Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Library volunteers

Please note that there are currently no opportunities for volunteering in the Library.

Library Volunteers provide assistance to the Library staff by helping to shelve materials, covering and end-processing books, scanning, stocktaking journals and other smaller discrete projects. There are also bigger projects like the Oral History Project. The Library is undergoing an ongoing major overhaul as well as having a demanding daily workload. Experience is very useful.

Volunteers have been the lifeblood of the Library in recent years, rescuing valuable at-risk collections and making so many things possible. In early 2004 a number of volunteers joined the Library’s long-time sole volunteer, Sunday Brent.

The volunteers’ projects grew out of staff frustration with the disastrous way that the Library’s photographs were housed - in shoe boxes, folders, envelopes, filing drawers or sitting in loose piles in seven  or more different locations. Too many years of understaffing and other priorities. Since then we have had a number of teams and individuals working on a variety of projects. They have amazed and gratified the staff who have, because of their help, been able to concentrate on other things.

The Photographic Team

Evelyn Shervington and Gwenda Levy, and sometimes Rosemary Blakeny have painstakingly sorted through thousands of photographs and negatives and rehoused them in subject based archival folders. They have documented and barcoded them and prepared them to the point of cataloguing. Friends of the Botanic Gardens pilot funding digitised some of the images. Evelyn continues to work on this project, sorting further photographic images and creating electronic records of the collection's documentation.

When the photograph collection is finally scanned into the soon-to-be-available Digital Assets Management System, and catalogue records are created, this photographic collection of the history of the three Gardens and the Domain will be available online in the Library’s catalogue.

The Art Team

Margot Child and Pamela Bell waded through a mass of material, sorting, documenting them and rehousing them in archivally-sound boxes, sleeves and folders. This included many small collections and individual works, as well as the massive collection of botanical illustrations of Margaret Flockton, Mary Maiden and others. Funding will be sought for digitising these images and making them available in the Library’s catalogue.

Elizabeth Thilo is continuing this work - having sorted and documented the contents of two plan presses, she is now creating an electronic record of the artworks with the view to an audit of the greater collection of Trust artworks.

Oral History 

John Pearce, has developed the oral history project from the ground up and recorded many interviews of past and present staff, of people who lived within the grounds and other volunteers working at the Gardens.  The oral history project will continue to grow and will make a significant contribution to the Garden's bicentennial celebrations.

Individual Volunteers

Many individuals have also done extraordinary work. 

Lois Stewart was a stalwart volunteer coming in once or twice a week to do the shelving, working with the journals collection and other essential chores, including sorting out many years of Trust publications and storing them in archival folders.

Diane Calder provided invaluable assistance in a very wide variety of ways over many years, including the invaluable work on the serials collection.

Jasmine Jordan translated and catalogued many Japanese camellia publications and sorted a large backlog of rolled up maps and plans, rehousing them in protective Mylar and cataloguing them 

Many other volunteers have given us many days of their time to undertake a host of small tasks and projects, assisting staff or freeing staff to work on urgent essentials and the bigger picture projects that have transformed the Library in recent years. 

Many of our volunteers have been ex-work experience students gaining more experience before finding work and occasional visitors coming in whenever time is available. Collectively they have undertaken partial stocktakes of the journals, reshelved journals after the upheaval of the back corner re-development, replaced archivally unsound file boxes, completely overhauled the contents of two plan presses, relocated the contents of 28 filing cabinets, reboxed part of the microfiche collection, covered new books, covered old leather bound volumes to hold them together and stop the cascading red rot.  The list of tasks undertaken is endless!

Vale Lois Stewart

Lois Stewart was a wonderful volunteer for more than 6 years. She died in June 2010. Lois was always delightful and cheerful, with a great sense of humour and a sharp mind. A gentle and caring lady. We never suspected that she had cancer throughout her time with us. She preferred to avoid any fuss and always cheerfully referred to her absences for chemotherapy as being 'grandchildren duties' and would say how glad she was to be back. We all miss her enormously. 

Lois
Lois Stewart

Gwenda & Evelyn
Gwenda Levy & Evelyn Shervington

Art team volunteers
Margot Child & Pamela Bell 

John Pearce
John Pearce

Volunteers group
Diane Calder, Judy Calder, Kathleen Allen, Ben Ross, Lesia Hrubyj

Matthew Nash
Matthew Nash