National Volunteer Week 2019 – Lachlan Skinner

20 May, 2019

From the Back Shed to NAIDOC

The sound of raucous laughter from the back shed reached the two women as they sipped tea in the kitchen.

"Are those boys still mucking about with that radio show of theirs?" Noeline Skinner asked her sister Fiona Hyland.

Fiona chuckled. "Certainly sounds like it. We should really go down to the radio station and see if we can help get them a real program."

The two women did just that, and little did they know it, but it was the start of a rich and energetic community life for the two boys, especially 13-year-old Lachlan Skinner.

Lachlan and his cousin Jaymin Hyland Taylor began volunteering at Coffs Harbour's local community station CHY-FM, anchoring the station's first Koori radio program called "Speaking Hour Lingo."

Lachlan loved the program, and 11 years later, he's still volunteering in community.

He and Jaymin volunteered at CHY-FM for five years, Lachlan joined the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Social Events Committee (CHASE) at the age of 16, ran a youth talent quest for a few years and is now on the local organising committee for NAIDOC Week activities.

"Volunteering has taught me a lot about leadership and the value of hard work. That first little radio show lit a fire in me and showed me how important it is to give our time and get involved in our communities."

Lachlan joined the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council when he turned 19 and is currently the Community Relations and Engagement Officer there, a role that blends well with his ongoing CHASE and NAIDOC work.

His parents and his aunties Noeline and Fiona remain strong supports at home.

"My parents, aunts and uncles have always been really supportive of my work in our community.

"They know I want to see Coffs Harbour's young people thrive. Their leadership helped me when I was finding my way, and we have some deadly memories of where it all started, with our "silly radio" in the back shed!"


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.