VOLUNTEER GUIDE: Coffs ambassador Adrian Paul brings the history of the harbour at Coffs alive on his free guided walks.
VOLUNTEER GUIDE: Coffs ambassador Adrian Paul brings the history of the harbour at Coffs alive on his free guided walks. Belinda Scott

Take a tour through history and talk as you walk

TAKE a tour with Adrian Paul and you will come back with a head full of history.

You might hear about holding swimming carnivals in Coffs Creek or the time enthusiastic defenders of Coffs Harbour blew up a whale after mistaking it for a Japanese submarine during WWII.

"Vicki and I used to regularly walk down to the Jetty and the beach and back again and I used to think 'wouldn't it be good if someone could take guided tours'," Adrian said.

Now he does just that.

In spring and summer he guides walkers along the shady and scenic Coffs Creek Walk from Rotary Park to Saltwater Park, pointing out natural features of the waterway and its environs and past and present locations of note.

In autumn and winter he guides the Harbour History tour, a shorter walk from Dolphin Marine magic along the beach front to the jetty, pointing out historic sites on the foreshores and outlining some of the special events and activities which have taken place there.

Both walks take about two hours

Adrian was one of the first to put his hand up when Coffs Harbour City Council put out a call for volunteer guides in 2009.

Three years later the program won a state government sustainability award.

"Having a professional background as a teacher helped with the communication skills," Adrian said.

"After 36 years of talking to teenagers, I was most nervous about talking to adults."

History and the environment are among his special interests.

"My training is in history, but I had to do a lot of research," he said

"The environment is very much a part of what we are trying to do.

"On the Coffs Creek Walk I talk about the impact man has had going back 12,000 years, when Aboriginal people conserved their environment; about global warming and what we can do now.

"I see what goes into Coffs Creek and the question is: How did it get there?

"The take home message is to look at the ways we can take care of the environment in our everyday lives and what we can do in simple practical ways."

On his walks Adrian also talks about the Take Three program which encourages people to pick up three pieces of rubbish whenever they take a walk; to use reusable products in place of disposables and to take to social media to follow www.take3.org.au and share the message with at least three people.

Adrian says he has learned important lessons from John Turbill from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and NPWS Discovery Ranger and Gumbaynggirr elder Mark Flanders.

Mark Flanders is a student turned mentor.

Adrian taught Mark during his 23 years at Orara High School and says in Year 3 the now-dignified elder was "a mischievous kid, with a real spark about him".

Adrian may be retired but is busier than many people half his age.

The fundraising co-ordinator for community radio station 2AIR-FM, he also wields a paint brush, does odd jobs; pre-records the Friday night show Night Moods and presents the easy-listening program Reminiscing on Tuesday afternoons.

"I'm an adult disc jockey - something I always wanted to do as a kid," Adrian said.

"I enjoy listening to any type of music."

And he still manages to fit in a game of golf three times a week

Adrian's next tour will be a Harbour History Walk on April 22.

The next Coffs Coast Ambassador Walk will be Birds of the Coffs Coast on March 5.

See www.coffsambassadors.com.au or phone 6648 4990. All tours are free but must be booked.

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