Meet the Team
Open 7 Days from 9am to 4pm
BOB AND DEL FLEMMING
Bob and Del built Billabong Sanctuary from the ground up, starting from a bare paddock and developing the park into an award-winning eco-tourism attraction [more info here].
Through the years they’ve both remained actively involved in all aspects of the operation of their family-owned business, from frying chips to feeding crocs.
Bob is General Manager, overseeing staffing, infrastructure and legislative requirements, and now and then he still finds time to help feed a hungry croc.
These days Del enjoys well-earned retirement behind the scenes, but is still very much involved in decision making, and encouraging and supporting the work of the whole team.
Our Rangers are an incredibly talented mob, ferociously dedicated to wildlife conservation. They come from diverse backgrounds, but all are passionate about working in their ‘dream job’ caring for our native wildlife and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.
Everyone has a hand in the day-to-day care of the park: raking paths, cleaning enclosures, preparing special food for each animal, conducting tours, and presenting the daily shows. In addition, all have extra responsibilities according to their special interests and talents.
CURATOR RAY STEPHENS
Ray started his zookeeping career as a volunteer at the former Cairns Wildlife Safari, where he soon found himself caring for the big cats, hand-feeding cheetahs, tigers and lions. His love affair with these magnificent creatures continued at ZooDoo in Tasmania. Initially employed there as Senior Keeper, Ray was soon promoted to Park Manager.
As Curator here at Billabong Sanctuary, Ray is responsible for the overall management of our entire collection of native animals, ensuring they are given the best possible care in accordance with industry standards. He coordinates all the licenses, permits, welfare accreditation and new species acquisitions.
SENIOR RANGER ALEX BATTERSBY
As the Senior Ranger, Alex oversees all departments and staff training, but observers will usually see her busily looking after the reptiles throughout the day.
Alex has a love of reptiles and is team leader of the reptile department, but also has a fondness for birds and cherishes the special relationships formed with them, particularly with Ritchie the macaw and Busta the galah.
RANGER MICK BALL
Mick is Team Leader for the Bird Department.
He is passionate about spreading the word about wildlife conservation, and creating awareness of our vulnerable and endangered bird species. As a bird lover, he invites you to Billabong to enjoy the beauty of native birds.
RANGER ASH COOPER
Ash is team leader of the mammal department and possesses a fervent enthusiasm for creatures both furry and scaly.
She thoroughly enjoys working with the diverse array of mammals, attending to the feeding of crocodiles, and enlightening visitors about the amazing fauna here at Billabong Sanctuary.
RANGER NICK YOUNGMAN
While Nick possesses an unwavering passion for reptile species as a whole, his area of expertise lies particularly in venomous animals, a subject he extensively researched while completing a PhD on venomous snakes at the University of Queensland.
To further broaden his knowledge of reptiles, Nick is deepening his understanding of crocodiles. Billabong Sanctuary provides an ideal setting to observe these remarkable creatures within a secure environment, and allows him to share his knowledge with the public.
RANGER LACHLAN DIMECH
Lachlan is a dedicated member of the birds team at Billabong, responsible for working with a diverse assortment of stunning avian species, from small lorikeets to massive cassowaries.
Lachlan’s primary objective is to ensure the provision of exceptional care for his feathered friends while simultaneously enlightening visitors about the remarkable nature of these creatures. By fostering awareness and understanding, he aims to cultivate admiration for these magnificent birds for years to come.
RANGER CLAIRE HALLIDAY
Claire is part of the mammals team here at Billabong Sanctuary. Having recently completed the TAFE Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care, she is now expanding her knowledge to include reptiles and birds.
Claire loves being hands-on with the animals and teaching the public all about the wonders of Aussie wildlife.
RANGER ADAM WESLEY
Adam became a part of the Billabong team after gaining extensive experience in crocodile farms located in Cairns and the Northern Territory. Currently serving as a general ranger, he contributes to various areas of operation. This role presents an excellent chance for him to expand his knowledge about a diverse range of native animals.
Adam eagerly anticipates the completion of his training, which is enabling him to work directly with all the crocodiles here at Billabong Sanctuary.
CASUAL RANGER MADDIE KIELY
Maddie joined us as a volunteer back in 2020, and donned the khaki shirt as a full-time ranger shortly afterwards.
Maddie worked mainly with mammals to start with but was soon presenting all wildlife shows and moved on to feeding crocodiles, including Krakatoa! In her trademark pink boots, she was popular with kids at birthday parties and Roving Rangers.
Maddie took time off to have her own kid (A baby boy–Congratulations!) but has now returned to work full-time, presenting shows and caring for our native wildlife.
HONORARY RANGER JULIE FUNNELL
Ranger Jules has been with Billabong for over 10 years, both as a ranger and a volunteer. Jules is passionate about the Australian environment, having grown up in the bush and undertaken education in environmental biology, culminating a PhD in Zoology.
Her greatest passion is dingoes, in particular our beautiful dingo Allira. Jules spends time with every day and loves to introduce her to guests.
HONORARY RANGER SHEILA BRUNSKILL
Sheila is a local resident living at nearby Alligator Creek with an abundance of wildlife visiting her backyard. Billabong Sanctuary has been most fortunate to benefit from Sheila’s passion for Australian wildlife as she is our longest serving staff member, although in an honorary capacity. She initiated and manages the Facebook page, keeps the website updated and responds to online enquiries and reviews.
Sheila loves Billabong’s philosophy of introducing local children to Aussie animals and providing international visitors an introduction to Australia’s unique fauna – where to see them in the wild and contribute to their conservation.
FRONT of HOUSE TEAM
Team leader Mellee and her co-workers comprise our hard-working front-of-house team. They answer the phones and welcome visitors with a friendly smile and tips on making the most of their day.
From Blinky Bill’s Café they serve a tempting array of snacks and meals to satisfy even the heartiest appetite. The team will also fire up the barbecue to cater for tour groups, parties and school excursions.
Mellee keeps the Gift Shop stocked with a variety of wildlife-themed souvenirs and gifts for the folks back home and also coordinates bookings for school groups.
Overall, her team complements the work of the Rangers to ensure everyone who comes through the door enjoys the best possible time in our native wildlife sanctuary.