IN A twist of irony, Port MacDonnell Community Complex coordinator Eve Carlin may end her working relationship with Grant District Council the exact way it started, as a passionate volunteer.
Ms Carlin will retire as leader of the community facility after more than 30 years serving the Port MacDonnell district in partnership with council, leaving a legacy of sustained success and youth development within the public hub.
Appointed as library volunteer in 1987 for the then Port MacDonnell District Council, Ms Carlin’s career progression continued in 1988 when she was named assistant library officer before claiming library officer status in 1993 after the role was vacated.
In that same year the library was named the Mary Lattin Memorial Library and in 1994 it moved to the 2 Meylin Street site.
It was during 1994 Ms Carlin worked full-time for three months at the Mount Gambier Library, a highlight for the librarian.
“The experience I gained not only benefitted me personally but also the Mary Lattin Memorial Library through my increased understanding of various procedures,” Ms Carlin said.
“We forged a strong helpful relationship.”
Following the amalgamation of the Port MacDonnell and Mount Gambier district councils in 1996, the library was moved into the council meeting room at the building’s rear and in September 1997 Ms Carlin started to manage the Port MacDonnell branch office while operating the library.
Among the services provided included public internet access, as well as tourist and community information.
These services were expanded after the rural transaction centre was officially opened in 2001 with Ms Carlin at the helm.
The office and library was combined and an additional range of government and banking services were made available to the public including Medicare, Centrelink and other government provisions, along with a bank service.
After two years managing the facility, Service SA director Greg Parker presented its 2003 best marketing award to the centre, which Ms Carlin accepted on behalf of council.
In 2004 the facility expanded its opening hours which allowed Ms Carlin to grow her passion for supporting trainees through their career pathway, a key part of her legacy.
When the Port MacDonnell Community Complex was launched on July 1, 2011, Ms Carlin was at the helm.
The complex continued to thrive due to being proficiently manned by Eve, her staff and volunteers, which led to the complex winning a statewide tourism accolade for excellence in regional leadership.
While the success was welcomed, it was not always easy for Ms Carlin.
“One of my most memorable moments was when we changed over to the One Card system, this was a mammoth undertaking but with the help of my colleague and collaborator Angela we eventually managed to carry on.
“While we persisted with the introduction of the new system, Sharyn managed the remainder of the complex. Thank you to both these ladies.”
During her career, Ms Carlin’s passion and exceptional knowledge of the Port MacDonnell area and its history enabled her to contribute and add value to the many community groups she formed longstanding relationships with.
This included involvement in the Women’s History Group, the 150th Admella celebrations, tourism award celebrations, gallery openings and library markets.
Ms Carlin was recognised by council at a recent community complex open day, taking time to reflect on her journey.
“I would like to thank the Port MacDonnell community and the public for their ongoing support of the community complex,” Ms Carlin said.
“I also wish to thank council, staff and volunteers for all their dedicated work and support throughout my journey with Grant District Council.
“It has been a real pleasure working alongside of you all.”
While Ms Carlin will now find the time to pursue interests in other fields and spend many hours with her family, grandchildren and friends, her passion for Port MacDonnell and the community complex will likely lead her to continue as a volunteer.