What a difference local volunteers make

Published on 12 July 2017

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The stunning transformation at Tuncurry's Beach and Rockpool is the result of many local volunteers' hard work over a staggering 25 years as the before and after photos show.  The first photo above was taken this year, with the second shot taken in 1993.

Tuncurry Dunecare formed in March 1992 with Jim Fawcett as the original coordinator. "Back then the Group's aim was to stop the sand drift and erosion problem that would cover the Rockpool lawn area and the car park in Tuncurry. The area we worked was bounded by the Breakwall, the caravan park and the 4wd drive access track to the Beach" says volunteer Gwen Stonham.

In 1993, NSW Public Works undertook a major project to re-form the dunes and swale area to save the Rockpool area. "After those works were complete, the area looked like a desert" said Gwen.

In the years since, successive waves of volunteers have maintained the Group at about 20 members strong. Working under Council's guidance, they've dedicated themselves to growing and planting grasses, trees and shrubs that are native to the area to stabilise the dunes - ensuring the integrity of the work undertaken in 1993.  A quick look at the after photo shows an amazing transformation.

Council's Parks Community Liaison Officer, Steve Howard says "Tuncurry Dunecare has also been a leader in dune care work, assisting and sharing their skills in planting and weed removal with other Dunecare groups along the coast including Boomerang, Seal Rocks, Treachery Head, One Mile and Hawks Nest.

"They have worked with school groups doing environmental projects, helped with water testing after the hepatitis A oyster scare and have won many awards for their Dunecare work."

Socially, they are a close bunch too, recently celebrating their 25th anniversary with a river cruise and lunch on the Manning River, attended by three original members Jim Fawcett, Frank Atchison who took over the coordinator role from Jim, and Gwen Stonham who organised the celebration.

The group is still going strong under current coordinator Mark Linton and there is still a lot of work to do to keep the dunes tidy and weed free! They work every Friday morning and start from Tuncurry Rockpool playground area at 8.30am.  New volunteers are very welcome to join this friendly crew - you can contact MidCoast Council for more information or simply visit our website volunteer page and complete the expression of interest form.