This post is part of our short series of interviews with people who volunteer in the GLAMR industry (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Records). The series began with our participation in #blogjune, but there are too many amazing volunteers, places and stories to restrict them to just one month!
These stories will highlight the abundance of volunteering opportunities across Canberra, and showcase our local volunteer heroes. You can also find out how to volunteer!
Our ninth interviewee is Anne Bryant who volunteers with the National Capital Authority (NCA).
The National Capital Authority (NCA) is established under the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988.
The NCA performs a special role as the trustee of the National Capital and in this capacity serves the interests of the Australian Government, the nation and its people. The NCA manages a range of programs to inform and educate all Australians of the unique characteristics and importance of Canberra as their National Capital. The NCA manages national attractions, including the National Capital Exhibition, Blundells Cottage, the National Carillon and ANZAC Parade as well as manage the Estate. The contribution of the NCA’s volunteers as part of the volunteer programs is invaluable to the organisation.
Tell us about you and your National Capital Authority volunteer role…
Before I joined the National Capital Authority (NCA) as a guide in 2008 I had been looking for something different and more regular in a volunteering role.
A friend mentioned an advert she had seen for NCA volunteers so we went along to an information session. Needless to say I went on with it but time commitments prevented her going any further.
Over the past 50 years in Canberra I have done a wide variety of volunteering work and always enjoyed it but the NCA program presented something of a different challenge.
I have a regular commitment of a weekly 4 hour session at the National Capital Exhibition (NCE), mainly taking 1 hour education programs with interstate school groups to teach them about the special importance of Canberra. I have always enjoyed early Australian history and I find the history of Canberra is particularly interesting. These programs are a lot more ‘hands on’ than when I started with the introduction of Brick by Brick, a lego based learning activity and the content has altered to reflect changing exhibits. The NCE provides training and I do a lot of background reading as well.
What are the benefits of volunteering with the National Capital Authority?
Among the benefits of NCA volunteering is the chance to meet such a wide cross section of people. I like to feel I am helping to educate children and adults about the value of our capital city. It is very rewarding to show off its interesting and diverse attractions. So many tourists comment on how little they knew about Canberra and how impressed they are after having been here.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your volunteer role?
I enjoy the challenge of taking on new projects and on an irregular basis I also take tours at Blundells Cottage and assist with their education program.
When the Carillon is open to the public I take tours there. This year I am also taking 2 hour Magna Carta walking tours. Most tours only attract small groups which makes for a relaxed and informal time with a chance to talk to others. All these tours involve training and background reading.
National Capital Authority Volunteer Guides can specialise in education programs and public tours at the National Capital Exhibition and Blundells Cottage, conduct walking tours of national areas and assist with special events. How did you choose your specialisation?
We have great flexibility in choosing which areas we would like to cover. I chose ones that were very different from each other for the variety. When I started, guides were mainly needed for the exhibition tours and anything else was extra but that is not always the case. Other walking tours are available, such as ANZAC Parade, Lakeside, and Reconciliation Place.
Do you have a favourite insight into Canberra or local secret that you could share?
I have lived here for 52 years and it has been a great experience to watch this city develop. Things such as the filling of Lake Burley Griffin, installation of the first traffic lights on Barry Drive and Northbourne Ave and collecting mushrooms in the empty paddocks of Belconnen, make me realize just how far this city has come in such a short time. Volunteering with the NCA allows me to be able to tell others about this privileged experience.
How do people express interest to volunteer with the NCA?
If you’re interesting in being part of any of the NCA’s two Volunteering Programs: Volunteer Guide and Horticulture Volunteer, please contact Amanda Hynson, Volunteer Officer by phoning 02 6272 2962 or via email.