Volunteer Week ft. Eion Beaton

National Volunteer Week (NVW) is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution more than 6 million Australian volunteers make to communities across the nation.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee are grateful for the support environmental volunteer groups contribute to help preserve the natural coastline for future generations. This week we would like to showcase some of our dedicated volunteers and say thank-you for their ongoing contributions to the environment.

Taylors Park has come a long way over the past 30+ years thanks to the support of the Friends of Taylors Park group.

Eion Beaton from Friends of Taylors Park has a long history of volunteering, dating back to when he was just 13 years old.

“I’ve been part of volunteer groups including CFA outfits, garden club, Friends of Taylors Park and the Friends of Deep Creek for many years,” he said.

Eion Beaton is one of the active members of the Friends group who helps keep the park the natural oasis of Torquay.

Friends of Taylor’s Park formed from a group of passionate locals who were trying to protect the area in 1989.

Mr Beaton gave a guided tour of the unique flora in the park. Here he stands beside one of three lemon scented gums (Corymbia citriodora).

“We had 20 or more active members who were all trying to prevent developers taking over the parkland which was deemed prime real estate.

“Over the years, we have been tackling weeds including agapanthus, watsonia, serrated tussock and polygala which are all pretty much under control,” he said.

The Friends of Taylors Park group used to be involved in market stalls to help promote the area. Photo: Eion Beaton.

Mr Beaton said he really enjoyed the little oasis the park offered in central Torquay stating that the ‘tranquility of the park is better than anywhere else’.

After moving to the little sea-side village of Torquay 32 years ago, Mr Beaton said he has seen the town change a lot over the years and was pleased Taylors Park continues to remain untouched by developers.

Photo of the groups stall in the 90s. Photo: Eion Beaton.

“We operate as a support role for the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee to let them know what’s urgent and when weeds are too large for our group to remove,” Mr Beaton said.

The upgraded ponds and restored vegetation in the park has attracted a large variety of fauna, including the iconic Rosella’s. Photo: Eion Beaton.

“Whilst our group is small, it’s always great to see members from the public picking up rubbish as they walk through the park,” Mr Beaton said.

Friends of Taylors Park members at one of the working bees in the 90s. Photo: Eion Beaton

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Environment and Conservation Manager Katie Dolling said small actions like collecting rubbish on walks is an important contribution for the protection of our coastline.

“It may seem like volunteering is a difficult, time consuming task, however several members of the public already volunteer by collecting rubbish on their daily walks which helps protect our marine wildlife.

Rubbish collections and weed removal were the key activities at several working bees to help restore Taylors Park’s natural vegetation. Photo: Eion Beaton

“Small actions like these are equally important to the ongoing protection of our coastline, along with removing weeds, and respecting the conservation zones that houses indigenous flora.

Eion Beation remains an active member of the Friends of Taylors Park group, removing weeds on his morning walk.

Great Ocean Road Coast Community Engagement Manager David Petty said connecting with the wider community is an integral part of successful coastal management.

“Our conservation efforts are continually supported by environmental volunteers who actively contribute around 10,000 hours or the equivalent of around six full time staff to our coastline each year.

A hobby photographer, Mr Beation enjoys capturing the close ups of the beautiful wildflowers at Taylors Park and Deep Creek.

“These groups are the backbone of the work we conduct along the coast and without the dedication, knowledge and time these individuals devote to our coastline, we would not have the areas and biodiversity we have today,” he said.

Want to get involved? Visit our website for more information about the volunteer groups in our area and their regular working bees. Whether you have a spare weekend, hour or want to make an ongoing commitment, these groups would love to hear from you!

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