Quokkas and Hollywood A-listers all part of volunteering gig

The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association president Lyn Le Provost on the WA island.
The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association president Lyn Le Provost on the WA island.

ROTTNEST means many different things to a great number of people.

For some, it represents summers dabbling at The Basin with loved ones or time spent revelling at by-gone beach parties at Pinky’s.

For others – including Hollywood celebrities Margot Robbie and Chris Hemsworth – Rotto offers the chance to relax and capture that perfect quokka selfie.

Lyn Le Provost’s fondest island moments are those spent on lighthouse duty.

She loves to hear “wows” from visitors on the lighthouse balcony, as they gape at the 360-degree view of the island.

They marvel at the spectacular colour of the water, the spouts of whales in season and the 12 salt lakes, of which one or two appear pink in late summer.

Mrs Le Provost leads Rottnest’s volunteers, with at least 14 guides travelling to the WA island each day.

President of The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association, Ms Le Provost worked in the travel industry before turning to volunteering in retirement.

She describes the guides as “champions of the island”, easily spotted by their bright yellow T-shirts.

“One of our guides had the memorable experience of taking Chris Hemsworth and family on a lighthouse tour – that wasn’t me unfortunately,” Ms Le Provost said.

MrsLe Provost with English actor Martin Clunes.

“A few years ago, I spent time with Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin) who was obtaining a quokka selfie: he was incredibly generous with his time and provided visitors with any number of selfies.

“Lately I have been designated to drive film crews around on our golf buggy. It has been enlightening to watch the incredible number of personnel needed to produce a short film segment.

“But the greatest highlight (apart from lighthouse duty) is being on meet and greet duty outside The Salt Store Gallery and Exhibition Centre overlooking Thomson’s Bay – the best office in the world.”

At least 14 guides travel to the island on a daily basis (whatever the weather) and undertake one of eleven different tours around the island, a meet and greet activity or provide information in the museum and boathouse.

They also lead family programs during school holidays and school group tours in school terms.

Mostly female retirees, members often have a long family history of visiting the island and a passion to share their knowledge.

The group is a finalist in the WA Community Volunteer Organisation of the Year award.