Volunteering is a way of life for the extraordinary Nell Carr

Mrs Nell Carr Dunorlan Volunteer

Volunteering is a way of life for the extraordinary Nell Carr

APRIL 2015JOANNE EISEMANN

THERE ARE probably not too many people in Meander Valley that have been volunteering as long as Mrs Nell Carr.

Nell started in the 60’s, (she can’t quite remember the year) as secretary of the then Deloraine Film Society. “I was nominated at an annual general meeting, no one would take it on”, says Nell.

When the manager of the Hobart Savings Bank asked her to take over his role of Secretary of the Deloraine Primary School Parents and Friends Association, she took that on, too.

Over the years, Nell’s volunteer positions have been many and varied; she was there for the first delivery of Meals on Wheels in Deloraine and was the Secretary of the Labour Party.

Nell also volunteered as the Adult Education Coordinator for Deloraine. She organised all manner of short courses for locals to attend, including gardening courses with Peter Cundall, who once told Nell that he credited his start to gardening fame from those courses. Being a humble woman, this is a badge that Nell is not too keen to wear.

Many of Nell’s volunteering pursuits have some relationship to gardening, a passion of hers.

Writing gardening articles for the Tasmanian Chapter of the Australian Garden History Association, Western Tiers newspaper and now, the Meander Valley Gazette, she is also a member of the Native Understory Network, tends the garden bed outside the Commonwealth Bank and is an active member of the Deloraine House Community Garden.

Nell says her husband used to complain that he was known as “Mrs Carr’s husband”.

Encouraged by her husband, Nell continued her education quite late in life. She says, “I majored in History and Politics when I did my degree; I finished when I was 60”.

When her husband died suddenly in 1987, Nell took over his volunteer work of recording rainfall statistics of Dunorlan for the Bureau of Meteorology.

Recycling in Deloraine began with Nell’s assistance. “Deloraine Community House was set up in 1989.

The newly formed Deloraine Environment Centre rented an office in the house, and one suggestion was that the big galvanized iron foundry next door could be used as a recycling centre. I got enthusiastic about that and, after getting council permission, contacting various recycling firms in Launceston, and sending out householder mail to residents in the locality, we set it up in October 1989”.

Another position that Nell holds dear is her role as secretary of the Upper Rubicon Landcare Group, which was set up to restore the banks of the Rubicon rivulet. One of the major tributaries rises on her farm. They raised funds to plant shelter belts, install troughs and build fences so that cattle could not access the Rubicon for water; this helps in stopping erosion, stream degradation and pollution.

Currently Nell volunteers for the Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre.

“I don’t do the front desk any more”, she shares, “at 89 I’m getting a bit dithery”.

Instead, Nell greets tourist buses and treats them to tales of Deloraine’s colourful history.

One might think that Nell must have been a lady of leisure to have time to follow all these pursuits; not so, Nell milked cows on the family dairy farm till 2002. She brushes off her enormous contributions with the comment, “If everyone stopped volunteering,the whole community would fall to bits, I’m afraid”.