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The Mayor on Monday

Monday, 9th May, 2011

LET’S CELEBRATE: Volunteer week is a chance to recognise all the hard work done by many quiet achievers. LET’S CELEBRATE: Volunteer week is a chance to recognise all the hard work done by many quiet achievers.

Celebrating our volunteers

Tomorrow night our community will celebrate the wonderful work done by our volunteers.

As a part of 2011 National Volunteer Week the Broken Hill community will say thank you.

Without these volunteers our community would struggle to provide so many services that are vitally important to our lives and often we forget to say thank you.

Since 1901, when the Broken Hill Football League was first established, there has been thousands of volunteers - from waterboys through to club officials - and they all play their part in making football the great game it is.

This can also be said of any sporting organisation. Without volunteers sport would die a cruel death.

The South Volunteer Fire Brigade was established in 1893, the Women's Relief Committee established to feed families during the 1909 mine lockout and voluntary military forces joined police in a three-hour gun battle after two men tried to ambush the train carrying civilians en route to an annual picnic in nearby Silverton in 1915.

Broken Hill has always had volunteers who put their hand up to make sure things were done.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service was established in the city in 1937 and continues to have a team of volunteers who fundraise and educate the community about the services it provides and volunteers co-ordinate and continue to work for St John's Ambulance, the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and home care.

There has also been a strong committment to the environment with the establishment of the Barrier Field Naturalists Club in 1920 and, to this day, committees dedicated to the environment include the Riddiford Arboretum Management Committee (1988), RRANA, Landcare, Darling River Action Group (DRAG) and Residents Against a Contaminated Environment (RACE).

The city's arts and culture sprang to life in 1904 (Broken Hill has the oldest regional art gallery in New South Wales). The BH Eisteddfod Society was up and running in 1970 and still continues to this day run by volunteers.

The area of the arts is so important to the economy of Broken Hill and there are volunteers in all areas of arts and culture including singing, dance, art and music.

Recognised as an important priority for the city during the Community Strategic Planning process, volunteer recognition and support now has its own dedicated Council program.

The Volunteer Ambassador Program is an evolving project - but given that there are 70 people attending tomorrow's inaugural volunteer community conference and 370 expected at the recognition and awards ceremony tomorrow night - I guess we must be on the right track.

The inaugural Volunteer Recognition Awards will be presented to a number of people and organisations. There were 47 nominations for the 10 awards and I believe all are worthy of recognition.

It was a difficult decision but an inspiring moment for me as I reflected on the great work our volunteers do.

So come on, anybody that has some spare time put your hand up and get involved and help out in any way you can.

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