Celebrating our volunteers


National Volunteers Week  is currently underway, and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) would like to acknowledge and thank all the fantastic local volunteers who help look after our iconic coastline year after year.

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Environmental volunteer Alain Purnell says Stony Creek is one of Lorne’s hidden gems, and Lornecare’s favourite working bee locations.

Throughout the week, GORCC is featuring some of their fantastic environmental volunteers across their blog and social media, including Lornecare founder and Co-Convenor Alain Purnell.

No stranger to working with the environment, Mr Purnell was the General Manager of Environmental Affairs at BHP Billiton for a number of years before moving to Lorne in 1998.

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The rehabilitated lily pond at Stony Creek.

Mr Purnell said he enjoyed the change of scene and getting his hands dirty, and believes he has personally benefited from the environmental volunteer work.

“It’s a great feeling to work in an area along the coast as a group and see the difference we make at each site,” he said.

As co-founder of LorneCare, one of Mr Purnell’s first major tasks was tackling the Stony Creek Reserve – an area which was previously overgrown with blackberries.

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Mr Purnell takes a stroll through the Stony Creek, the Lornecare group’s favorite area.

“Our first project at Stony Creek has completely transformed the area over the years and turned the reserve into a beautiful space. It’s one of my favourite areas,” he said.

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Alan Sherlock removes unwanted weeds at a LorneCare working bee last year. Photo: Alain Purnell.

Mr Purnell is involved in several community committees and groups and said it was the social dimension of volunteering that was the most motivating aspect.

“I get a lot of satisfaction seeing people from all parts of the community come together and work harmoniously to improve the natural areas in Lorne.”

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Volunteers of all ages get their hands dirty to help the coastal envrionment thrive! Photo: Alain Purnell

“We have permanent residents, holiday home owners and visitors who may have differing opinions on community development or future plans for Lorne, however all work together to make a visible difference in the environment.

Mr Purnell said it was all about the balance between working and socialising, with a morning tea break and BBQ at the end.

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The long awaited BBQ after the morning working bee. Photo: Alain Purnell.

“My suggestion to anyone who is thinking about getting involved, is to come along and experience the working bee. It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet great people,” he said.

LorneCare working bees are held on the third Sunday of each month and is a wonderful chance to have a learning experience in the Great Ocean Road’s picturesque surroundings.

Meeting place notices for the working bees are in the Lorne Independent or on the Lorne Notice Board near the post office. Alternatively you can contact Alain on 0417 031 905 for more information.

Not in Lorne but still want to help out? Go to our website to find your local environmental group. 

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