Trio loves to show us off

Vol­un­teers cel­e­brate 10 years’ ser­vice

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Meg Bolton [email protected]­ton­

YOU don’t ex­pe­ri­ence Aus­tralia from the high­way, ac­cord­ing to Fern­vale In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre vol­un­teers Mar­i­lyn Small­wood, Terry and Neil Walker.

Every shift for the past decade they en­cour­aged tourists to ex­plore coun­try roads around the Som­er­set.

“Nowa­days our lives are so very busy, es­pe­cially in the cities,” Miss Small­wood said.

“I think peo­ple need to slow down and one of the ways is to get out to the coun­try ar­eas where life is a lit­tle bit more re­laxed.”

With more than a cen­tury of lo­cal knowl­edge be­tween them, they’ve im­parted ad­vice about lo­cal parks, gal­leries and pic­nic spots to ev­ery­one who walks through the door.

“Get off the high­ways and onto lit­tle coun­try roads, that’s where you see Aus­tralia’s coun­try,” Miss Small­wood said.

Every shift was like a hol­i­day for the three vol­un­teers, who lived vi­car­i­ously through the tourists they helped.

The trio said the day they started seemed like yes­ter­day but they now proudly wore a 10 years of ser­vice pin.

“The best thing about vol­un­teer­ing is meet­ing peo­ple – you get to meet peo­ple from Bris­bane, in­ter­state and you also get in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors,” Mr Walker said.

What started as a way to spend their time dur­ing re­tire­ment quickly be­came a sta­ple in their life, con­nect­ing them with new friends and an in­creased knowl­edge of the area.

They con­stantly learned from peers, tourists and com­pany oper­a­tors who show­cased their hol­i­day lo­ca­tions in the re­gion.

While they cus­tomised their ad­vice for every tourist, Mrs Walker said she reg­u­larly sug­gested the Bris­bane Val­ley Rail Trail and var­i­ous pic­nic spots around Wiven­hoe Dam.

“The var­i­ous day spots around the dams are al­ways pop­u­lar but it de­pends on the per­son as to what they want,” Mrs Walker said.

Get off the high­ways and onto lit­tle coun­try roads, that’s where you see Aus­tralia’s coun­try.

— Mar­i­lyn Small­wood


HOL­I­DAY HELPERS: Mar­i­lyn Small­wood and Neil and Terry Walker reach 10 years of vol­un­teer­ing.

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