Meet Tom Fitz Gibbon, a volunteer at Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick, a National Trust of Australia Victoria property. Hear about his passion for volunteering.

Tom Fitz Gibbon:

I’m Tom Fitz Gibbon and we’re at Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick, which is a National Trust of Australia Victoria property. I love being at Rippon Lea. What I like about doing the volunteering work is being here in this beautiful setting, but also sharing it with other people.

So, the way we try and present the house currently, is as a family home and, so, just like any family home, when you come to visit, somebody greets you at the door and, if you’re proud of your home, you take them and show them around and give them history of the house and also answer their questions and, you know, give them a sense of what life was like. So, I think heritage has a lot to tell us. It gives us a sense of where we’ve come from and stories that still resonate today. I think this is part of a thing with heritage, with places, with buildings, with those sorts of things – they’re anchors for memories.

It was difficult to think back to when I first started here at Rippon Lea in 1989 but it did awaken childhood memories when I got here. When I was a child, sometimes we’d drive past this mysterious place with fences and these huge trees. What could it possibly be and there I was, all those years later, walking in the front gate and finding out what this mysterious place was and coming in to work here.

I think volunteers bring enthusiasm to what they do because they’re not doing it because they’re paid, it’s because they feel that it’s important and they’re making their contribution. I think it inspires other people as well.

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