Independent Volunteer Groups

...with Special Thanks

The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) thanks the many individuals who, in collaboration with a large number of independent volunteer organisations, contribute over 35,000 volunteer hours annually to preserving the natural, cultural and recreational values of the Island.

The Rottnest Island Authority appreciates the interest of groups including schools, clubs and corporate groups who wish to contribute their time to volunteering on Rottnest. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to accommodate such requests outside of our established volunteer program. Please see below for the opportunities that exist through independent groups for volunteering on the Island.

Rottnest Foundation

Conserving the Essence of Rottnest

The Rottnest Foundation was formed in 1985 to support the conservation and preservation of Rottnest Island’s natural and cultural assets. The Foundation pursues additional funding from external sources to assist the RIA in meeting its obligations to manage the Island’s environmental and cultural values.

Two long-term major projects that the Rottnest Foundation is currently seeking funding for are the ‘Wadjemup Walk Trail’ project and the repair and recognition of the ‘Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground’. Key fundraising initiatives of the Rottnest Foundation include the ‘Rottnest Raffle’ (drawn in January) and the Rottnest Festival of Sail (held in March). All proceeds go towards supporting Rottnest projects.

The Rottnest Foundation also provides volunteer labour towards conservation projects on the island, participating in one or two planting days every year.

The money raised by the Rottnest Foundation in collaboration with grants from organisations such as Lotterywest and DPaW, have provided funding for many projects over the years including: the refurbishment of the World War II Battery Observation Post at Signal Ridge on Wadjemup Hill, the development of ‘Wadjemup Walk Trail’ planning documents, the installation of the boardwalk in front of Aristos, the restoration & refurbishment of the ‘Discovery Centre’ building at Kingstown, the redevelopment of Little Parakeet with new steps, signage & planting, engineering fees for Cathedral Rocks Seal Viewing Platform, the construction of the ‘The Lakes Walk’ ‘Wadjemup Walk Trail’ section and a major contribution toward the installation of a replacement boardwalk at WestEnd, which marked the beginning of implementation of the ‘Wadjemup Walk Trail’ Project.

For more information on the Rottnest Foundation’s current projects, our fundraising activities, how to make a donation or become a Sponsorship Partner, please visit www.rottnestfoundation.org.au

Rottnest Society

The Rottnest Society is an incorporated, not-for-profit group that formed in 1984. The Society recruits up to 50 volunteers to help plant trees and remove environmental weeds on Rottnest Island for 3 weekends per year. Curtin University also coordinates small groups of volunteers to assist the Rottnest Society. Over the years the Rottnest Society has planted tens of thousands of seedlings, assisted with dune rehabilitation works and helped keep environmental weeds under control on Rottnest Island. For more information, visit www.rottnestsociety.org.au/volunteer.htm

The Rottnest Society working weekends are open to non-members. Costs are minimal and there is usually fantastic participation. For further information and bookings visit www.rottnestsociety.org.au.

Project dates for 2017:

  • Weekend 1       25th-26th March
  • Weekend 2       20th-21st March
  • Weekend 3       24th-25th June
  • Weekend 4       2nd-3rd September

Conservation Volunteers

Conservation Volunteers

Conservation Volunteers have a long standing relationship with the Rottnest Island Authority. They have had many successful programs over the years with tasks including tree planting, dune rehabilitation, seawall painting, maintenance of planting sites, beach litter clean ups, removal of old fencing and more recently the initiation of full time Green Army teams on the Island. For more information on current Conservation Volunteers projects on Rottnest, and how you can get involved, please visit www.conservationvolunteers.com.au


Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association

The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association (RVGA) was established in 1986 to promote awareness and appreciation of Rottnest Island’s natural environment and historical significance for visitors.  Guides conduct free daily tours covering the history of the settlement, the quokka, World War II guns & tunnels and Wadjemup lighthouse. Group bookings are also available by special request. Find out more about the Daily Tours.

A greater variety of activities and tours are conducted during school holiday such as bird walks, behind the scenes tours, beach walks, treasure hunts for children, as well as night activities including ghosts, mysteries and tall tales, star gazing, quiz nights and West End sunset bus trips. For more information or if you are interested in becoming a Guide please visit www.rvga.asn.au

Birds Australia

Birds Australia is a national organisation working for the conservation and protection of Australia's native birds and their habitats.  Since 1998 Birds Australia has been conducting shorebird and bushbird surveys at Rottnest Island. The data collected is used to assist the RIA in managing the Island’s terrestrial environment. For more information please visit www.birdsaustralia.com.au

Fisheries WA

Since 1994, volunteers from Fisheries WA have run fishing clinics at Rottnest Island. Families visiting Rottnest can participate in Fisheries WA fishing clinics during the school holidays. For more information www.fish.wa.gov.au

