Volunteering in Australia

Celebrating National Volunteers Week 2024
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As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we want to say a huge thank you to all our Voluntroves. Your contributions, through activities like text-correcting, list-making, tagging, note-writing and more, help us improve access to the 14 billion stories in Trove. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, and the diverse voices and interests of our community, are what make it so special. 

We’re taking a moment here to share some of the stories our volunteers have surfaced within Trove through their contributions. We’ll also look at Australia’s love of volunteering and how you can find these stories in Trove.

Volunteers, Official Launch, Chinese New Year, Market City, Quay Street Haymarket
Volunteers, Official Launch, Chinese New Year, Market City, Quay Street Haymarket, 2004, trove.nla.gov.au/work/251148296

Community voices 

When we’ve asked members of the Trove community why they love Trove and Voluntroving, they’ve given us many reasons. These are just a few we’ve received recently: 

“I am interested in women and children who lived in the suburb where I live. I love correcting the wonderful contributions of children to newspapers in the early years of the WA colony.”

– Jennifer Elizabeth Bull

“I just enjoy transcribing the articles when I have a spare few moments. I have made many lists of the ancestors, and tagged them so they are easier for people to find.”

– Sharyn Willis 

“Trove is a national treasure and such an important way to not only reflect and learn from history but to bring it back to life in modern day storytelling.”

– Elizabeth Holmsen

Volunteering in Australia 

Volunteering is a significant part of Australia's history and culture, and Trove is full of these stories. A recent Volunteering Australia report, captured in our website archive, tells us that in 2020 over 6.5 million people volunteered informally within their community. People with disability make up more than a quarter of Australia’s volunteers, and one of the most common motivations for volunteering is helping others and their community. 

Two people with gardening equipment spreading mulch in rainforest section at the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden
Murray Borrell, Volunteers spreading mulch in rainforest section at the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, trove.nla.gov.au/work/240314759  

If you search the word “volunteer” in Trove, you’ll find over 2 million newspaper results, almost 20,000 images, and over 3,000 volunteer-made public Trove lists. Looking through some of your lists we’ve found stories about volunteers in local communities across Australia and in a range of roles. Browse some of the lists we found when searching “volunteer” in the list category: 

A common theme is stories surrounding wartime volunteering, both within the military and on the home front. 

Volunteer firefighters is another favourite topic... 

As is volunteering in local communities. 

And finally, one for our furry friends. 

A Volu-what? 

If you’re new to Trove, you might be wondering what a Voluntrove is and how you can get involved. You can become a Voluntrove by adding your knowledge, organising research, improving Trove's metadata, and sharing discoveries with others. In short, our Voluntroves contribute by: 

Our community is growing with over 40,000 new Trove users signing up for Trove accounts in 2023. Read more about our community of Voluntroves and how you can join. 

Connect with the Trove community on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe to our monthly Trove Treasures newsletter.