Celebrating the 2,000 who ‘Make a World of Difference’ to us

The National Trust (NSW) President, Brian Powyer, will this week celebrate with volunteers at the National Trust Centre at Observatory Hill for National Volunteers Week.

Two thousand volunteers across the organisation are being acknowledged with communication from the National Trust (NSW) CEO, Debbie Mills and certificates will be presented to individual volunteers who have provided 10, 15 and 20 years and more, of service. Certificates of appreciation will also be sent to Committees, Branches and Friends of the National Trust (NSW).

The National Trust (NSW) is investing in its volunteers with the recent appointment of Melissa Green to the position of Volunteer Coordinator. The organisation also sought out illustrations that would capture the spirit of the 2019 theme for National Volunteering Week – “Making a World of Difference”. Frankie Whitehead (age 13), a young volunteer of the National Trust (NSW), created the image featured here.

To mark National Volunteering Week, the National Trust (NSW) is kicking off a recruitment campaign commencing with the Goulburn Mulwarree Volunteer Expo. The organisation will also be celebrating the stories of volunteers in various regions across New South Wales by telling their stories. You can read them below.


Melissa Green, National Trust (NSW) Volunteer Coordinator

Meet Melissa Green, the National Trust (NSW) Volunteer Coordinator!

Since joining the team, Melissa has started to review and develop volunteer resources to help support the property’s, Branches and Committee executives to recruit and retain volunteers. These resources and the support being provided through Melissa’s role, ensures we continue to work on improving experiences for those who volunteer with us.

Melissa’s professional background as a volunteer coordinator – both as a front-line coordinator (recruiting and coordinating volunteers to fill rosters) and the strategic management of volunteers across NSW – will be invaluable to the Trust.

Melissa is already is making a ‘world of difference’ to the Trust by raising the profile of volunteering. The development of promotional material will help spread the message about why volunteers are essential to the organisation – without them we cannot fulfill our Mission and Vision to conserve our natural, cultural and built heritage.

If you would like to contact Melissa, please email volunteer@nationaltrust.com.au.


Les Tod, Parramatta Regional Branch Committee member

Les has been a member of the Parramatta Regional Branch Committee since 2011. In 2103 he put up his hand to become the Branch secretary and held that position for four years.

Even though he is no long the Branch secretary he has remained an active and was subsequently elected to the position of Deputy Chair. Les has become a valuable executive member and has represented the Branch’s view in both local and Sydney media giving expert comment on issues that arise about the Roxy Theatre developments. He is one of three members from the Branch who are part of the “Revive the Roxy Action Group’, a group containing members from the arts and heritage who are working together to bring the Roxy back to life.

Les is a respected theatre historian who was recently awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his role in saving some of the country’s most historic theatres, perhaps the most significant being Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.

We really appreciate his commitment to bringing his skills and knowledge in conservation and advocacy to the National Trust.


Laura Anderson, National Trust (NSW) volunteer

Laura has always been enthusiastic about conserving the past for future generations, that’s why she has decided to make it her career.

Laura has undertaken a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies degree and love they way her volunteer work aligns with her studies.

Laura says her Master’s degree has given her a thorough understanding of museum and heritage practice which can be applied in a number of ways at World Heritage listed Old Government House.

“Old Government House is a beautiful property with a rich history. I find out something new each time I volunteer! I also hope to volunteer at the Experimental Farm Cottage in the near future.

“I also have a keen interest in registration which I’ve pursued in previous volunteer roles, and I believe I’ll have the opportunity to use that in this volunteering role. I think we can all contribute our skills to ‘make a world of difference’ in conserving our heritage for the future.”

Laura says she hopes new National Trust (NSW) volunteers will enjoy volunteering as much as she does!


Ron Gough, volunteer at Old Government House and Experiment Farm Cottage

Ron Gough has been volunteering at volunteer at Old Government House and Experiment Farm Cottage for six years. He joined the team of volunteers after he saw an ad in the NSW Teachers Federation Magazine.

Ron has always had an interest history and wanted to do something useful with his retirement. Before that Ron was a teacher and he loves that volunteering with the National Trust (NSW) allows him to share historical experiences with children and adults, while learning and sharing with other volunteers.

Ron says he feels valued by National Trust staff and other volunteers.

“There is a real feeling of comardery,” she says. “Adult visitors are very appreciative of my time and sharing of knowledge. I love working with children and putting history into story mode appropriate to their interest and need.

“I feel I make a world of difference by trying to make history interesting, telling story snippets about famous events and people. I love enthusing children about our past.”



Christine Alexander, volunteer at Old Government House

Christine is new to volunteering with National Trust (NSW) – she started in March this year.

She was volunteering at another Museum but decided to join her daughter who was volunteering for the National Trust.

When she is rostered on to volunteer Christine catches a train to Parramatta, signs in and finds out what is needed from her that day. So far Christine has spent a lot of time in the garden!

“I really value this opportunity to give back to society in a different role from my paid employment. I get to work in lovely grounds in a historic site, rich in stories from the past. I enjoy the friendliness and respect that all persons are given, the inclusive nature and community of like minded people,” she says.

“I hope new volunteers find meaningful volunteer work where they enjoy themselves, are respected and make new friends.”


Lois Rasmussen, S.H. Ervin Gallery

Lois Rasmussen has a long family association with the National Trust. Her mother-in-law was in the Trust’s Annie Wyatt group and she signed her son up as a junior member. When Lois married that son she married into volunteering! Her husband eventually nominated her to be the secretary to the Friends of the S.H. Erwin Gallery.

Lois says that volunteering is a challenge, but it’s worth it.

“If we didn’t have the National Trust we would have lost so many buildings, such as the Queen Victoria Building, The Mint, and the Hyde Park Barracks,” she said.

“Heritage was a dirty word before the National Trust but now every Council has a heritage officer or they have consultants with expertise who can advise them on heritage. Graham Quint (National Trust Director Advocacy) can’t fight this on his own – he needs help! We have to fight them with all that we have and we have to motivate people into action – young and old.”


If you would like to learn new things, meet new people and use your skills to keep National Trust places special, please think about joining our network of volunteers. For information on becoming a volunteer please fill out our online form or email Melissa at  volunteer@nationaltrust.com.au.