Published on 16 May 2022
Volunteering for the good of your community is great at bringing people together - just ask Hetty Browning and Phyllis Corin.
The pair have been volunteering together at Aberfoyle Park's Hub Library for a total of 61 years between them, epitomising the theme of this year's National Volunteer Week (16-22 May), 'Better Together'.
Hetty and Phyllis's volunteer coordinator Gillian Craik recently asked the pair about memories of their friendship and volunteering.
Gillian: Hetty, you’ve recently reached the milestone of 28 years of service at the Hub Library. What do you get from volunteering?
Hetty: A lot of satisfaction. I get to meet people and the staff at the library are so nice, but it’s the contact and social aspects I enjoy the most.
Phyllis: Yes, I’m much the same. It’s the company and feeling like you’re doing something for yourself and the community. Plus, its physical exercise putting the books away; lots of bending and squatting. I didn’t know anyone when I first started (January 1989). There’s been a lot of alterations since then. Back then we received six weeks training to become a volunteer. There was a lot more variety in our tasks back then too. More repairs, more book covering and more socialising with the other volunteers. Now we just put the books away. The past few months we’ve also been helping cover the school text books for the year 7’s. That’s been taking a lot of time.
Gillian: Why have you both stayed so long?
Phyllis: It’s familiar, you get to have a look at the books, you learn something new every day and it’s good company.
Hetty: Well, for the reasons above really.
Gillian: How has it created your friendship?
Hetty: We met here at the library when I started in 1994, but also through Probus and got friendly that way. Eventually we ended up working on the same day and it’s gone from there. We’ve been on holidays together too; Budapest to Amsterdam was wonderful. COVID has changed things. Our hours have been cut back but that’s OK. We’ve had some funny moments and seen so many changes.
Phyllis: I remember when I stunk out the library with eucalyptus spray. I was busy cleaning the shelves and then someone came over and asked me to stop as the whole place smelt like eucalyptus. I didn’t mind, I liked the smell. We loved Solomon the snake being in the library and the children would always come straight over to see him. He was quite the drawcard.
Gillian: Have you felt recognised as volunteers in the library?
Phyllis: one of my proudest memories is receiving a clock in recognition of my 20 years of service. I still have it and look at it daily; I’m really proud of that.
Hetty: We were really pleased when Julie Morgan (former team leader) called us over to join in the staff meeting when she was telling everyone she was retiring. We felt valued and included. Julie was always great to the volunteers. All the staff have been lovely and helpful. It’s a great place to be.
A huge thank you
Australia has almost six-million volunteers and each year National Volunteer Week (NVW) celebrates the significant contribution made by each person. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, recognising that together, through volunteering, we are changing communities for the better.
City of Onkaparinga celebrates NVW by recognising significant milestones for many volunteers in the council volunteer program, and by promoting NVW across the city.
This year, 59 council volunteers reached milestone years of service (five, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years) in the council program, and they'll be presented with years-of-service certificates during their programs this week. Congratulations and thank you for your service!
For more information about volunteering with council, visit the website.