Becoming a volunteer
We’re growing our volunteer team at present. This is an opportunity to contribute to an iconic educational and tourist attraction, practice and learn a variety of skills as well as join a passionate and focused team.
If you’ve not volunteered on a heritage railway because of the formality, the extended training or the specialised roles, please think again.
Volunteers keep our tramway and museum running and help us build for the future.
We operate a ‘real’ railway, regulated by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and we are proud that we run a safe and professional, authentic heritage operation. To do this, we need real volunteers.
Being small, we have a minimum of formality and plenty of opportunity. You’ll often have the chance to do things your own way, while benefiting from the essential safety systems of an operating railway.
What do volunteers do?
While we need people to honour commitments made, we don’t have formal requirements for time or task. You can help one day a year or as often as you’d like. We’re a small, friendly group made up of locals and people from across Victoria.
The sorts of things you might want to do include:
- Driving a train
- Being a guard
- Selling tickets or shop items
- Being a platform host
- Laying track
- Maintaining or repairing a very wide variety of heritage machinery and equipment
- Helping with back office tasks
Naturally, different jobs need different training and supervision but we provide these. All roles require a Working with Children check (free for volunteers) and roles that are classified as ‘rail workers’ will require a medical. Some trade skills or railway experience are especially valuable, but many tasks require no prior knowledge.
Our volunteers are now organised into three teams in addition to the coordinating management group.
The engineering team is responsible for maintaining, operating and developing the tramway. The mechanical and engineering skills of this team keep our fleet of steam, diesel and petrol locomotives operating safely. They also look after active and display exhibits, undertaking scheduled and ad hoc maintenance, repairs and modifications.
We welcome a variety of skilled and unskilled people in this team. Volunteers with skills and qualifications in boilermaking, steam engine operation, diesel and petrol engine fitters are especially welcome, but other relevant skills are also needed.
Work is undertaken on running days and on other planned work days. The team provides you with the opportunity to get your hands dirty (guaranteed!) on unique heritage machinery and learn or develop a wide variety of skills.
Permanent way and projects team
The prime focus of this team at present is on maintenance and upgrading of the railway tracks. While built to a much higher standard than many of the original timber tramways in the area, our track must meet demanding modern standards for safety, reliability and even comfort.
We are also extending the trackwork to give us more flexibility in operations and longer term we plan to triple the track length with a loop extension as well as build a display shed.
If you have track building or maintenance experience, we’d love to have you join our team but you don’t need anything more than interest, willingness to muck in, and some common sense.
While the team undertakes ad hoc tasks throughout the year, our effort is concentrated on planned workdays when we gather a track gang. The work is collaborative and fun. While there’s plenty of physical work, we have large plant to speed up the work and allow us to achieve a lot in a short time.
The service team has two roles – we run the on-platform operations on running days and we maintain the grounds.
The on-platform operations include ticket sales, shop assistance, hosting visitors, providing the ‘guard’ for the train and more. No specific skills are needed for these roles and training is provided. It doesn’t matter whether you live far away and help us a few days a year or live locally and want to make it a regular Sunday activity. If you like working with people, we’ll like working with you.
Our grounds maintenance work is a mix of gardening, tree management and minor building repairs and maintenance. This work is ongoing so help is always welcome and there are always tasks to be done. At present we run regular Monday workdays which make a huge difference to the site but are also great fun, sociable and rewarding.
Outside these three teams, we need specialist skills in areas like marketing, accounting and administration. We are also preparing to set up a fourth team to concentrate on the museum and educational aspects of the operation. Anyone who has skills or interests in this area has a chance to help shape this from the beginning.
Make no mistake – we offer a great chance not only to contribute to an iconic local heritage operation but also to learn the basics of railway operation and museum management.
To volunteer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, ring us on 0427 509 988 or come and talk to us when we’re open.