Community stalwart

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Steve Walsh spends most of his off time volunteering for different sporting and community groups in Manjimup.
Camera IconSteve Walsh spends most of his off time volunteering for different sporting and community groups in Manjimup. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

A community-minded man in Manjimup spends his day trying to give back in an effort to enrich residents’ experiences.

Steve Walsh has lived in Manjimup since he was 18, when he moved here for work.

“I came here in 1994 to work for two to three years and I haven’t left,” he said.

From a farming background, Steve took to working at Five Acre Nursery, then WA Plantation Resources, and since 2014 has been the manager at Manjimup Truffles.

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Steve had been keen for a change when he took up the challenge as Manjimup Truffles manager.

In his role, Steve manages staff, is involved in recruiting and looks after day-to-day operations.

“I like new challenges and learning new things,” he said.

“I like being outdoors, having grown up on a farm, and being outdoors is always where I wanted to be.

“And being able to use my knowledge that I’ve learned elsewhere is always rewarding.”

As soon as he moved to Manjimup, Steve joined the Middlesex Tennis Club as a member and over the years began to take on more responsibilities as a committee member.

A year in, he stepped up to be assistant tennis captain, which was his first “foot in the door” for taking on a leadership role in a volunteer organisation.

Steve credits the great team at the club for giving him the opportunity to grow and learn in the leadership role.

From there, Steve took up a position on the Middlesex Social Club, the umbrella organisation that oversaw the tennis club.

“I did that for a year or two, then I met my wife and we went on to have kids and I took a hiatus from volunteering,” he said.

“It was Mark Holbrook who invited me along to Apex’s 1300th dinner meeting, and the rest is history.”

Since joining the club about six years ago, Steve has held the social director, secretary and president roles.

In the Manjimup Apex Club’s 65-year history, Steve is the first person to have served as president two years consecutively and three years in total.

“It wasn’t done with the intention of breaking tradition, but instead provided the opportunity to make sure other people coming through in leadership roles felt comfortable enough to do so,” he said.

“It allowed others more time to develop their skills so they could more confidently step into those leadership roles.”

After a small slump in membership numbers and reduction of community service, Steve said the Manjimup Apex Club had made a comeback in recent years.

“We’ve got some really good volunteers and it’s their passion to make sure the club keeps moving forward,” he said.

“We’ve had our first female member and our first female president in recent years, and that was an important step for our club as well.”

The club is preparing to say goodbye to its clubhouse of almost 40 years as the Manjimup Apex Hall will be demolished as part of the redevelopment of sporting facilities infrastructure on the corner of Rutherford and Arnott streets.

“It is a door closing and the end of an era, but it is also a door opening for finding new opportunities,” Steve said.

In the meantime, the Manjimup Apex Club is preparing its annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch to be held on November 29.

Between work, tennis and Apex, Steve still finds time to volunteer at the Manjimup United Soccer Club, to help provide junior soccer in the Manjimup region.

Steve’s involvement began when his sons showed an interest in playing soccer and he is the vice-president.

“I got on board to help people out and there is a really good team within the club,” he said.

Steve said he had enjoyed seeing the soccer club grow, especially to the point where there were junior umpires putting their hands up to support the club.

“There’s good people in every club I’m involved in and you do it to support them and the wider community,” he said.

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