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VISE Newsletters

For news about the activities of VISE volunteers, see our newsletter;

Outback Volunteer Chronicle



Become Involved


homesteadVolunteers are generally retired teachers and others with relevant education and experience who would like to spend time helping rural students with their educational needs. Parents teaching children through Distance Education face a hard battle due to the other responsibilities that they have to cope with.


VISE asks its volunteers to be prepared to give six weeks' help to families. Travel is expensive, so short placements of only two or three weeks are not cost effective. Many tutors choose to go out for greater lengths of time so that they may assist more than one family.





 Outback Australia is often called the last frontier. While this may sound very romantic, the reality is that it can be a harsh place to live. Temperatures can range from -10 degrees C. to + 50 degrees C. Few people realise just how cold the nights can be. The daytime can be debilitating. This is the reason VISE endeavours to send its volunteers to properties when the weather is most pleasant.


pigeon holes








 Isolation is countered by the schools of distance education through regular mailouts and the property names are displayed in the workroom of the school. If possible the tutor should assist in this isolation breakdown by providing opportunities and experiences that are not normal through the schools of distance education. In the picture (above left) the children are performing a rock concert with a tutor.



buffaloIsolation is a major factor in the outback areas. Whilst locals generally consider that modern technology is fast overcoming this problem, newcomers may find it difficult to cope with.

Distance from the nearest town is not necessarily the only indicator of isolation. Each individual situation you find yourself in can dictate to you personally just what constitutes isolation in the bush.

The families who require assistance will have varied situations. On sheep stations, cattle runs or grain producing properties you may be personally involved with the property owner, the manager or the family of one of the employees, be they station hands, cooks or stockmen. 


Many of these small properties are marginally viable and so you cannot expect luxurious living conditions. Some stations are larger than others, with a number of employees, while some are actually small communities in their own right.

Mining concerns can be privately owned, or operated by companies with conditions as varied as pastoral properties. Aboriginal settlements and mission stations are usually reasonably sized communities but tend to have inherent difficulties associated with cross-cultural life styles. Where there is no visitor accommodation, VISE is unable to help no matter how keen it is to do so unless the volunteer is travelling by caravan or motor-home.

You will find people in the outback as varied as people everywhere. Keep in mind, however, that some people find it difficult to ask for help so you will need to exercise tact and to take a careful non-judgmental approach. It is important to remember that you are a guest in the family home.

The living conditions range considerably.

The accommodation may or may not be air-conditioned. The tutors may be given the facilities to cook for themselves or may eat with the family.

Both the tutor and the family need to respect one another's privacy.

Often there will not be a lot to do out of school hours, while the parents are very busy with the station work. If you have a portable hobby, take it with you on your placement.

raising a flag

Often children will be interested in the history of their property. In this picture, visiting grandparents help to raise a commemorative flag on a trig point.

Sometimes a family needs the help of a non-teacher called an Angel. The Angel responds to a definite need and will prepare meals, get the washing done, answer the phone and watch younger children so that the parent can concentrate on the schoolroom. Angels can be requested if there is a new baby, or a medical emergency or some kind of real stress.

To lodge an application to become a Volunteer use the buttons below, fill out the form and we'll send you further details by email and/or post.