Sunshine Coast volunteers are priceless
  • Friday 04 May 2018
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Each year thousands of volunteers enrich life on the Coast by supporting a diverse range of community organisations and Sunshine Coast Council community programs and services.

National Volunteer Week (NVW) from May 21-27, is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of the region’s volunteers who make a difference in our community.

This year’s theme is Give a little, Change a lot and Sunshine Coast Council invites volunteers to attend the free Volunteering Sunshine Coast National Volunteer Week event from 9-11.30am on May 24 at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Auditorium.

This free event includes panel discussions, informative exhibits, music, giveaways and morning tea and is the perfect opportunity for volunteers to celebrate their contribution to the region.

Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said it was important to continue to recognise the valuable contribution our volunteers make to our region.

“Sunshine Coast residents have a remarkable history of volunteering their time and giving back to the community life,” Cr McKay said.

“We have a community that is passionate about maintaining and celebrating our values and lifestyle, which are second to none.

“It is well documented that volunteering has substantial social benefit for both individual volunteers and recipients of volunteer efforts.”

One volunteer who is making a difference is Wendy Jackson from Glass House Mountains who has been volunteering at Bankfoot House, the oldest surviving residence in the Glass House Mountains, for two and a half years.

Armed with experience working as a technician in the Chemistry Department at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, Wendy is an asset to the hardworking volunteers, most of whom are also members of the Friends of Bankfoot House Inc.

Wendy said she had been fortunate to meet many talented, knowledgeable and friendly people from a variety of backgrounds while volunteering at Bankfoot House.

“The volunteers have become friends as we work together, share stories and unravel mysteries while enjoying some laughs along the way,” Ms Jackson said.

“I appreciate the unique nature of the house museum and our focus is to preserve, protect and promote the collection whilst telling the story of the three families who called Bankfoot House “home”.

“Sharing this wonderful treasure with others is very rewarding.”

When asked what a regular day at Bankfoot House was like Wendy explains she usually rides her bicycle from home to Bankfoot House and on arrival signs in and discusses the priority of tasks for the day.

“The house and grounds are checked over and any maintenance matters are attended to,” she said.

“Regular tasks include watering and tending of the gardens, checking the condition of the house and contents and setting up displays for visiting groups. Then we move on to other tasks, mainly centred on carefully inspecting and cataloguing collection items.

“I usually spend some of the day entering information about such items into the SCC on-line database.

“Volunteers have lunch together and there is often an impromptu “show and tell” session by someone. We share news and informally plan for future events during this time.

“We are extremely fortunate as a direct descendant of the family who lived in Bankfoot House is one of our volunteers. She arrives in the afternoon and we usually have a question or two to ask her or, less often, a gem of information which we have discovered to share with her.

“There are a number of commonalities between the lives of the families which lived in Bankfoot House and those of my own family in New Zealand. Those factors sometimes trigger memories and bring up questions about my own heritage but they also help to make me feel “at home” and connected to the Glass House Mountains.”

Bankfoot House was established in October 1868 by William and Mary Grigor as a lunch stop and staging post for the Cobb & Co route from Brisbane to the Gympie goldfields.

Bankfoot House is located at 1998 Old Gympie Road, opposite the Teamsters Hall of Fame on the way to the Lookout from Glass House Mountains township.

Discover more by visiting council’s Heritage website including details about the upcoming Bankfoot House 150th anniversary celebrations.

The preservation and promotion of Bankfoot House is proudly funded through council’s Cultural Heritage Levy – Our heritage, Our stories.

If you have an interest in preventative conservation, documenting and research or being involved in education programs, why not apply to become a volunteer at Bankfoot House.

Call the Cultural Heritage team on 5420 8600 or email culturalheritage@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

Visit council’s website to register for the National Volunteers Week event and to find out how to help your community through volunteering.

Image caption: Wendy Jackson, volunteer at Bankfoot House, located at 1998 Old Gympie Road, opposite the Teamsters Hall of Fame on the way to the Lookout from Glass House Mountains township.