Lennons Hotel Shillam penguin statue.
Lennons Hotel Shillam penguin statue.

New 'twist' in case of stolen Burke and Wills penguin

IT'S the case that has baffled Toowoomba - who stole Shillam the penguin and where is he now?

The owners of the Burke and Wills Hotel, who last month offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the bronze-beaked sculpture, revealed a new twist in the saga.

It was hoped the statue, built in 1957, would be safely back before the opening of the newly-renovated hotel on Ruthven St in late April.

But as Hakfoort Group CEO Albert Hakfoort explained, the twist was not the return of the original prize but rather a prank played by one of the construction workers.

"It was a joke more than anything. It was just something that the builders found, claiming they had found Shillam," he laughed.

"We through we'd punch it out of there for people in a light-hearted way."

Fake Shillam penguin.
Fake Shillam penguin. Contributed

The photos should have told as much, since Shillam is taller than a person's knee, whereas the fake could comfortably fit in the palm of someone's hand.

The mystery of Shillam the Penguin is not a new issue.

In 2013 the National Trust of Queensland appealed to the public for details of the penguin's mysterious disappearance in the hope of its triumphant return but no leads led to its discovery.

Mr Hakfoort said he had received significant interest in the sculpture from the public, but no leads had turned into a discovery.

If you have any information or photos of Shillam send them to bw.reception@hgroup.com.au.


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