Volunteering - an insiders perspective
Mikelle Dingwall has been a valued and dedicated volunteer at Bendigo Heritage Attractions for the past 12 years. Throughout that time Mikelle has contributed 12 years to the Bendigo Joss House Temple as well as being a Tram Conductor for the past 18 months here at Bendigo Tramways.
We recently chatted to Mikelle about his experience of being a volunteer for our organisation and he gave some valuable insights as to why he finds it so worthwhile.
What inspired you to become a volunteer?
Having grown up in Bendigo, we sometimes take for granted just how special our community is and what it has to offer visitors.
A love of the Chinese culture, a curious nature, time to spare and a deep love of my home town and its history inspired me to take up the opportunity to engage with visitors and inform them of our city's many and varied virtues.
What do you enjoy about volunteering at Bendigo Tramways?
Being a conductor on Bendigo's iconic Vintage Talking Trams is such a wonderful opportunity, I simply couldn't put it any other way.
There is so much more to being a Tram Conductor than selling or checking tickets and keeping to the timetable.
Visitors have chosen to come here from across the globe, and as such, conductors really are some of Bendigo's unofficial ambassadors; answering questions, sharing our knowledge, and giving insider tips and tricks. It is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as what we can do to compliment the visitors' experience.
I have lost count as to how many visitors have told me, "What a beautiful city" or "You're very lucky that so much of your city's heritage has survived".
What made you want to volunteer at the Bendigo Joss House Temple?
"Why is Bendigo's remaining Joss House Temple so significant?"
"Why does this temple's principal Chinese God have a red face?"
"What have been the ongoing contributions of the descendants of Bendigo's Goldfields Chinese?"
Learning to answer these, and many other interesting cultural and historical questions to assist with the ongoing interpretation for our visitors, is just one of the many fun tasks that I have undertaken as a volunteer at the Bendigo Joss House Temple.
It is our visitors, coming from many diverse cultures and locations worldwide, and the cohesive dedicated volunteer team that makes the Bendigo Joss House Temple such a wonderfully positive environment in which to be a volunteer.
Our visitors agree
"The knowledge of Mikelle about the temple was amazing" – Facebook
"Thanks for keeping the past alive" - Visitor Book 06/05/2018
"What a wonderful asset" - Visitor Book 01/05/2018
"The highlight of our visit to Bendigo" - Visitor Book 19/04/2018
Interested in becoming a volunteer?
Find out more about becoming a volunteer at Bendigo Tramways here.