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This page aims to explain to both returning and new volunteers how the annual Farina works programme functions and your role within it. Please have a read through all of the information below (click on each Tab to see different aspects of the programme). Once you are familiar with the committment that you are making, click on the button at the bottom of the page and it will take you to the registration page.

Note that all Volunteers MUST be registered prior to arriving at Farina, and by registering you agree to the terms and conditions described on this information page.



Farina is located on the Oodnadatta Track about 25km north of Lyndhurst. The area surrounding the township is a working cattle and sheep station owned by Kevin and Anne Dawes, who are committee members of the Farina Restoration Group.

Proclaimed in 1878, Farina became the rail-head of the Central Australian Railway in 1882 before the rail was extended further north in 1884, and continued to be a significant base for livestock and freight loading and operations of Camel carriers servicing outlying stations.

The Farina Restoration group aims to preserve not just the physical history (buildings, rail, cemetery etc) but the stories of the people who lived and worked in Farina, and present the Farina story to the public and make Farina a memorable stop for people travelling through the area. The Underground Bakery and and Cafe at Farina have grown over the last 10 years to be a key part Farina and provides much needed fundraising to fund the preservation works, but has also become a drawcard for visitors travelling past each year and sustained rave reviews from most visitors.

The Farina Restoration Group undertakes an annual works programme of 8 weeks duration between May and July. During this time the Underground Oven is fired up and the Bakery and Cafe operates each day. This is the primary time of year when the Restoration works are undertaken, and the current focus of the restoration works are around the stone buildings and the Railway precinct.

Volunteers are key to the annual work programme and the Farina Restoration Group Committee aim to ensure that every Volunteer has what we term the “Farina Experience”; It is an experience of working alongside like minded people with a common aim to preserve and present Farina; To learn about the history of Farina and be an advocate for the town; and not least to enjoy the campfire camaraderie in a beautiful and rugged part of Australia.

The table below sets out the weekly schedule for 2023. When you register as a volunteer you will need to nominate the weeks that you would like to attend.

It is common practice that volunteers register for two week blocks. Returning volunteers often nominate the same weeks each year. It is also fine to nominate just one week if this best fits your schedule.

Week Dates in 2023 Tasks/Notes
0 Wed May 24th to Fri May 26th Setup activities. Discuss with Bill Brock or Kerry Storer.
1 Sat May 27th to Sun June 4th Pls arrive for induction on Fri 26th May.
2 Sat June 3rd to Sun June 11th  
3 Sat June 10th to Sun June 18th  
4 Sat June 17th to Sun June 25th  
5 Sat June 24th to Sun July 2nd  
6 Sat July 1st to Sun July 9th  
7 Sat July 8th to Sun July 16th  
8 Sat July 15th to Sun July 23rd  
9 Mon July 24th to Wed July 26th Discuss with Bill Brock.

After registration, if there are too many volunteers for particular weeks, the registration coordinator will contact you to discuss alternative weeks. There is a need to ensure a minimum number of volunteers across the whole programme to efficiently operate the Bakery and Cafe and to undertake restoration activities, whilst also ensuring there are not too many volunteers in a particular week as it becomes too difficult to accommodate at the campground and coordinate the activities.

There are also several other events at Farina and surrounding districts. These are the activities that we are aware of and their dates in 2023.

Marree Camel Cup – Sat 8th July 2023.

Marree Car Show – Sun 9th July 2023 from 9-30am to 3pm.

Marree Races and Gymkhana – June long weekend 2023 (exact dates not yet confirmed).

Finke Desert Race – Dates to be advised by organisers.

Big Red Bash – 4th to 6th July 2023.

The Camp Coordinators run a daily schedule of volunteers in each of the Roles described here. When you register you can nominate multiple roles and undertake a number of them during your stay at Farina. Talk to the coordinators when you arrive and there’s time at the daily “Happy Hour” meeting around the campfire to discuss your schedule.

It is expected that volunteers will undertake one of the roles each day for at least four hours, however some volunteers choose to work all day, say morning and afternoon. You can also undertake a different role in the morning and afternoon (eg. Visitor Greeting in the morning and Stonework in the afternoon); Activities usually start at 8am and conclude each day by 4pm. Then there is time to shower and change ready for the Happy Hour meeting at 5-30pm around the campfire.

Note that for roles requiring a Food Handling Certificate, we provide a link in the Volunteer Information Sheet to do this online.

Baker – This role is usually for people who have worked professionally as a Baker and have considerable experience; It will involve early starts (3 to 4am) most days; You will need a current Food Handling certificate;

Bakers Assistant – Assisting the Bakers in the preparation and baking of Bread, Pies, Cakes, Slices and the many other wonderful products sold in the Cafe at Farina. The role can be learnt at Farina however prior experience in baking is an advantage. The role will involve early starts (3 to 4am) most days; You will need a current Food Handling certificate;

Bakery Cleaning – This role basically involves washing up for the Bakers and Assistants and being a general gofer; It has been the launching point for Bakers Assistants as you will usually have the opportunity to assist with preparation when not washing up; Very little experience needed, just a willingness to give it a go; You will need a current Food Handling certificate;

Cafe Counter Sales – This role involves taking and filling orders from customers and taking payment; One person on each shift will be the Barista making coffee; Little experience is needed in this role; You will need a current Food Handling certificate;

