This week throughout Australia has been designated as National Volunteers Week during which we acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. From 21–27 May 2018, thousands of events were held across the country to say thank you to the 6 million Australians who volunteer their time. The week-long celebration included breakfasts, morning/afternoon teas, and luncheons, as well as open days, award ceremonies, picnics, forums and training sessions. This year’s theme of “Give a little, change a lot” represents the millions of volunteers who make a profound impact in their communities and on society, through giving a little time.
Here in Junee, the home town of Pete’s Hobby Railway, National Volunteers Week was celebrated on Friday 25th May with the local Junee Shire Council hosting a Volunteers’ Summit in recognition of the town’s unpaid workforce, estimated to be as high as one in five of the town’s population. This was a day-long function held in our local heritage-listed Athenium Theatre, commencing at 0900 and running to mid-afternoon. With the assistance of several PHR volunteers, we had a small stand at which we displayed a series of laminated colour illustrations of volunteers in action on Pete’s Hobby Railway.
It goes without saying that Pete’s Hobby Railway could not have been created, maintained and operated without the enthusiastic support of its volunteers. Yes, we have our fun on operating days, particularly when we run our “Train Spotting” activities for the general public at the annual Junee Rhythm and Rail Festival. However there are other times when there is difficult and strenuous work to be undertaken, whether it be track construction and maintenance, building our prime public attraction Loftus station with its 1915-design “unattended platform waiting shed” or servicing and maintaining our operational locomotives and carriages, planning and designing future extensions etc., such as our proposed storage shed with its under-cover inspection and maintenance pit.
Yes, some major works have been undertaken using paid contractors, but it is to our volunteers that I must extend my sincere and ongoing thanks, for without them, my dream of Pete’s Hobby Railway could not continue to flourish into reality.
There is always a danger in mentioning names, but I will do so – if only by their given names. Most have been with me from just about the start, while a few have come on board temporarily, but have since moved on the greener pastures … hopefully having gained a little enjoyment and satisfaction from their volunteering on Pete’s Hobby Railway.
PHR Volunteers – Albert, Ben, Bill, Caleb, David, “Dozer”, Gordon, Jasmine, Josh, Lennie, “Lucky”, Matt, Nicholas, Rhys and Rob.
Thanks to all.
Part 2 of our involvement with the Junee Volunteers’ Summit can be found here.
Some of Pete’s Hobby Railway’s volunteers