Independent Volunteer Groups
...with Special Thanks
The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) thanks the many individuals who, in collaboration with a large number of independent volunteer organisations, contribute over 35,000 volunteer hours annually to preserving the natural, cultural and recreational values of the Island.
The Rottnest Island Authority appreciates the interest of groups including schools, clubs and corporate groups who wish to contribute their time to volunteering on Rottnest. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to accommodate such requests outside of our established volunteer program. Please see below for the opportunities that exist through independent groups for volunteering on the Island.
Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association
The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association (RVGA) was established in 1986 to promote awareness and appreciation of Rottnest Island’s natural environment and historical significance for visitors. Guides conduct free daily tours covering the history of the settlement, the quokka, World War II guns & tunnels and Wadjemup lighthouse. Group bookings are also available by special request. Find out more about the Daily Tours.
A greater variety of activities and tours are conducted during school holiday such as bird walks, behind the scenes tours, beach walks, treasure hunts for children, as well as night activities including ghosts, mysteries and tall tales, star gazing, quiz nights and West End sunset bus trips. For more information or if you are interested in becoming a Guide please visit www.rvga.asn.au
The Winnit Club
The Winnit Club participates in five to six weekends of work on the Island annually.
Founded in the summer of 1930-31, the Winnit Club is Rottnest Island’s longest-standing volunteer organisation. While founding members initially came together for annual sailing and camping trips to Rottnest Island, they soon decided they wanted to give something back to their favourite Island.
Today it is virtually impossible to find a spot on the Island that has not benefited from the efforts of the Winnit Club. Major accomplishments include the construction of the Island’s first Nursing Post, the original ‘Quokka Shelter’ and West End board walk, the installment of emergency lighting at the Airport (with the final connections and testing being undertaken by the Department of Civil Aviation) and the restoration of the Oliver Hill Gun Battery.
This involved painting the Command Bunker and Number 2 Gun emplacements and filling hundreds of sandbags. Other significant achievements of the Winnit’s include the installation of stairs at Bathurst Lighthouse, Salmon Bay, Fay’s Bay, Geordie Bay & Narrow Neck, the paving of the P Hut and train shed, the construction of all the railway stations platforms and shelters, painting the seawall twice from end to end, maintaining the Museum and the salvaged hull of the Anitra before it was demolished, the installation of numerous beach access paths and all of the fencing from Villa Kitson to Bathurst Lighthouse.
Conserving the Essence of Rottnest
The Rottnest Foundation was formed in 1985 to help raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of Rottnest Island’s unique fragile attributes to encourage a sense of community ownership and environmental stewardship. The Foundation secures and administers funds raised through grant submissions, sponsorship and fundraising activities to support important conservation projects. Rottnest Foundation members participate in two volunteer planting days on the Island each year.
Annual Rottnest Foundation fundraising initiatives include the Rottnest Raffle, Rottnest Foundation Calendar and Rottnest Festival of Sail. All proceeds go towards supporting Rottnest Foundation Island environmental, heritage and cultural Island projects.
Funds raised by the Rottnest Foundation in collaboration with grants and sponsorships have provided funding for many projects including: the refurbishment of the World War II Battery Observation Post at Signal Ridge on Wadjemup Hill, the development of ‘Wadjemup Bidi (walking trail) planning documents, the replacement boardwalk at West End, the installation of the boardwalk in front of Aristos, the restoration & refurbishment of the ‘Discovery Centre’ building at Kingstown, the site redevelopment of Little Parakeet, engineering fees for Cathedral Rocks Seal Viewing Platform, the construction of the Gabbi Karniny Lake Vincent Boardwalk and the implementation of the Karlinyah Bidi and Wardan Nara Bidi sections of the Wadjemup Bidi.
For more information on the Rottnest Foundation’s current projects, our fundraising activities, how to make a donation or become a Sponsorship Partner, please visit www.rottnestfoundation.org.au
The Rottnest Society is an incorporated, not-for-profit group that formed in 1984. The Society recruits up to 50 volunteers to help plant trees and remove environmental weeds on Rottnest Island for 3 weekends per year. Curtin University also coordinates small groups of volunteers to assist the Rottnest Society. Over the years the Rottnest Society has planted tens of thousands of seedlings, assisted with dune rehabilitation works and helped keep environmental weeds under control on Rottnest Island. For more information, visit www.rottnestsociety.org.au/volunteer.htm
The Rottnest Society working weekends are open to non-members. Costs are minimal and there is usually fantastic participation. For further information, current dates and bookings visit www.rottnestsociety.org.au.
