Friends of Maria Island

Quite a crowd of very willing volunteers arrived on Maria on the 6th September to help give Parks staff a hand with the Lime wash of the buildings around Darlington.

Our first task that afternoon was to check off all the safety requirements, collect our PPE, and pick up our lime washing equipment.

The preparation and testing of the lime had been completed by Parks staff (Pete, Darren and Shane) before we arrived, so as soon as we gave the walls a light brushing and rinse, we were up and lime washing.

The weather was perfect for the job and we completed the external walls by Wednesday afternoon, thanks to the team effort.

The mammoth task of keeping up the supply of lime wash to the team was made possible by Darren, Frances and their helpers, Suzie and Jayson. Special thanks to Frances who stayed with it for the whole time and made a great job of the clean up afterwards.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mike Nash showed us some archaeology under the floor of the mess hall and gave us a brief history of that site from the beginnings of the penal settlement until today. Some of us also visited the brick firing sites as well as the kilns and quarry at the back of Darlington.

Thursday’s weather forecast was not good for limewashing outside so we all gathered in the mess hall and prepared to clean the walls, floors and rafters, and then limewash the walls. Everything, literally done and dusted by afternoon tea time.

Thank you to Pete for the orchestration of the whole event, to Suzie for the magnificent meal on the Wednesday night, to Donnalee, Pete and Suzie for the morning tea cakes, cheeses and biscuits, and to the whole team for the camaraderie, hard work and skill shown to make the buildings and mess hall positively gleam.

“Friends of Maria Island” is certainly an apt description for the group.