Media release | 1 June 2022
An 83-year-old Toukley resident who dedicates his time helping maintain the Crown land reserve at historic Norah Head Lighthouse has been named the Central Coast’s Volunteer of the Year.
Tony Ward has been recognised by Volunteering Central Coast for his hard work and dedication to the community despite suffering a stroke in 2016 that cost him the ability to speak, read and write.
Mr Ward has a long history of volunteering dating back to the 1980s when he donated his time supporting the Wayside Chapel and serving as president of his local primary school P&C for which he organised environmental workshops.
Following his stroke, as soon as he was fit enough to walk the three kilometres to the lighthouse, Mr Ward started volunteering twice a week to help stabilise the reserve’s steep slopes, and other work including removal of bitou bush.
Mr Ward also volunteers with the local Norah Head CoastCare and volunteers weeding and replanting native plants on Bush Street Reserve, the Norah Head Cemetery and the Jenny Dixon Beach Reserve, supporting communities wherever he goes.
Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve Land Manager Secretary Doug Darlington said volunteers play a vital role keeping the 119-year-old landmark and its history alive, but more were needed after numbers dropped off during COVID restrictions.
The working lighthouse and its reserve attract between 80,000 and 100,000 people each year, and it is booked most weekends for weddings after being previously named the ‘Best DIY’ wedding venue at the Brides Choice Awards.
“Tony Ward is one of our dedicated coast care volunteers and we also have two other volunteer teams assisting with maintenance and hosting tours and staffing our on-site shop,” Mr Darlington said.
“We could do with about a dozen more volunteers so if there are people interested in helping us we would love to hear from them.”
Norah Head lighthouse is one of thousands of Crown land reserves across NSW that are supported by many thousands of volunteers.
Community members can volunteer to help manage Crown land as an appointed board member of a statutory land manager.
To view current board vacancies visit the Crown Land Reserve Manager’s website.