National Volunteer Week 2018


According to the ABS, of all Australians under 84 years of age, those in the 18-24 age group are the least likely to give up their time to volunteer. While this may not come as a huge surprise (we all remember what it was like to be 20, right?!) it is a statistic that young Puffing Billy Railway volunteer, Max Bracher is determined to change.

Max, 23, has been volunteering at the Railway for over eight years. During this time he has completed his VCE, undertaken an Architecture Degree at University, and been diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic, but he has always found time to volunteer at Puffing Billy.

“Volunteering at Puffing Billy has been an invaluable experience, creating life skills that I would not have gained elsewhere,” Max said.

“I was the creative, artistic kid in a family of sports fanatics! Whilst I wasn’t a fan of the weekend sport I loved the camaraderie and social aspects that went with it. One day while visiting Puffing Billy, I noticed that there were a lot of young volunteers and the idea of volunteering at such an iconic attraction appealed to me. I started as a volunteer two weeks later.”

“I have made lifelong friendships with people of all ages at Puffing Billy. It’s a very social place to work, with a fantastic opportunity to meet volunteers and passengers from all around the world. It’s really rewarding to see the excitement on their faces and know that I get to be part of their memorable experience.”

“Volunteering also helped me to build my confidence as a teenager. I was interacting with people all day, playing my role as a conductor, and in more recent years, taking up positions on various Railway Committees. These experiences opened doors for me when I was applying for jobs and transitioning from high school to university.”

“Being an architecture student, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to use my knowledge of historical architecture to sit on the Railway’s Heritage Advisory Committee. This allowed me to work with architects and heritage consultants on a professional level to assist the railway with preserving its heritage identity.  It has been an incredible learning and networking opportunity and was extremely helpful when it came to applying for graduate jobs. Since then, I have gained employment with a heritage architect.”

“From a young age, volunteering opened my mind to new opportunities, gave me a social outlet, and fuelled my interest in heritage architecture during university. I can’t recommend volunteering enough and encourage all young people to give it a go. You never know where it might lead you!” he said.

Puffing Billy Railway currently has 53 volunteers aged between 18 - 24 years participating in over 30 different volunteer roles. If you are interested in becoming a young volunteer at Puffing Billy Railway, you can email the Volunteer Services Team at or call 03 9757 0715


MEDIA ENQUIRIES:  Meg Law – 0419 101 579 -