Reef Life Survey

Reef Life Survey is a national organisation involving trained recreational SCUBA divers which aims to improve biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of marine resources through the production of high-quality survey information.
The Rottnest Island Authority has supported Reef Life Survey since 2008 to conduct 1-2 long weekends of surveying per year at Rottnest Island. The RIA uses this data to assist with managing the marine environment. For more information www.reeflifesurvey.com

Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation

The Leeuwin II is a dedicated sail training ship based in Fremantle that usually anchors off Rottnest Island a few times a year, with crews and trainees coming ashore to conduct beach clean ups during their visits. www.sailleeuwin.com

Maritime Archaeological Association of WA (MAAWA)

The Maritime Archaeological Association of WA (MAAWA) visits Rottnest Island annually, with teams of scuba divers cleaning the underwater plaques of shipwrecks and snorkel trails to maintain their visibility for divers and snorkellers.



Rottnest Island Campus of Beaconsfield Primary School

Students and staff enthusiastically participate in annual voluntary events such as Clean Up Australia Day and National Tree Day.

Rottnest Island Railway Volunteers

Since the early 1990’s a small team of dedicated volunteers has provided technical advice and skilled labor that is essential in maintaining the function of the Captain Hussey, the much loved tourist train on Rottnest Island.

Once a very important military structure, the Rottnest Island railway was built in 1935 as part of the Island’s strategic defence of Australia during World War 2.

Since the early 1990’s a small team of dedicated volunteers has provided technical advice and skilled labor that is essential in maintaining the function of the Island’s railway and the Captain Hussey, the much loved tourist train on Rottnest Island.

The Rottnest Island Railway would not be running if it wasn’t for the dedication of this great team of people who give up several weeks a year to attend regular

Rottnest Island Railway Committee meetings, railway and rolling stock inspections, working weekends and other maintenance projects.

In addition to these volunteer hours, Brookfield Rail and John Holland also make generous donations of skilled personnel and specialised equipment towards the maintenance of Rottnest Islands train and railway.

Scouts WA

Scouts WA has made considerable contributions to the natural environment of Rottnest Island with groups of Scouts and Venturers contributing annually.

In the past, large groups of Scouts and Venturers took part in an annual “Rottnest Invasion”, a two day litter collecting and environmental blitz.

With increased public awareness about appropriate rubbish disposal, the Scout groups now focus on environmental tasks such as tree planting, seed collection and dune rehabilitation. For more information, visit www.wa.scouts.org.au/home

The Winnit Club

The Winnit Club still participates in 3-4 weekends of work on the Island annually.

Founded in the summer of 1930-31, the Winnit Club is Rottnest Island’s longest-standing volunteer organisation. While founding members initially came together for annual sailing and camping trips to Rottnest Island, they soon decided they wanted to give something back to their favourite Island.

Today it is virtually impossible to find a spot on the Island that has not benefited from the efforts of the Winnit Club. Major accomplishments include the construction of the Island’s first Nursing Post, the original ‘Quokka Shelter’ and West End board walk, the installment of emergency lighting at the Airport (with the final connections and testing being undertaken by the Department of Civil Aviation) and the restoration of the Oliver Hill Gun Battery.

This involved painting the Command Bunker and Number 2 Gun emplacements and filling hundreds of sandbags.  Other significant achievements of the Winnit’s include the installation of stairs at Bathurst Lighthouse, Salmon Bay, Fay’s Bay, Geordie Bay & Narrow Neck, the paving of the P Hut and train shed, the construction of all the railway stations platforms and shelters, painting the seawall twice from end to end, maintaining the Museum and the salvaged hull of the Anitra before it was demolished, the installation of numerous beach access paths and all of the fencing from Villa Kitson to Bathurst Lighthouse. For more information on the Winnit Club please visit www.winnitclub.org.au

Rottnest Island Fire Service

The Rottnest Fire Service is a dedicated group of individuals who volunteer their time to manage the Rottnest fire station and operate a 24 hour emergency fire service on the Island.

Rottnest Offshore Boardriders Club

The Rottnest Offshore Boardriders Club was established in May 1988. Since then the Offshore Boardriders have been involved in the rehabilitation of Strickland Bay, beach clean ups and fundraising events.

Sea Rescue Fremantle

Sea Rescue Fremantle is a group of devoted boat enthusiasts who volunteer their time to manage a fleet of five rescue vessels and a 24-hour emergency radio service. The group works with the Water Police on all emergency situations, along with the Rottnest Island Authority Rangers, to manage boating emergencies in the waters surrounding Rottnest.