Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve


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It is with great pride and much pleasure that we can announce that two of our longest serving volunteers Margaret Rackham and Amanda Simpson have had their many years of service recognised at the recent Deakin Community Awards 2015 night.


As active, founding members of the ‘Friends of the HFR’ both Margaret and Amanda have been generous, supportive and committed volunteers. We owe the success of our campaign to their hard work, as well as the work of all our other volunteer members and the support of the community at large.

No matter what the task or where the work needed to be done, they put their hand up to help wholeheartedly at every occasion. Margaret even spent several days at the State Archives and State Revenue Offices, researching the history of the corridor. Gathering petitions, letterboxing dropping, helping with the planning and running of community events, they helped with every aspect throughout the period of the campaign, now they are helping with the planning for the next phase, with the same commitment and dedication. The community owes these caring selfless people a huge debt of gratitude.


Besides the FoHFR, they also serve the community on several other community groups. Here are some of the other areas they make a contribution in -


Amanda has been a volunteer at Bungalook nursery (a community nursery that grows local native plants) for many years, she works in the nursery every week, in addition she is on the committee and puts in many hours of administrative work to help keep the nursery functioning properly. She also volunteers at three parks in Whitehorse - Cootamundra Walk, One Lake road reserve and Esplanade reserve. Through many hours of regular work she has helped to improve the biodiversity of these parks by weeding, planting and mulching. Most community members find volunteering at just one city park to be what they can manage, as it entails a commitment to attend regular working bees, how Amanda finds time to help out at three, on top of her considerable commitment to Bungalook nursery and other community work is a testament to her selflessness and generosity of spirit .

Amanda also volunteered at St Paul’s College, Kew, which is a school for children with disabilities. She helped look after the garden there and cared for the children as well. All this is done quietly, far away from the lime light and without seeking any attention. She is an inspiration and one of the most community minded people we have had the privilege to know and work with.


Margaret is one of the founding members of the Nunawading Community Gardens, which incidentally is the first and oldest community garden in Australia (something that is not that well known and we should be proud of that history). It was started in 1977 and since then, for 39 years Margaret has been involved with its running. She has been on the committee for most of that time, with only a few years when she had other commitments and was not on the committee, even then she contributed as a member.

Every year Margaret thinks nothing of driving down in her own car to farms near Bendigo to buy seed potatoes for all the plot holders, she loads some 200kg and hauls them to Melbourne, so that annually all the members have good quality seed potatoes at reasonable prices. A remarkably generous and kind act, that is extremely physically strenuous as well.

Margaret is also an active member of the Vermont garden club, Royal Horticulture Society, Vermont Bulb group. She serve on the committees that run these groups and does a large part of the organisation and back end work that keeps such organisations afloat. Through the work that Margaret does for these groups, so many people of all ages but particularly in the older demographic, are able to stay active and connected with other likeminded people who share the same interests and passions.

Margaret generously shares her knowledge and love of gardens & gardening with everyone and we are the richer for it. She is a tireless worker, never looking at how much time and effort she puts in and at what personal cost. She never seeks the lime light, if she sees something that needs doing for the group, she just gets up and does it. It is our privilege to know and work with such an amazing community minded person.