Ms Ang said.
 
Perfect location
 
Featherdale’s 113 staff were proud to discover the park was named a finalist in six categories in this year’s WSABE: Business of the Year, Excellence in Marketing, Excellence in Export, Excellence in Training, Education and Careers, Excellence in Work Health and Safety and Outstanding Young Employee. It has gone on to win three of those awards (Best Business, Marketing and Export).
 
“Last year we won Excellence in Export which was great to be able to highlight our tourism aspects,” Ms Ang said.
 
“It was such a valuable experience that we decided to enter six categories this year and we’re excited to be a finalist in all six.
 
“We’re in the perfect location but we’re not in the hub of the city so we work hard to tell Sydney we’re here. To win (is) validation for the team that work so hard and believe in everything we’re trying to achieve.”
 
And that includes saving some of the country’s most vulnerable wildlife through Featherdale’s conservation and breeding programs.
Interestingly, the park received its name in a nod to its origins as a chook farm, and not because of its furry inhabitants.
 
“It’s funny that some of the best decisions you make start as ideas of your customers. Back in the day, that tour bus operator’s suggestion was a sign that fell in the owner’s lap,” Ms Ang said.
 
And of that toilet block Mr Kubbere built with his own hands? “It’s still standing!”
 
Visit:
www.featherdale.com.au
 
 
 
 
 

 



editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
Mobile: 0407 783 413
Email: info@wsba.com.au
Mail: PO Box 186, Kurrajong NSW 2758
Office phone: 61 2 4572 2336

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