Volunteering at the State Library

Volunteering at the State Library offers a unique and rewarding opportunity to discover our resources and collections, to interact with our clients and be involved in the many events held at the State Library.

As a volunteer, you could be involved in delivering literacy activities to preschool children, helping at events and exhibitions, collecting survey responses from clients or being an office assistant.

Volunteering will provide you with an opportunity to learn about and contribute to the State Library and community as a whole.

If you would like to discuss volunteering at the State Library please contact Mary Doyle on (08) 9427 3327 or email volunteers@slwa.wa.gov.au.

Spotlight on Volunteers

Several times a year we spotlight the great work that one or a group of volunteers do for the State Library

Volunteer Ron Knox

Ron Knox: passionate about labour history

After a professional life spent working in the print industry, initially as a compositor and later as a union organiser, Ron Knox found his way to volunteering at the State Library because of a history student at Curtin University. The student was doing a thesis on the WA Printing Industry and Printing Union and heard that Ronís knowledge of the printing industry, and unions in general, was amazing. She contacted Ron, woke him out of his retirement slumber, and he began preparing the considerable quantity of the Printing and Kindred Union archives for deposit to the Battye Library. Ron accompanied the records to the Library and began what was a labour of love, cataloguing the contents to make them accessible.

Ron began his career in the printing industry in 1955 starting as an apprentice Hand and Machine Compositor with Sands & McDougall in Melbourne. He worked in commercial, newspaper and government printing and his Chapel (union) involvement began while he was with the Government Printing Office. Ron became an official with the Printing & Kindred Industries Union and Australian Manufacturing Workersí Union from 1984 until 2007 when he retired. Ronís union involvement gave him the opportunity to meet with international unions. In 1988 visited Russia and met with Media/Arts Unions in Moscow and also the editor of Izvestia which produced 12 million newspapers daily. He toured the factory, met delegates and also toured the largest publishing house of childrenís books at that time. Ron has also drafted a number of Labour History Papers including the commencement of printing since the colony days.

Ron has also worked on the papers for prominent political and industrial figures including Professor Gordon Reid (former Governor of WA), Barry McKinnon (former state leader of the liberal Party), Jo Valentine (former senator for WA) and Mal Bryce (former Deputy Premier of WA). In the last couple of years Ronís expertise has been used for transcribing and proof reading transcriptions of historical documents including WW1 diaries on Virtual Volunteering and text correcting (especially print related) newspaper articles on Trove.

Travel has been a very important component of Ronís life and highlights include working on a Kibbutz on the hills of Gallilee, lazing on Zanzibar and Seychelle Islands, Everest at dawn, crossing the desert between Damascus and Baghdad, Iguaza Falls in Argentina, hitch hiking from Austria to Syria, kissing the Blarney Stone (which helped with his job), Ice Festival in Harbin, China where the weather was a cool minus 37 degrees, possibly the highlight was driving by jeep from Gangtok, Sikkim to Darjeeling. Ron is planning to visit his 100th country in 2017. He just hasnít decided which one it is yet.

Current Positions

Please note that the State Library screens its volunteers and some positions may require a Police Clearance or Working With Children Card.

Share this page   share on Facebook share on Twitter share on stumbleupon

Page last updated: Monday 24 October 2016

printer friendly