Volunteer tasks

Volunteer tasks usually involve manual work under the supervision of OIRS staff. 

Volunteers are required to perform four hours work per day. Generally this work is performed between the hours of 8am and 12noon, however this work obligation can be undertaken in a manner and a time of your choosing as long as it:

  • Fits in with operational requirements of the station
  • Is mutually agreed upon with OIRS staff
  • The work is performed in advance i.e to have a full day off 8hrs work must be performed the day prior

The type of tasks varies for each volunteer intake depending on operational requirements of the station at the time and specialized skills volunteers can offer. Wherever possible a variety of tasks is undertaken by volunteers during their stay, however this is not always possible.

All equipment required to undertake the task is provided by OIRS including safety equipment. Safety is our highest priority and no volunteer is to perform a task without first undergoing a safety induction and assuring OIRS staff that the task can be performed in a safe manner.

The station does not conduct research projects of its own but volunteers may be able to assist with the research projects of station users or assist in such programs as Bleach Watch Surveys and the OIRS Flora and Fauna register. Such work is not considered part of the required volunteer hours and is a private arrangement between station volunteers and researchers on site. Opportunities to assist with research vary and cannot be guaranteed. Volunteers on the JCU boating and diving register enjoy much greater opportunity to participate in research.

Main Types of Volunteer Tasks

Noxious Pest Eradication Program

OIRS controls four noxious weeds and one noxious pest (listed below) within our lease site on Orpheus Island. These invasive weeds pose a serious threat to Australia’s natural environment, second only to habitat loss.

Weeds are removed by hand, bagged and barged off the island every three months. Removal is relatively easy given the sand base of the island but care needs to be taken to bag all parts of the plant as most species easily regrow from small fragments.

Cane toads are collected by hand or net, bagged and frozen. They are easiest to catch the first clear night after a few wet days, or first thing in the morning bathing in the footbaths.

Lantana camara



Bryophyllum delagoense

Mother of Millions

Mother of Millions

Euphorbia cyathophora

Painted Spurge

Eurphorbia cyathorphora (Painted spurge)

Catharanthus roseus

Pink Periwinkle

Pink Periwinkle

Bufo marinus

Cane Toad

Cane Toad

Cleaning Tasks

All volunteer intakes are involved in some form of cleaning duties at the station. General every day cleaning tasks are generally undertaken by departing station users, therefore most of the tasks involve larger spring cleaning type duties. These tasks vary according to time of year and occupancy levels and can include:

  • Mould removal
  • Window cleaning
  • General cleaning tasks, i.e. cleaning ovens
  • Spring cleaning, i.e. washing walls, cleaning fans
  • Pressure cleaning
  • Polishing stainless steel benches

Maintenance Tasks

These tasks generally involve basic handyman skills such as mowing lawns, painting and basic carpentry skills. Volunteers who have specialized tradesman skills to offer may be able to undertake specific projects appropriate to their skills. Please discuss any skills with OIRS staff upon booking your volunteer trip. This will allow time to obtain any special tools or materials needed for the task.

Administration Tasks

One of the most regular tasks we have for volunteers involves undertaking the monthly audits and stock takes around the station including checking and resupplying first aid kits, library books and cleaning supplies. From time to time other tasks arise such as data entry and web page development.

Special Projects

OIRS undertakes special community projects each year that volunteers can get involved in, such as:

OIRS Flora and Fauna Register

Got a great close up photo of the flora and fauna at OIRS then help us out by contributing to our flora and fauna register. 

We are currently in the process of developing a comprehensive flora and fauna listing for all marine and terrestrial species found in the area. Whilst volunteers are primarily involved in weeding and cleaning tasks around the station the opportunity may arise to spend a short period during your stay working on increasing our register pages. 

Alternatively, if you take good quality close up photos of species not currently listed we welcome your contribution by supplying your photos please complete the OIRS Flora and Fauna form and email to OIRS.

Skilled Volunteer Program

OIRS at various times also recruits skilled volunteers for specific jobs throughout the year. These tasks are generally for once off projects and do require specialized skills and qualifications. 

Upcoming opportunities for our skilled program are advertised on Go Volunteer and can basic information can be found listed below. If you have a trade or specialized qualification that you feel may be useful to OIRS please contact the OIRS Volunteer Coordinator and discuss upcoming opportunities.

Skilled Volunteer Program Requirements

Fire Safety Consultant – Assistance is needed from suitably qualified person to help improve OIRS fire safety policies and procedures, plus establish more in depth staff fire training program.

Volunteers Coordinator Consultant – Assistance is needed in developing our volunteer policies and procedures to meet the National Standards.

Painters – Are you teaching painting apprentices or a painting apprentice seeking more hands on experience to qualify? OIRS needs to paint the exterior of all buildings earlier than expected due to frequent storm damage over the last two years. We will supply a qualified painting supervisor and all paint and materials but we are seeking a group of painters to provide the labour force need to repaint all our buildings.