Skip to content

Mary Cail

Volunteering from 2006

I grew up in a small country town, next door to my grandmother (born 1880) who had lived on a farm most of her life, so I heard a lot of old stories and I asked a lot of questions. During this time I mostly learnt the common, or farmer's names for plants.

I was a primary school teacher for 33 years and loved it, especially the infants children. I have always been very interested in hand-crafts, and when I was asked to tie a reef knot in my first interview ever, which was to be a volunteer in the Specimen Mounting program at the National Herbarium of NSW, I had to remember back almost fifty years, to my Girl Guide era.

I also enjoy gardening, bushwalking and walking in historical areas, towns, tracks or roads, and travelling.

 I find being a volunteer very interesting. I like the history of the plants (even the weeds), where they originated, their changing habitats and listening to others in the group who have dealt with them and who talk about their experiences. I can now recognise a lot more Australian natives but still have more to learn. 

Learn more about the diverse range of volunteer programs at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney here.