Meet Lauren Curtis, Volunteer at Barwon Park
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the National Trust. Their dedication, hard work and support is vital to the work we do.
You will see our volunteers getting involved in a multitude of different way. As guides, they bring our places, collections and exhibitions to life and share their stories. They get their hands dirty in the garden and keep our places clean. They are always willing to help in our daily operations, with duties ranging from administrative tasks to welcoming visitors at the door.
Meet Lauren, one of our amazing volunteers at Barwon Park Mansion.
How long have you been volunteering with the Trust and how did you first get involved?
I have been volunteering at Barwon Park since February 2016. I started when the Dressmaker exhibition was on display in the mansion, when I moved back to Victoria after serving with the Royal Australian Navy interstate.
I actually became involved through a family connection to Barwon Park and the Batson family. My great-great-grandfather was Stephen Batson’s brother. I have also always been passionate about history and antiques for as long as I can remember.
What kind of experiences and skills have you learned while volunteering?
I have learned a wide range of skills – from becoming more comfortable speaking to groups of people as a tour guide, to antique restoration and repairs.
Some of the projects I’ve been involved with have included repairing water damaged French polish, castors on an antique chair, a rotten window frame which was then reinstalled, and all sorts of other general maintenance around Barwon Park.
A long-term project that I have been working on with Doug, a fellow volunteer with over 50 years of experience in antique restoration, is the restoration of some of the servant bells to bring them back to working order. I started working with Doug in 2020 when Barwon Park was closed for tours due to COVID-19, however volunteers were able to carry on doing behind-the-scenes work and maintenance.
What has been the biggest highlight of your time as a National Trust volunteer?
The biggest highlight as a volunteer at Barwon Park was in August 2016 when I was awarded the National Trust Star Award for displaying leadership, inspiration, inclusion and trust.
Another highlight, although I was incredibly nervous, was being part of the Surf Coast Shire video campaign that was shared across the shire’s social media channels.
For anybody who is thinking about volunteering, what advice would you give?
I find volunteering and being able to do something I’m passionate about infinitely rewarding. As a tour guide, sharing my knowledge of the property and deep appreciation for how things were made is a definite highlight. All repair and restoration works that are done at Barwon Park are completed with best-practice heritage values and are as close to authentic as possible, which is an aspect of the job that I particularly enjoy sharing with our visitors. As a volunteer, you also get to meet a wide range of people and you’re always learning something new.
We are in regular need of committed volunteers to generously give their time, expertise and experience to assist with maintaining its many activities. We currently have volunteering roles available in many of our special places, click here to learn more.