5 May 2023

Eden museum calls for new volunteers to help show off town's maritime history

| Claire Sams
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Volunteers at Eden's Killer Whale Museum love telling the unique story of Eden's whalers - and they're looking for new ones. Photo: Supplied

Volunteers at Eden’s Killer Whale Museum love telling the unique story of Eden’s whalers – and they’re looking for new recruits. Photo: Supplied.

A call for new volunteers has gone out to make sure a 30-year Eden tradition does not end.

Voluntary secretary of the management committee of the Eden Killer Whale Museum Jennifer Drenkhahn said they were looking for new people to act as flag monitors.

“The fellows who have been doing this for 30 years are becoming less capable, and we’re looking for some younger members of the community to take up the cudgel,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

The flag mast is dressed according to a set pattern for events like Anzac Day or 4 July for American Independence Day, with the volunteers helping on a rostered basis.

“We have tried to fly the flags of different nations, particularly representing those people in the local community,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

Help from current volunteers would be on hand, and the new volunteers would be trained in their duties.

“We’ve got all the flags stored at the museum and the boxes [are] swapped over every couple of months,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

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“You just get all the flags that you’re going to need for your couple of months.”

There were no specific skills that would-be volunteers needed, other than being able to hoist the flags, and all genders were invited to give it a go, Ms Drenkhahn said.

The flag mast is more than 100 years old and began its life as the pilot station flag mast for the Port of Eden before coming into the museum’s collection.

“We arranged to have it re-erected in the main street of Eden at an intersection which formed a roundabout, and it’s been there now for nigh on 30 years – and the same voluntary members of the Killer Whale Museum have been attending that flag mast ever since,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

The milestone is something that is incredibly meaningful to the museum.

“It’s given a lot of character to the main street of Eden,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

“The town and the community in general absolutely embrace the Eden Killer Whale Museum – and it’s not only the flag mast we do,” she said.

“We’ve provided information and interpretation boards that have been installed around that on the corners of that intersection to explain about the past and the history of it.”

The new flag monitors would need to join the musuem, if they were not members already.

But the flag monitors weren’t the only volunteer positions at the Eden Killer Whale Musuem, Ms Drenkhahn said.

“There’s no end of things that can be done.

“There’s gardening, there’s guiding tours, there’s research, we have a library, there’s just minor maintenance and other stuff that’s done.”

People could start in one area and then take up other volunteer roles as desired, she added.

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The call for new volunteers comes as the Eden Killer Whale Museum prepares for a busy future amid an almost $1.3 million extension.

“We have had a big cruise season here, and we’re heading for a bigger one next year,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

“We have probably in the order of 55- to 60,000 visitors a year at the museum – and it’s quite busy on those days when the cruise ships are in port,” she said.

“We need volunteer guides to just be in the museum and guide people through, supervise a bit.”

A recent dark spot was the March theft of a sperm whale skull, which was being stored on Neil “Biggs” Rankin’s block on the Eden Lookout at the time.

Ms Drenkhahn said the skull hadn’t been returned, with the museum team still confused by the brazen theft.

“It’s an absolute mystery. It was just such a total quandary as to why anyone would do that,” Ms Drenkhahn said.

Eden Killer Whale Museum is located at 184 Imlay Street in Eden.

Those interested in volunteering as a flag monitor can get in touch by messaging them on Facebook, calling 0434 621 176 or by visiting the museum itself.

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