A BUST-UP between the volunteers that ran Tamworth Marsupial Park and Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) has seen all 12 of them walk off the job.
The Friends of Tamworth Marsupial Park sub-committee was established in 2009 when the park was on the brink of closure.
For more than a decade the group has given thousands of hours to turn the dilapidated park into one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
President John McDarmont said he was not pleased with the way the relationship ended, but he was proud of the work he and his volunteers had put in.
"A hell of a lot of hard work went into it," he said.
"We saved the council a lot of labour in that time, we would have saved them two to three full-time staff, so we worry what it will be like in 12 months time.
"If they treat it as a job with no passion in it, time will tell."
A Department of Primary Industries and Environment audit of the park determined a full-time council staff member would be needed to meet requirements, since then the council has started to take a stronger role in the management of the park.
When Mr McDarmont started at the park he was a retired carpenter.
In those days each of the volunteers learned on the job, there was little paperwork and limited qualifications, he said.
"We learned by looking after the animals and observing," he said.
"It was very depressing the first week I didn't go back, I'm hoping that they look after it because Tamworth certainly needs it and the kids can't do without it with school holidays coming up.
"We enjoyed what we did and we are proud of what we have done."
TRC will vote on Tuesday to formally disband the sub-committee and transfer its assets and liabilities to the council.
The council's sports and recreation manager Paul Kelly said the volunteers have a proud history.
"Following the recent decision by the Friends of Marsupial Park to disband, council is talking with former members about a suitable acknowledgement of their efforts over more than 10 years of volunteer service," he said.
"Through the dedication and commitment of volunteers, the park has evolved into the outstanding asset it is today with the addition of aviaries, animal enclosures and more recently the Tamworth Adventure Playground."
The council hopes to have more volunteers through RU Volunteering.