Some bad-mannered possums, living in the roof of the Australian prime minister’s official residence in Canberra, have partly played a role in forcing Julia Gillard to plan vacating the building for renovations. The Lodge, which is more than 80-year-old, is slated for major renovations, like removal of dangerous cloth wiring and asbestos, for sometime. The urgency of the repair came after a foreign guest, who was not identified, had to be rushed out of one room due to the nocturnal activities of the possums.
The Georgian revival style mansion was infested by possums so bold and immovable that their nocturnal activities have been known to interrupt official functions and endanger the priceless artworks studding the walls, The Sunday Telegraph reported. “We had a celebrated incident where we had a visiting foreign leader so you put dinner on for them,” Gillard said. “There was much shooing of people out of the dining room in a way that looked – it wasn’t rudely done. But it was because someone had spotted that wee was making its way down the wall to one of the very precious paintings from the National Gallery,” she said.
Gillard will have to move out in coming months while it is renovated – although she says there is no clear plan for where she and her partner Tim Mathieson will live, or how long the renovations will take. “It’s like the end of the year I’m not worried,” she says, adding logistics staff will find her new digs.
Gillard said she was not worried about where she will live and may move to her Sydney residence, Kirribilli, if the renovations are under way when parliament is not sitting. “Honestly, the dudes who do things like that, they think about security issues. I think they have a tribe working on it.” Last year, the authorities announced the repair of The Lodge, unrenovated for decades, to fix the leaking roof, redo the electrical wiring and remove asbestos. The Lodge, a 40-room mansion, was built over the period 1926-1927. It is one of two official prime ministerial residences, the other being Kirribilli House, in Sydney.
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