What is HarbourCare?

HarbourCare supports volunteers concerned about pollution in Sydney Harbour and its effect on marine and bird life, and who volunteer to cleanup and remove rubbish from our many small beaches.

HarbourCare Volunteers

Many people voluntarily pick up rubbish that they come across and Council recognises the important role they play in maintaining our local environment and keeping our harbour clean. The HarbourCare program formally supports this.

How to volunteer

Fill in this Online volunteer application form and then attend one of these sites:


Volunteers at one of these beaches. Some sites such as Lavender Bay or Sawmillers Reserve have minimal rubbish and a shopping bagful can be collected in a few minutes. Others, such as Berrys Bay and surrounds, may have 120 litres of rubbish and take an hour to clean.

Many of our sites are surrounded by bushland reserves which contain protected plants, habitats and wildlife - including threatened species.

Please ensure all clean-up activities avoid these bushland areas and remain within the open parklands and sandy beach areas.  Your support will help to protect these vulnerable areas from inadvertent damage and assist the work of local Bushcare volunteers.


Who can volunteer?

Anybody between the age of 18 and 90 will be covered by North Sydney Council’s insurance. Under 18s can take part, but should be supervised by a responsible adult. The initiative is ideally suited to people who take a daily walk, or dog walkers who can incorporate a clean-up on the way.


How often do volunteers have to work?

The time you put into HarbourCare is up to you. There are no scheduled times or days because beach pollution varies according to the weather and tides. Some sites need cleaning on a daily basis, while others can remain clean for more than a week at a time. Cleaning up is best done at low tide when more rubbish is exposed and access is easier. Any time a volunteer can give will make a difference.

Other requirements

Volunteers are asked to keep a simple record of how much they collect, the date and location. Data is important to evaluate the program and to attract government funding that can be used for programs to lessen the rubbish being discarded. Records should be forwarded at least twice a year.

As an example, more than 4 tons of rubbish was collected from Berrys Bay in 2013.

To aid collecting rubbish, Council provides volunteers with safety equipment such as gloves, eye protection and other equipment as required. Volunteers are given work safety information so that they can avoid injury, but in the event of accidental injury they are covered by Council’s Public Liability Insurance.

Stay informed

Council will send occasional emails to volunteers when necessary. Where several people are involved with one beach, a coordinator will be appointed who will be able to contact others and arrange a roster if needed.


We want to clean this!

Related Links