Where did we go?

Wyangala, nsw

On 7th July, the Blue bus arrived in our first town, Wyangala and was warmly welcomed with scrumptious dinner by Wyangala Country Club. We were lucky enough to hear a bit of Wyangala’s history from a local named Wayne. TBL lifters did a great amount of mulching in the newly built garden and all around the Wyangala Dam Public School. There were non-native trees that had to be cut down and moved outside of the school grounds. On top of that, a hundred new native plants were planted in preparation for the butterfly orchard to be opened in the coming school semester. The Lifters went to the Wyangala Golf Club and shoveled dirt to level the ground. Some Lifters picked up sticks from trees that have been cut down around the golf course in order to make it easier to mow the lawn, while the rest painted log fences. Willyn Carrascal

Mandurama, nsw

Our participants worked all around Mandurama Public School. We were split into 8 different groups, each with a different designated task. These tasks included sanding and lacquering the bench seats, digging up a garden and planting a sensory garden of lavender and rosemary, clearing waste and rubbish around the pond area, painting the black metal arch at the school entry, clearing the paths by picking up rubbish, digging out old plants from corrugated iron planters, polishing trophies, and taking down old displays of paintings inside the school hall. A few of the lifters were given the opportunity to share their experiences at university to some of the school kids of Mandurama Public School. It was a great way for us to give them an insight of the different experiences, different courses, and the pathways to reach university. We also encouraged all the kids to pursue their ambition, to work hard, and to stay in school. Seiki Okuma

Ganmain, nsw

Participants were split into three different locations for the service projects. At The Ganmain Historical Society volunteers dedicated their time to cleaning the historic artefacts both inside and outside the elevated glass cabinets while others assisted with general dusting and mopping of the museum. Out the back, lifters helped Brian, Nick, Bill and the awesome Pete by oiling the saddle seats and straps. At the Murumbang Interpretative Walk Lifters worked together in collecting all sorts of rubbish, dumpings and harmful materials that could detrimentally affect the nature reserve. In the Ganmain Community Hall lifters removed dust and cobwebs, movied furniture, scrubbed old chairs, mopped and vacuumed the surfaces. Justine Da Jose

Whitton, NSW

Our group of about 40 students, were split into three groups, in association with the service projects Tracy, the Whitton town representative wanted us to help with. These service projects included: covering the Whitton Community Hall floors with varnish, helping the local artist with her power pole artwork restoration, and helping clean up and dismantle an old garden at the Whitton Historical Museum. Some lifters helped a local volunteer by organising the inside an the office, by hanging up pictures, moving old artefacts around and some other general cleaning duties. She also enjoyed teaching our participants about the towns rich history and indigenous languages. Jemimah Vee

Finley, nsw

Work had been organised by the Finley Lions Club at various sites across the whole town utilising the full force of volunteers. In total 8 teams were formed to complete tasks at the assigned locations and were each led by a local. The group of townspeople all assisted in the labour and provided transportation to areas that were too far to walk to from the accommodation. The majority of the tasks was painting but some other jobs included mulching, cleaning and gardening. Justin Cai

Harcourt, VIC

We had 10-15 of the participants head down to the Harcourt Valley Primary School with Sue to move mulch to the equipment area for safety. The majority of the participants went to the Victorian Miniature Railway to help build tracks for the anticipated tourist site set to open in December. The participants were given a safety talk as well as a demonstration on the whole process. A handful of the participants experienced using a power drill for the first time which was really special. Many of the locals came down to help out and dispersed themselves amongst the participants to teach them new skills and exchange cultural experiences. Lifters were also asked to do the odd job here and there such as fixing up a fence line, transporting firewood, moving the steel beams etc. Daniel Snell

Dingee, VIC

Our trip to Dingee in July during our winter trip was truly a memorable one. On arrival we came face to face with a towering bonfire that the school had put on for us to keep us warm and entertained.  We then were educated by the local farmers on the realities of farming life and the impact that technology has had on the industry on the whole. Our participants had thousands of questions that the farmers were eager to answer. The Big Lift participants worked for 4 hours to paint the walls of the East Loddon P-12 College, safety lines and the surrounding fences and bins. The work was described by many as therapeutic and enjoyable and it was made easy by the help of the surrounding Dingee community, including Steven, the principle. Melissa Jimenez

Skipton, VIC

Our service projects were at the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Skipton. We were split into several groups where one were plastering and painting the interior of the manse which also began with cleaning the walls and ceilings of dust and cobwebs. Another group was garden in the front garden, weeding the plant beds and piling the debris. The last group started cleaning the garage of rubbish and predetermined junk and later in the day expanded to building a wood bonfire to burn the rubbish. The bonfire was built in a paddock that was the home of the pet horse. A town historian spoke to us about the history of Skipton and its connection to the church, and we were also given a tour of the church. Dominic Leo

Meredith, VIC

We had teams go out to various locations including the Meredith Primary School, St Joeys Op Shop, Meredith Community Hall, Meredith Cemetery, Meredith Golf Club and Meredith Community Centre. Our tasks ranged from power cleaning to gardening to painting to moving resources as needed.  We also had two groups walk around the town centre cleaning signage of graffiti and pruning trees/removing tree guards. It was a lovely day with lots of community engagement, with support from Advance Meredith, the Meredith Community Coordinators, the Primary School, local Lions Club, Rotary and volunteers from all around the community. Jenivy Sewak

Melbourne, Vic

Our stop in Melbourne, was a memorable one. In Federation Square lifters were split into their groups and given $20 to buy anything they wanted to give to strangers. This activity as known as 'Random Acts of Kindness'. It enabled lifters to get out of their shells and interact with the public and show the TBL spirit of generosity. Some groups gave people roses, stickers, free hugs and plant seeds, accompanying with it a 'pay it forward' card encouraging  that person to share their generosity to the next person. The group then collated in the center of Federation Square to dance in a flash mob (that they had been practicing throughout the trip) to the song by Zedd - 'The Middle'. The public all stood around and filmed while lifters felt exhilarated to be dancing together. We then ended the day with a celebratory dinner at a local Thai restaurant. Rachel Nordon