Caron Miller, Tenterfield NSW
A horse looking for a biccie, personal wake up taps on the window, and Santa’s sleigh and visiting Christmas elves.
Tenterfield is a busy site, and Caron Miller has co-ordinated it all for 13 years.
She became involved as a member of Tenterfield State Emergency Service which sponsored the program at the time and needed someone to manage the rosters.
“If I don't have to pull out the big rescue truck simply by giving someone a coffee, I think we've done some good,” she says.
“And we have a really good community in Tenterfield that keeps putting their hands up to volunteer.”
With a picturesque park and clean toilets, the Tenterfield Driver Reviver site is popular with itinerant fruit pickers, motorists with dogs needing a run in the park, tourists and as a child handover site for parents.
“We get people who will spend the night and ask us to wake them in a couple of hours. We can see them so they’re safe, especially women travelling with kids or on their own.
We have a board telling us when people want to be woken up and someone will walk down and knock on their window.
They've had a couple of hours sleep and are right to go for a few more hours.
We even had a horse come to visit once – that was exciting,’’ Caron says. Let out of the trailer for a walk, it wandered over to the Driver Reviver building looking for a biscuit and a pat.
A lot of people leave Sydney (about 10 hours’ drive from Tenterfield) on a Friday afternoon to arrive over the weekend or for Christmas morning.
When they try to argue they don’t have time to stop, our volunteers remind them “Oh yes you do have time, because otherwise someone's going to have to pick you up from further down the road”.
The 45 volunteers work two-hour shifts between 10am and 8pm on open days and from 4pm right through to 6am during the first day of a long weekend.
One year, Christmas elves entertained children and sleigh tracks marked the grass where Santa stopped for a coffee.
“Tenterfield is in the middle of nowhere, and everything shuts by nine o'clock so there's nowhere you can buy a coffee or petrol, often we are the only thing that's there.”