By Gisela Horner | Bella Vista Farm Volunteer
Volunteering has always been part of Rawstron family life. It’s their passion. When the children were young, Sharon helped with primary and high school bands. Graham was involved with the P&C and scouts.
Now retired and living in the suburb of Bella Vista, both joined the Farm as they wanted to serve the local community.
Graham has been the hands-on President for 5 years, now in his sixth year, having recently been re-nominated.
He works very closely with the Council to ensure the Farm’s viability. In 2019 he was awarded The Hills Shire’s Australia Day Senior Citizen of the Year.
Sharon has co-authored a Chronology of Bella Vista Farm with two other volunteers, Mark Pearce and Carolyn Gould, which has involved years of research.
Graham and Sharon spend hours every week at the Farm, tending the heritage garden, caring for the resident sheep and many other duties. It’s become a home away from home.
High achievement runs in the Rawstron family. Sharon won a Commonwealth Scholarship and graduated with an Arts Degree at Sydney University in 1973. In 1991, Sharon decided to return to University and completed a DipEd.
Graham, having been awarded various scholarships from school, the Navy and a bank, graduated with an Economics Degree at Sydney University, taking up the fulltime bank Scholarship.
In 1966, he began in the mail room and retired 41 years later as Head of Human Resources of the Reserve Bank. They married in 1973, have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Ellen, Grant and Evan take after their parents, all serving in high corporate positions.
Ellen often volunteers at Bella Vista Farm when she is not occupied in her other volunteering role at SES in storm recovery. Last year she worked in critical phone response during the devastating bush fires.
The Farm is privileged to have such dedicated people leading the team. They love living nearby and working at Bella Vista Farm. Sharon says “It is a place of peace, respite and in these times, solace”. Graham adds “Volunteers make communities”. Their dedicated service certainly adds to the Hills community