Peter and Margie Calder are much valued Bush Heritage volunteers. Over the past few years they've volunteered over 20 weeks of their time to their 'local reserve' – Bon Bon Station Reserve (well it is only a day's drive away!). They wrote this article after completing their eighth placement at Bon Bon for Reserve Managers Mike Chuk and Julia Harris.
We first met Mike Chuk at Cravens Peak Reserve in far North-Western Queensland, when we were volunteering there.
Our task then was to help burn a wide fire break in the spinifex along an East-West track; there had been a damaging wildfire some years before and the fire break was created to help reduce the spread of any new blaze. We were impressed by Mike’s knowledge of the environment and when we heard that he and Julia had been appointed managers of Bon Bon Station Reserve we looked for an opportunity to work with them again. In any case, Bon Bon was only one day’s travel from Adelaide compared to three days to Craven’s Peak.
As it turned out, our first visit to Bon Bon was the same week that they moved in from Longreach, Queensland. We were able to attend to some of the urgent tasks waiting for the new managers while they unloaded their possessions and started to unpack them. When settling into a new position there is lots to do and the list seems to be endless. Because we'd met before, they were able to give us a list of tasks and then leave us to get on with the job.
Since that first visit, we've volunteered at Bon Bon at least eight times undertaking a wide variety of tasks. These have included repairs to roof fascias and gutters, painting of doors and windows, replacing of shade-cloth sun protection, repairing sash cord windows, replacing a wind-damaged roof on the ‘cowboy’s hut’, spraying invasive buffel grass around the homestead and along the Stuart Highway and helping to set up the museum in the old single men’s quarters.
One satisfying task was to help dismantle an old windmill that had been pushed over some time in the past and which made the homestead area look uncared for.
We've come to know Mike and Julia well over the past few years; this is one of the attractions of volunteering – one meets so many interesting and talented people that our lives are enriched. Even though Bon Bon seems to be far from anywhere, there are always people to meet, be they contractors, volunteers, students or neighbours.
We've become so familiar with Bon Bon that we have an attack of nostalgia whenever we turn onto the property. To us, this feeling of being part of the Bush Heritage spirit is what it is all about. If we can contribute towards the success of even one small part of the Organisation, we will be happy.'
Thanks Peter and Margie!