House and volunteers are ‘better together’

It’s said that “a flower blossoms for its own joy” (Oscar Wilde), but at NRL Cowboys House, hardworking volunteers are ensuring the gardens, facilities and students themselves flourish for everyone to appreciate.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of NRL Cowboys House, as they quietly work behind the scenes without fanfare, playing their part to help improve education outcomes for young Indigenous students.

With 48 active volunteers working at the House across a range of areas, including gardening, education and tutoring and cultural activities, National Volunteers Week is providing a platform to recognise their unwavering support and invaluable contribution under the theme ‘Better Together’.

Sue Falkenhagen was a part of the NRL Cowboys House awards night, presenting awards to students.


Sue Falkenhagen is the primary volunteer gardener at NRL Cowboys House, and like others who give their time at the House, has put her passion into practice to contribute to the education success and growth of the student residents.

“They can never work out what comes out of what, they’re always amazed at what grows and they often come and have a look and ask what’s doing, sometimes even interacting with the plants,” Sue said.

“It’s good to see the kids at NRL Cowboys House and what they’re up to, and then in the plants it’s good to see what survives and what doesn’t, what thrives somewhere and not somewhere else.

“If the students can see them (plants) here, it either reminds them of home, or when they go home they think, we can do that.”

Education is a key theme among NRL Cowboys House volunteers who are contributing to the education outcomes for Indigenous students.

Volunteers are a key component of cultural activities at the House, sharing knowledge with students and visitors.


House volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and bring with them an abundance of skills – from retirees to Defence personnel, university students and parents – and are indispensable in the Boys Learning Centre, supported by Wilson Security, and Girls Learning Centre, supported by Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Volunteers also play a key role in fundraising efforts for the Cowboys Community Foundation, with 50-50 Charity Raffle volunteers unmissable in their lime green shirts at North Queensland Toyota Cowboys home games.

Sue said it was important for volunteers to stick to their passions and interests when helping out and hopes to still be seen in and around the NRL Cowboys House gardens for some time to come.

“I concentrate on the productive plants, and we’ve got some marigold and some of the shrubs are flowering as well as quite a few hibiscus,” she said.

“The kids really love the passionfruit and we’ve planted a mulberry tree, but it’s a little bit of a way off.

50-50 Charity Raffle volunteers work hard to North Queensland Toyota Cowboys home games to raise much needed funds.


“When you find something or somewhere to volunteer, find a spot where someone looks like they need some help and stick to your main interest.

“It’s a very good relationship at NRL Cowboys House, I get a lot out of it and the appreciation I receive is very good for me too.”

How to get involved

NRL Cowboys House welcomes expressions of interest from potential volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, we’d love to hear from you!

Email volunteer@cowboysfoundation.org.au.

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