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22 May, 2022

Half a century of volunteering

ROB Fuller has spent more than half a century of his life helping others, pursing his lifelong passion for volunteering since he was 15.

By Rhys Thomas

Tolga's Rob Fuller has spent his entire life devoted to others, volunteering his time day in and day out..

Rob is one of thousands of people in the region who volunteer their time to various organisations and this week, they are being recognised through National Volunteer Week. Born in Ingham in 1950, Rob took on his first volunteering job by becoming a member of Australia’s first ever Leo Club, a Lion’s Club for youths. During his time in Ingham, Rob held five different committee positions for five separate organisations including the Leo Club, Taylors Beach Progress Association, Hinchinbrook Cordelia Masonic Lodge, Herbert River Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Ingham Tennis Association, which he is a life member of. 

Rob opted for a change in scenery and volunteering options in 1998, moving to Tolga with his wife Helen where they immediately started seeking volunteering opportunities to keep themselves busy. 

“We like to contribute to the community, we are not ones to sit around,” Rob said.

It did not take long for Rob to become the president of the Atherton Chamber of Commerce, holding the position until 2003. The Tolga Museum and the Atherton Turf Club were often spots where you could spot Rob donating his time, helping people explore history at the museum or serving behind the bar at the racecourse.

 In 2003, Rob was elected to the board of the Atherton International Club and served as treasurer for three years before being offered the position of manager. Just six years on, Rob had his hand in another volunteering pot, joining the Association of Australia Assistance Dogs (NQ) Inc. based in Mareeba. 

Rob was elected president of the Tolga Historical Society in 2010, a position he has remained in for the past decade. During his time in the top job, the museum has seen many wonderful additions including new displays and expansions to the existing museum space. For his countless hours of selfless service to these groups and his wider community, Rob has been honoured with four life memberships including the Tolga Historical Society, Association of Australian Assistance Dogs (NQ) and the Atherton International Club. Rob was also nominated for Citizen of the Year in the 2021 TRC Australia Day awards. 

Rob stressed the importance of volunteers because, unlike other jobs, volunteers do not get paid for the work they do. He said there was always a chance to thank volunteers for their service on days other than National Volunteer Week. 

“I was always told this when I worked at the post office – even though your staff come in to do a job and get paid, you thank them at the end of the day,” he said. “It is the same for volunteers, all volunteers work for nothing, no pay. “So, it is a little bit of a thank you at the end of the day when you are about to go home.

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