5-7th May, 2017

Known for its infamous donut van and unique name, Berry was host to 20 UTS students who embarked on a journey to the beautiful lands of Berry as part of The Big Lift's support for National Volunteer Week.

On Saturday morning, the group headed to meet the volunteers at Berry Landcare. Upon arrival, we were greeted with bright smiles and a cup of tea. The volunteers informed us of the Berry Wildlife Corridor Project, which aims to conserve existent forest land, homes to many native flora and fauna between Seven Mile beach and Barren Nature Grounds. It was our job to help preserve this beautiful area! After a brief introduction, it was straight into business.

We were split into 3 groups at 3 sites. At site 1, UTS student volunteers assisted planting trees while another group pulled out wild Tabacco. At site 3, they were required to pull out weeds.

Over the weekend, together with the Berry Landcare volunteers we planted over 450 trees completing the 1month task in 2 days.

What was probably the highlight of the trip over the entire weekend was the generosity of the town’s people shown throughout the weekend. On Saturday, we were fortunate enough to be invited over to one of the volunteer’s home for dinner. It was an unforgettable night eating curry and rice on the candlelit long table under the endless stream of stars. The night was enjoyed by all, who were all engrossed by the many stories and conversations shared of our time at Berry.

There is no doubt that all had something positive to take away from this trip.

- Ai Chih Lim


7-9th April, 2017


7-9th April, 2017

After leaving UTS with 6 students and 2 crew on-board our small bus we began the long and bumpy journey to Canowindra. The excitement was high with anticipation for the first Little Lift ever. We arrived in Canowindra after a quick stop in Bathurst for some dinner and shopping. We got settled in the public-school hall which was kindly provided to us to stay in for the 2 nights. 

The next morning, we woke up bright an early ready for a morning of helping the Canowindra Public School with activities such as building an amphitheatre to teach students outside in the vegetable garden. We also assisted with smaller projects such as putting up new curtains in the canteen, cleaning gutters, tiding up the playground and redefining garden areas. It was a big morning but was enjoyed by all Lifters.

In the afternoon, we passed the time exploring the beautiful town of Canowindra. We went for a long walk and discovered a group of friendly, beautiful horses munching on grass nearby.

That evening for dinner, we walked to the Canowindra Uniting Church to enjoy a dinner kindly provide to us by the volunteers at the Canowindra Community Garden, as thanks for our efforts working there the next morning. During dinner, we got to enjoy some of the local fresh produce that was grown at the community garden right next door!

On Sunday,  we walked down to the community garden ready to spend the morning helping. After a quick masterclass in gardening we split up into smaller group  to work on tasks such as harvesting corn, tomatoes, zucchinis and pumpkins. It was a fantastic morning filled with good conversation with lots of different towns people that popped into visit us a led us a hand.

- Catherine Walsh


7-9th April, 2017

On April 7th, one bus drove 340 km from UTS to the town of Gooloogong where we unpacked at the War Memorial Hall that was to be our accomodation for the next 2 nights. After some time to settle in and a night of much needed rest, 8 UTS students rose early and arrived at the local fire brigade for the first service project.

We were split into teams and were given the task of building a fence, plant some new trees and shrubs, clean out the fire shed as well as clean the fire trucks.

We were very fortunate to have the company of some of the volunteer fire fighters at Gooloogong Fire Brigade. They shared with us the dangers of bushfires in regional Australia, and how the risks are managed by their team. We were then treated to a wonderful morning tea including pumpkin scones, homemade cakes and refreshments followed by an exciting demonstration of the vehicles! Some of us even got to pretend we were real firefighters!

In the afternoon, the Lifters recharged and drove over to the Ted Thompson Oval where we got a really authentic taste of farm life. We spent 4 hours cutting wire, removing fence posts and rolling the scrap metal into coils for transportation. We also got to watch a tractor in action as it demolished existing structures on the oval ready for its renovation.

In the evening we were treated to a meal at the Gooloogong Country Club which was absolutely delicious! We especially loved the homemade soups and the kind generosity of the staff!

On Sunday morning, the school bells at Gooloogong Primary School beckoned us as we set to work on their gardens, redefining paths, clearing rubbish and learning about landcare. We had a chat to the lovely staff at the school, including the school principal. We even got to meet a baby goat and enjoy a cuddle at the end! 

Despite the rainy weather, our spirits were not dampened as we worked through the morning. At the end of the service project we headed down to the local markets for a BBQ for everyone who was involved.

Throughout our time in Gooloogong, we were constantly reminded of the generosity we should all aspire to live by how much of a big a difference a few individuals can bring to a community. When it was time to go, we gave a big TBL YEAH BUDDY! to the townspeople in appreciation for their contribution to the pay it forward movement.

Thank you Gooloogong!

- Tash Hawkins