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Maatsuyker volunteers sought

20/08/2007

The Parks and Wildlife Service is seeking self-sufficient volunteers able to withstand the buffeting of the Roaring Forties for a four month stint at Australia's southernmost lighthouse on Maatsuyker Island.

Maatsuyker, part of the Southwest National Park, is famous for its rugged setting, 10 kilometres off the coast of Tasmania.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney said volunteers have been assisting the Parks and Wildlife Service in the management of the natural and cultural values of the island for a number of years.

"As a result of the success of the program on Maatsuyker, we're again seeking expressions of interest from people willing to undertake these duties during a four-month placement on the island," he said.

"Volunteers provide a presence on the remote island and help to maintain the buildings and machinery."

On Maatsuyker Island volunteers also work with the Bureau of Meteorology under a separate contract to carry out daily weather observations.

Mr. Mooney said that within the community there is enormous affection for lighthouses and the volunteer caretaker programs provide a means for people to contribute to the ongoing preservation of lighthouses and the islands on which they are located.

"Volunteer caretakers on Deal and Maatsuyker islands are very important in preserving the cultural heritage of the islands, including residences and outbuildings," he said.

Volunteers contribute more than 50,000 hours of labour to conservation programs in parks and reserves around Tasmania and by far the largest number of volunteer hours was contributed in caretaker programs at Deal and Maatsuyker islands.

These programs provides on opportunity for people to either have extended stays at island lighthouses or be involved in working bees of one or more days as part of a friends group.

An advertisement for the Maatsuyker Islands volunteer caretakers has been placed in Tasmania's three daily newspapers.

Further information can be obtained from Albert Thompson at Parks and Wildlife Service, Huonville, Tasmania on telephone (03) 62648464, or by e-mail to Albert.Thompson@parks.tas.gov.au
Expressions of interest close 5pm Friday 31 August 2007.