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Community & Business

20 June, 2023

Volunteers celebrated at afternoon tea

Without our volunteers here in Gilgandra, the town would not have the charm that it does.

By Emily Middleton

It’s the friendly smile we get walking through the visitors centre, the passion our historians have at the Gilgandra Museum, the hands that keep our elderly and children fed with Meals on Wheels and breakfast club, hours spent at sporting fields, op shops, raising money for charity – that’s what makes Gilgandra so special.

Last week was Volunteer Week, and Gilgandra celebrated by hosting some of the dedicated ‘doers’ of the town for an afternoon tea. Mayor Doug Batten thanked the volunteers for their continuous support, stating that they are the reason Gilgandra was the only western NSW small town with an increase in population (ABS 2021).

“It’s because of the friendly people that greet our visitors, that make them want to come back and stay,” he said.

One of Gilgandra’s longest serving volunteers continues her dedication and support today. Shirley Marks, alongside Max Zell and Pat Lummis were three of the original volunteer members that put their hands up back in 1988 to help at the museum and visitor centre.

“Council was looking for volunteers for the new local history museum and visitor centre, and Max Zell was on council, and so was the late Doug Lummis, Pat’s husband, and they both went on to be volunteers, and I thought it looked alright so I put my hand up,” explained Mrs Marks.

“It’s was good fun and it was interesting. The tourists were lovely; they always came in and said this was the best visitor centre they’ve been to.”

Since then, Mrs Marks continues to volunteer at the Gilgandra Museum. She says it’s the interesting history that keeps her going, and being able to pass that knowledge on, as well as learning from the visitors that stop by.

“I just love talking to people, and hearing what they have to say. They’re always very interesting,” said Mrs Marks.

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