Lazarus the cockatoo survived the October 11 Coolabunia storm.
Lazarus the cockatoo survived the October 11 Coolabunia storm. Damien Tessmann

Lazarus rising: Miracle survival for cockatoo after storm

THE miracle survival of a cockatoo stuck out in Thursday afternoon's severe thunderstorm has been likened to the biblical story of Lazarus' rising. 

Coolabunia dairy farmer Damien Tessmann was surveying the damage from the storm at his property, near Kingaroy, when he came across the cockatoo.

Cyclone-like winds and hail stones as large as tennis balls ripped through Mr Tessmann's property on Thursday afternoon, ripping the roof off his dairy, smashing windows and leaving dents in buildings. 

Damien Tessmann thought Lazarus the Cockatoo was dead when he took this photo.
Damien Tessmann thought Lazarus the Cockatoo was dead when he took this photo. Damien Tessmann

"I thought (the cockatoo) was dead," Mr Tessmann said.

"Then I sort of tapped him with my foot and he sprung to life. He jumped up and started hissing at me, his wings were going.

"I thought he was well enough that he'd live."

Mr Tessmann said he continued surveying his property and when he returned to the area the bird was he found it sitting on a branch.

"I put a towel over him last night," he said.

"He was full of spirits this morning, you might have heard him from Toowoomba the noise he was making."

Damien Tessmann with a recovering Lazarus.
Damien Tessmann with a recovering Lazarus. Damien Tessmann

Mr Tessmann said it was a miracle the bird was doing so well.

"The amount of dead birds I've seen around the paddock, from magpies, bush turkey, bush pigeons, crows, everything. They're all dead," Mr Tessmann said.

"The fact he's got so much kick in him is quite impressive."

Mr Tessmann said his friends on social media named the bird Lazarus, after the biblical story where Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead four days after his death. 

"We don't know if he's a male or female though," he said.

Damage to Damien Tessmann's property.
Damage to Damien Tessmann's property. Damien Tessmann

He said his family had owned the Coolabunia property for the past 120 years.

"In that time there have never been any stories of storms of quite the magnitude to what we saw yesterday," he said.  

"The hail and the wind was something. It's a one in a whatever year storm.

"We had feed crops we were about to put the cows on this morning, it was waist high, but now you could play lawn bowls on it. We had barley crop too and it's the same, down to nothing."

Mr Tessmann said his main focus now was restoring power to the dairy so he could milk the cows.

"We need to get the milk out of the cows to relieve pressure on the udder," he said.

"We've got a generator coming... hopefully we'll get it done sooner rather than later.

"Once Ergon are able to restore power we'll be able to get the vats going be back to semi-normal I suppose." 

Lazarus the cockatoo survived the October 11 Coolabunia storm.
Lazarus the cockatoo survived the October 11 Coolabunia storm. Damien Tessmann

Mr Tessmann said he would continue to look after Lazarus for as long as he needed to.

"He's good now, but he can't fly. He's been trying to take off," Mr Tessmann said.

"We'll take him to the vet once things are under control here and then we'll go from there.

"We'll look after him for as long as we need to.

"After everything we've been through, the dairy farmer and the cockatoo can be mates at this time of trial." 


Head for the water

Head for the water

Explore the local dams and weirs around the region

Take to the sky for a joy flight

Take to the sky for a joy flight

National FunFlight Day raises funds for children

Intense day at the races

Intense day at the races

More than 3000 guests for the Emerald 100

Local Partners