Conservation Volunteers have a long standing relationship with the Rottnest Island Authority. They have had many successful programs over the years with tasks including tree planting, dune rehabilitation, seawall painting, maintenance of planting sites, beach litter clean ups, removal of old fencing and more recently the initiation of full time Green Army teams on the Island. For more information on current Conservation Volunteers projects on Rottnest, and how you can get involved, please visit www.conservationvolunteers.com.au
Birds Australia is a national organisation working for the conservation and protection of Australia's native birds and their habitats. Since 1998 Birds Australia has been conducting shorebird and bushbird surveys at Rottnest Island. The data collected is used to assist the RIA in managing the Island’s terrestrial environment. For more information please visit www.birdsaustralia.com.au
Reef Life Survey
Reef Life Survey is a national organisation involving trained recreational SCUBA divers which aims to improve biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of marine resources through the production of high-quality survey information.
The Rottnest Island Authority has supported Reef Life Survey since 2008 to conduct 1-2 long weekends of surveying per year at Rottnest Island. The RIA uses this data to assist with managing the marine environment. For more information www.reeflifesurvey.com
Maritime Archaeological Association of WA (MAAWA)
The Maritime Archaeological Association of WA (MAAWA) visits Rottnest Island annually, with teams of scuba divers cleaning the underwater plaques of shipwrecks and snorkel trails to maintain their visibility for divers and snorkellers.
Rottnest Island Railway Volunteers
Since the early 1990’s a small team of dedicated volunteers has provided technical advice and skilled labor that is essential in maintaining the function of the Captain Hussey, the much loved tourist train on Rottnest Island.
Once a very important military structure, the Rottnest Island railway was built in 1935 as part of the Island’s strategic defence of Australia during World War 2.
Since the early 1990’s a small team of dedicated volunteers has provided technical advice and skilled labor that is essential in maintaining the function of the Island’s railway and the Captain Hussey, the much loved tourist train on Rottnest Island.
The Rottnest Island Railway would not be running if it wasn’t for the dedication of this great team of people who give up several weeks a year to attend regular
Rottnest Island Railway Committee meetings, railway and rolling stock inspections, working weekends and other maintenance projects.
In addition to these volunteer hours, Brookfield Rail and John Holland also make generous donations of skilled personnel and specialised equipment towards the maintenance of Rottnest Islands train and railway.
Scouts WA has made considerable contributions to the natural environment of Rottnest Island with groups of Scouts and Venturers contributing annually.
In the past, large groups of Scouts and Venturers took part in an annual “Rottnest Invasion”, a two day litter collecting and environmental blitz.
With increased public awareness about appropriate rubbish disposal, the Scout groups now focus on environmental tasks such as tree planting, seed collection and dune rehabilitation. For more information, visit www.wa.scouts.org.au/home
Rottnest Island Fire Service
The Rottnest Fire Service is a dedicated group of Island employees and commuter staff who volunteer their time to train for, and respond to fire, rescue and other related emergency incidents 24/7 on Rottnest Island. The Brigade is a privately registered brigade under the Fire Brigades Act 1942, and is wholly funded by the Rottnest Island Authority. The Brigade operates under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dept. of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES), which allows the members to receive the same training & qualifications and operational support as mainland fire brigades. The Brigade maintains a fleet of four (4) fire trucks, including two (2) ex-DFES Isuzu 2000-litre general purpose appliances (GPA), and two (2) light tanker trucks, all with 4WD capability to allow for access on the network of fire trails in the Island terrestrial reserve.
Sea Rescue Fremantle
Sea Rescue Fremantle is a group of devoted boat enthusiasts who volunteer their time to manage a fleet of five rescue vessels and a 24-hour emergency radio service. The group works with the Water Police on all emergency situations, along with the Rottnest Island Authority Rangers, to manage boating emergencies in the waters surrounding Rottnest.