2001 is the International Year of Volunteers. For this
special year, volunteer activists have formed 124
committees in more than 100 countries to promote and
celebrate volunteerism. To get an idea of the size and
importance of the volunteer workforce, try and imagine
what your community would be like without its true
volunteers. Each month, the website at
will be introducing a different volunteer group. This
will include information about what the group does,
how you can join, and some thoughts from members of
Mornington Tourist Railway volunteers All aboard!
Name: Sue Lawrence
Number of years: 1 year with the Mornington Tourist
Railway but have been involved for a number of years
with Puffing Billy.
Why did you become a volunteer?
When I lived in Cape Town I had been involved with
their local Railway restoration, when back in
Melbourne I was involved with Puffing Billy and I have
since gone on to volunteer with the local Mornington
I became a volunteer for the challenges involved and
because its a great way of meeting interesting people
and making new friends. There is a great social side
to working with the Railway. I also wanted to return
something back to the community. The work is intensely
What are some of the things you do as a volunteer?
I am the chairperson for Volunteer recruitment and on
the Marketing subcommittee. A lot of my work is
talking to people and seeing if they would be
interested in doing some work with us. I am a
qualified Station Master, Bookings Officer and
Conductor.I mainly do behind the scenes work. There is
a lot of responsibility involved with this work, your
actions have to be accountable for, But I like the
challenge of it all. However, there is other volunteer
work done for the Mornington Tourist Railway. We have
groups who work on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Lots of different work gets done from track work (at
the moment we are putting in points so that the train
can turn around) to restoring the old wooden
carriages. Any involvements with other volunteer
groups? I have also volunteered as a guide on the ship
Endeavour at Mornington, Melbourne,
Adelaide and Cape Town. When the boat is in shore we
are all allocated a position and we talk to people as
they come through about that section. It was great and
I met a lot of interesting people.
What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a
That it is such a worthwhile thing to do. We have
about 60 active and 120 members in total but growing
all the time. We have so many needs and a great
variety of things that people can do. We are looking
for people with boiler making, fitter and turner
skills and carpenters. However there is such a variety
of work from book-keeping/accounting, catering,
gardening, landscaping, sales and public relations
that there is something for everyone. You can even be
trained to be a train driver but that can take a few
years. People come from all over the Victoria and the
Mornington Peninnsula area. Some are train nuts but we
have people from a variety of back grounds who are
just interested in helping out. One red headed weirdo
even does some of his birding from one of our steam
loco's, he says it makes him think of his youth. He's
asked me to start to organise a fundraiser that makes
the entrants only use the Mornington Peninnsula
Railway Network to have a twitchathon from it?
How can others join?
We are registered as a Work for the Dole employer. We
prefer people who can come on a regular basis but any
time people can spare is great and need people who are
reliable especially when we do public train trips.
We are hoping to expand in the next few months, mainly
to placate the birdo? especially if we get the grant
we have applied for, which will allow for a
continuation of the train line from the Moorooduc
station to Baxter where it can then join onto the
Frankston-Stoney Point line. Its an exciting time to
join the Mornington Tourist Railway.
Before the howls start about this email I and many
others on this list have seen avifauna riding the
carriage roofs here in OZ.
I wonder if Cere Hugo or David Geering would give me
some info on the numbers that volunteer for Birds
Australia projects please?
John A. Gamblin
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