Merchandise Sales – This role involves running the Merchandise Sales counter, assisting visitors in selection of souvenirs and taking payment; Little experience is needed for the role, however if you can sell “ice to the Eskimo’s” then you’ll be a natural fit for this role;

Visitor Greeting – The person undertaking this role will circulate around Patterson’s House and greet visitors, give them a little history of Farina and direct them to where things are; It also involves checking the public toilets periodically, replenishing toilet paper and advising Essential Services if there is anything needing fixing; It is usual that the person filling this role is a returning volunteer who has some knowledge of Farina;

Stonework – Many of the remaining buildings at Farina are constructed of stone, so this role is critical to the preservation of Farina; It will involve several tasks, from digging out and cleaning up fallen stone, mixing mortar, raking out loose/old mortar, repointing between stones, capping and pointing walls and partially or fully rebuilding walls; The role can be learnt at Farina starting with simpler tasks to gain confidence and then progressing to rebuilding of walls; Much of the work can be done from the ground, however there is a need for a number of volunteers to work on scaffolding however you will only be asked to work on scaffolding if you feel confident and safe doing so; The Committee is making stonework a priority in 2023 to prevent deterioration to a number of stone buildings.

Laundry and Campground Cleaning – This role requires the washing of aprons and tea towels from the Bakery and Cafe, and cleaning of the volunteer toilets and showers each day; there is a washing machine set up at the Volunteer Campground for this task;

Essential Services – This is the role for people who like to travel and have variety; In a supplied vehicle with trailer, the two Essential Services volunteers travel around Farina emptying rubbish and recycle bins, disposing of the garbage at the tip, topping up fuel in the diesel generators, restocking firewood at the Volunteer and Public campgrounds, cutting firewood for the underground oven, emptying the trailer drawn portable toilets, cleaning the public toilets, carting water for the public toilets and undertaking minor repairs to site facilities; The role usually results in lots of contact with visitors and this is often a highlight of the role;

Projects and Maintenance – During each yearly work program there are regular maintenance tasks like checking and clearing walking trails, cleaning up and weeding the cemetery etc and there are scheduled construction projects like laying railway track, painting carriages, building signs etc; This is usually taken on by volunteers who wish to undertake construction or maintenance, where some tasks require previous experience (like carpentry and welding) and some simply require a desire to give it a go (like painting, weeding, mowing).





The Farina Restoration Group uses a camp ground area which is not available to the public. As you enter through the gate to the public camping area, bear right and go through another gate to get to the volunteer camping area. There is a shower block (hot water), flushing toilets and limited laundry facilities. The capacity of the facilities is limited to about 40-50 persons and this governs the number of volunteers on site at any given time.

A limited 240V power supply is available for caravans & campers, usually from 4pm to 8pm and mornings while bakery washing is being done. It will not power electric stoves, ovens, micro-waves, hair dryers, kettles, toasters. Check the operation of your caravan fridge and make sure it is working efficiently on gas. You should expect to get about 10 – 12 days running of a stove top for cooking and gas fridge from a 9kg cylinder of gas. Gas resupply is available at the Leigh Creek South Motors on a cylinder exchange basis.

There is no drinking/rain water supply. Fair quality dam water is available for washing, showers and cleaning when available. It is recommended that you bring at least 2 x 10 litre containers of drinking water in addition to your normal caravan supply. (10L boxes of water are available at the Leigh Creek store).The rainwater in the tanks at Tom’s Shed is only available for use by Patterson’s House and stonework mortar. Current information from Farina Station indicates that the bore water is salty and the supply is limited.

Your personal clothes washing should be restricted and the camp washing machine may be available but only after the requirements of the bakery washing are completed. Availability of water for any washing apart from bakery will be dependent on how much we have in the dam at the time. The amount of water available for clothes washing may vary during a work programme and between work programmes. The coordinators will provide advice at the time. The Leigh Creek Caravan Park has relatively new coin operated washing machines. The Caravan Park will also allow FRG volunteers to take water even though we are not staying at the Park. Speak to the manager first. Hand washing at the camp ground is available.

A dump point has been established at Farina to receive waste from cassette toilets/porta potties. Please do not dump into the toilets – it destroys the septic systems. There is limited camp fire timber for the “Happy Hour” fire. If you wish to have your own fire please bring your own wood.

Volunteers do not pay any camp fees.

This table shows how many volunteers have registered for the 2023 season by week. (Table updated  2nd May 2023) We are aiming to have around 50 volunteers registered in each week. If you are flexible with your dates please register for a week which needs more volunteers.

Week Saturday to Sunday Places Filled Places Available Notes
1 May 27 to June 4 50 0  
2 June 3 to June 11 50 0  
3 June 10 to June 18 50 0  
4 June 17 to June 25 50 0  
5 June 24 to July 2 50 0  
6 July 1 to July 9 50 0  
7 July 8 to July 16 50 0  
8 July 15 to July 23 50 0  

After successful registration using the button below, you will receive a confirmation via email and the email will contain a link for you to download the Volunteer Information Sheet 2023 which contains all relevant information you will need. Please read the Information Sheet after you register and it may be useful to bring along a copy on your phone or computer.

Register to Volunteer in 2023