Humans of Canungra – Janine Rockliff

Janine Rockliff. Photo: Katie O'Brien.
Janine Rockliff. Photo: Katie O'Brien.

The saying, ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person’, could have been written for Janine Rockliff.

She’s a woman who has a busy family, challenging career and at the heart of it all is a great passion for her community.


You grew up on the Gold Coast but since moving to Canungra you’ve been really involved with local volunteer organisations.  Did that stem from your upbringing?

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Mum and Dad ran the Scout group at Palm Beach Currumbin area and we were involved in that as kids. My mum also ran the primary school canteen/tuckshop as volunteer for over 15 years at Elanora Primary. They were involved in other groups as well like Apex.  

Don’t you have to be a boy to be a Scout?

I went to Scouts, I wasn’t officially a member, because I was a girl.  You couldn’t join officially as a girl until I was in my late teens and by that time I had moved on.

We got involved in volunteering in Canungra when we lived at Boyland and we had a knock on the door one night from a member of the Rural Fire Brigade, telling us to prepare as there was a fire coming up behind our street.

Damon got talking to him about the Rural Fire Brigade and we went to the next meeting and met a number of locals.

Al Morris, Steve Geiger and everyone at the meeting was welcoming and we joined on the spot.

Everyone would know Damon and his involvement in the Rural Fire Brigade and I joined in a support role.

Was that the start of your community involvement?

No, I worked and then we had the kids and it wasn’t until the Chamber of Commerce. 

At one of the early Chamber meetings it was raised that there was no bank. The Chamber  started the whole journey of how we could get a bank in town. 

I got pretty passionate about it after having to drive 30 minutes to bank a cheque for Damon’s business. 

It was over 30 years since Canungra had a bank before that.

It used to be in The Shoe Vault building.  It took a few years to get the Bendigo Community Bank open.  There were 16 on the initial steering committee, we are currently at seven people on the Board, so if anyone is interested in joining the board, let me know!

We’re lucky because Bendigo provides a Marketing Development fund to support community organisations.

We’ve supported a huge amount of community groups over the past seven years – even before the bank opened.

One of the biggest ethos of that bank opening is that you support your community, not just feed off it.

The Bank Board is not your only volunteer commitment.  You’re working full time, have two children and you drive to the Gold Coast for work – how do you get time to do this?

You just make the time.  

It’s all about your community. 

We all use facilities that are run by volunteers.  I think there’s a misconception that people are being paid to run these groups.

All of these organisations contribute to the fabric of our community in such a magnificent way and if we lost half of them I don’t think our town would be what it is today.

Janine adds:

The best way to become a part of the amazing community we live in is to volunteer, find a group and offer your time, we have such a diverse and interesting variety of community groups in our region there is sure to be one that you love and become passionate about! 

And many hands make light work!

About Keer Moriarty 288 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.