PASSION FOR PEOPLE AND PLACE: Volunteers in the Central Highlands, who willingly give their free time to our small communities.
PASSION FOR PEOPLE AND PLACE: Volunteers in the Central Highlands, who willingly give their free time to our small communities. Contributed

Our local heroes are true blue

EVERY community, be they large or small, relies heavily on its local volunteers and, without these willing contributors happy to give freely of their time and passion, many communities would suffer and lots of activities would simply not happen.

This column is all about knowing our own backyard, promoting what's going on and the natural and non-natural assets of our region.

There is one group of passionate volunteers who not only know their own backyard inside and out, but they live it and are happy to promote and share their experiences and knowledge to more than 60,000 visitors to our Central Highlands year in year out.

This week "Discovering our own Backyard” recognises those volunteers who know our region right down to the smallest detail.

These volunteers perform an outstanding service in promoting the central highlands to visitors and to our locals.

The Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre in Emerald, along with the Federation Woolshed info centre in Springsure, the Blackwater International Coal Centre and the Duaringa Info centre, all operate from a significant volunteer base.

If I can use the Emerald centre as an example, there is more than 115 years of combined volunteer service; one volunteer alone has 27 years and a number around the 14-15 year mark, all in all a huge commitment.

One thing that is guaranteed when you drop into any of our local visitor centres is the high level of friendly service and local knowledge of all things here in our very own backyard, what there is to see and do, what events are on, where to have your glasses fixed or where to find the local pet minding service that will look after your faithful dog while you enjoy one of our many national parks.

All these visitor centres are always on the lookout for new volunteers.

Volunteering comes with some training and local knowledge building activities and provides not only a worthwhile community service, it also offers a social atmosphere and friendship building activities and the hours can be tailor made to suit each volunteer's needs.

So if you like a chat and reckon you know all there is to know about your particular town and region and would like to volunteer your passion and knowledge then I would encourage you to drop into your local visitor information centre or contact me at the Central Highlands Development Corporation on 0749824386.

I will put you in contact with the right person to talk to, we would love for you to be part of our volunteering team and have you helping others to discover our own backyard.