In the heart of Launceston's City Park, in northern Tasmania, there's a wacky colony you'll inevitably stumble upon during a leisurely stroll - a monkey colony.
That's right. 20 or so Japanese macaques roaming around their enclosure doing what monkey's do - scratching themselves, climbing branches, being refreshingly human-like in their general mannerisms.
But this somewhat obscure colony is quintessentially Launceston.
Ask a local about City Park's monkeys, and they'll barely bat an eyelid.
You'll get a response along the lines of "Of course there are monkeys in the park. Why wouldn't there be monkeys in the park?"
Obviously, these monkeys are not native.
They were actually a gift from Launceston's sister city, Ikeda, Japan, in exchange for 10 wallabies.
That was back in 1980, and they have been a pillar of City Park ever since.
Funnily enough, these macaques were actually introduced to fill the gap left in the hearts of Launcestonians after the last Rhesus monkey, which formerly took residence in the park, died in 1979.
Despite being restored into the regional hub, it hasn't been an easy plight for these monkeys, and there have been times where their future looked dicey.
In 2000, when 11 of the 26 monkeys were ridden with Herpes B, the City of Launceston Council toyed with the idea of putting them down.
But they ultimately decided against it, with the idea sparking community outrage.
While the disease can be fatal for humans, symptoms for the macaques are mild, and the council decided the risk to humans was so low that it was unjustifiable to strip Launcestonians of their beloved monkeys.
Now, herpes remains part of the monkey's everyday existence, a fact that appears to be accepted by the wider community.
And the macaques continue to procreate regularly, with locals swooning whenever new faces come into the colony.
If a bout of herpes isn't enough to end the monkey's reign in City Park, it seems they are here to stay - to the joy of Launcestonians, and the bemusement of all who come past the weird and wonderful enclosure.
As my co-worker and born and bred Launcestonian friend Nikita aptly sums up, "the world could end, but the monkeys will still be there."
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