Botanic gardens prepare to celebrate special milestone

Volunteer tour guide John Fraser loves to lend a hand

Find out about the new iPhone adventure game application at the gardens

THE Tondoon Botanic Gardens will be celebrating their 25 years in October and visitors service officer Donna Hann said it is all thanks to the volunteers.

The Tondoon Botanic Gardens offer a number of activities including free guided tours, barbecue areas, a new playground, picnic areas and school holiday activities.

Welcome to Gladstone Morning Tea at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
Welcome to Gladstone Morning Tea at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens. Christopher Chan GLA011112BOTA

Mrs Hann said they would not be where they are today if it wasn't for the volunteers.

"They are totally invaluable," she said.

"When you have volunteers on board you can achieve so much more.

"We're like a big family and it's a nice social outlet for volunteers to meet others, have a cuppa and a bit of a chin wag."

Volunteers are offered are number of things to participate in at the gardens.

"We try our best to arrange activities that suit their skills and interests," Mrs Hann said.

Two of the main groups in which the volunteers participate in are the visitors' service centre and in the herbrarium library.

"The visitor service volunteers do tours, school holiday activities and have school groups regularly come through the gardens," Mrs Hann said.

"It's what John Fraser does."

The herbrarium library of the gardens holds the different plants in the Port Curtis region.

"It's very significant," Mrs Hann said.

"It holds nature plants that have been dried and pressed."

One of their other volunteers, John Deno, is a passionate, amateur photographer and takes many beautiful pictures of the gardens.

"We display them in the visitors centre and people can also buy his discs," Mrs Hann said.

The gardens were originally designed to offer a sanctuary away from the industry atmosphere as well as provide an area for research, education and a tourist attraction for the region.

To become a volunteer at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens people can contact visitors' service officer Heather Congram on 49714443

Tour guide John Fraser.
Tour guide John Fraser. Christopher Chan GLA011112BOTA

John loves to lend a hand

LIVING in Gladstone since 1975, John Fraser is considered more than just a knowledgeable local. He is a kind-hearted Gladstone volunteer.

The community-minded gentleman is often seen volunteering at Tondoon Botanic Gardens, doing tours through the power station and volunteering at the information centre.

After retiring in 1998 Mr Fraser said he went back to college for awhile to study an information technology course.

During this time Mr Fraser got a phone call and was asked if he wanted to be involved in the power station tours.

"I was originally asked to take tours through the power station and at one stage I had to go to the information centre to pick up the tour and they asked me at the information centre if I'd be interested in being a volunteer there," Mr Fraser said.

"I've been a volunteer there ever since."

Mr Fraser said he gets enjoyment out of helping people and to add to his busy volunteer schedule he also started helping out at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens in about 2003.

"I feel like I'm doing something useful," he said.

"Not only that but you're meeting people from all around the world. You're learning as much from them as they are from you."

Dealing mostly with tourists, Mr Fraser said most things you do are highly appreciated.

"The thing is, we mainly deal with tourists and they have a fairly high self-esteem," he said.

"The idea of these tours is to provide an attraction for visitors and give them something to do.

"It also keeps them in town longer."

Living in the region for 37 years, Mr Fraser has a deep love and respect for the community and often has a busy week with his volunteering ventures.

"It's not uncommon to be working every day of the week on one thing or the other," he said.

"I think the volunteers benefit the community but it also benefits themselves.

"It boosts self-esteem when you are doing some good."

Mr Fraser loves giving tours around the scenic Botanic Gardens and said it is a huge tourist attraction.

"It's a refuge away for people away from the industrial scene.

"Taking children through there has also always been an important part."

Mr Fraser enjoys his time volunteering and giving back to the community.

He said it keeps you up-to-date and you are constantly meeting people.

"The thing is," he said.

"You can only sort of do volunteering if you believe in it."

Game on

On Friday December 21,  the Tondoon Botanic Gardens launched its iPhone adventure game application.

  • NAME: The Hidden Park.
  • WHAT: A game for children, specially designed for Tondoon Botanic Gardens. The idea of the game is to save the park from demolishing by solving puzzles and riddles as they go. To win you have to get photographic evidence from the gardens. When they finish they get a certificate, 'adventures award' and button badges.


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