Interviewees: Various

Interviewer: Frank Heimans,
            for Baulkham Hills Shire Council

Transcription: Catherine Sapir, May, 2006

This interview represents the personal recollections, views and opinions of the interviewee(s)


We asked the volunteers in this project how their lives have been transformed by their volunteer experience?

Jill Morgan: I’m a totally different person. Having become a volunteer I’ve learned and I’ve grown so much. I’ve learned a lot about me and I’ve learned a lot about the Shire I live in. I’ve learned a lot about the people that make up the Shire. The main thing that I’ve learnt is that I can do it. Yes, I think that’s got to be it. It’s given me the confidence to look forward to future challenges, I suppose, and know that I can give it my best shot. It’s given me confidence that way.

What do you personally get out of being a volunteer?

Harry McLean: I guess a lot of satisfaction. You get to meet a lot of people, particularly around the area when we go around doing property inspections or burning piles for people, new residents when they move in, we get to meet them so it’s a good thing to get to meet everybody around you and talk to them and they know who you are then if they need to call someone. I guess it’s more not what you can get out of it as what can you do for the movement because I think most people have something to offer even if it’s just a young person that knows nothing about it, they might be fit and strong and you can show them what to do and they can do that whereas older people can come along with knowledge in communications, radio equipment. We have so many varied types of people in the Brigade and you can use all of their skills.

Dawn Matthews: Volunteers are the people who get up there. They don’t necessarily say "here I am, I am a volunteer, I’m doing this", they get up there and start being leaders and create the energy to do a job that wouldn’t get done without them. Somebody stands up there and says "I can see a need, let’s get it done" and they’re not standing up and saying "the Government should do this or the Government should do that", they get up there and they do it. They are the example of what we are, what we can be and what we need to be to survive in the future.

When you look back at some 35 or so years of volunteering, what’s the main thing you’ve learnt from that experience?

Keith Vallis: People aren’t always easy to understand. You’ve got to think very deeply about how people want to be involved in things and at times seem to be hesitant but you generally find that you can convince them that this is not a difficult thing that I’m asking you to do, wouldn’t you be prepared to come along and do it. I’ve found that people in the main are always there when you want them but at times it takes a bit of convincing.

Do you think that volunteers get enough recognition for the work that they do?

Keith Vallis: Well I think personally that most volunteers that I know don’t want recognition for what they do because, like me, the value of it is in what you achieve and what you get for yourself. Personally I’ve never thought I’ll do this because if I go there to the Council meeting someone might give me a pat on the back. That’s not what you do it for.

Rebecca Heinrich: It’s my chance to make a difference. There’s no more to it. It’s my chance to give something back and to say thank you for all the support I get from people. It’s my chance to do the same thing to other people and it’s just my little gift that I love giving to humanity and trying to encourage people, both young and old, to follow their dreams and reach out there and make sure that they reach their potential.

This Oral History project was produced by Frank Heimans of Cinetel Productions. The project was co-ordinated by Baulkham Hills Shire Library Service. The opinions in the Oral History interview tapes and the compilation CD are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent in whole or in part the position of the The Hills Shire Council.