16 August 2016 NELN Newsletter

Network News.

16 August 2016.


  1. STOP PRESS: Ecovillage Early Infrastructure Works Start.
  2. Wildlife refuges.
  3. Next Open Day, Permaculture talk and Kids Activities.
  4. Let’s Go Flower-Powering!  Kids Open Day activities.
  5. Permaculture Weekend, 5 places left..
  6. Lyndall abroad: Ecovillage founder reports from Europe and North America.
  7. Composting workshop at Narara Ecovillage: Council Green Workshops.
  8. Other Coming Events: Breakfast with Curlews, Living Smart Festival, Woytopia Festival, 30 years of Rainforest Action, Natural Building Session, Deep Ecology Workshop and more.
  9. Contacts, Costs and Useful Information.


1. STOP PRESS! Early Infrastructure Works Start!

It’s starting! The Narara Ecovillage Co-operative has awarded the contract to build the site infrastructure to Robson Civil Projects. Site infrastructure means the roads, culverts, drains, services, lot subdivision etc. As the Ecovillage Co-operative has now received its Construction Certificate for Early Works and Bulk Earthworks, the machines are now on site.

Photo below, L to R:  Joel Green ( TCB Project Management, seconded to Narara Ecovillage), John Talbott (Narara Ecovilage Project Director) and Daniel Bosley (Robson Civil Projects) on site this morning.


Robson site works start medium

Photo below: Going, going, gone. Julian Bassett’s drone camera photo shows the site just as prepartion starts, and pretty much as DPI left it..

NEV Aerial drone start works

As work starts on building the ecovillage infrastructure, machines large and small gather at the ecovillage.  And while Robson contractors gather their enormous machinery, a group of members including John Seed  (on right in photo) have purchased their own, somewhat smaller, equipment for use on site.

Seed Errey and machine


2.  Wildlife refuges.

An Environmental Survey by ecologist Robert Payne revealed a remarkable feature of the ecology of the Narara Ecovilage: the site is home to no less than 13 species of insectivorous microbat (and one Flying Fox / “Macrobat” species). In preparation for site works, members have already installed microbat roosting boxes around the site to serve as refuges.  In addition we have visited legendary Strickland forester, and Narara resident  Alf Britten to check out his Pygmy Possum and glider boxes (see photo below).


Beatbox teamAlf Britten and wildlife boxes


3.  Next Open Day, Permaculture Talk and Kid Activities.

The next Open Day will be on Sunday 28 August. The programme will be:

10.30 – 1 p.m. Guided site tours, presentation, Q and A, refreshments.

10.30 – 1pm.  Permaculture Activities for Kids- “Let’s Go Flower-Powering”. See below.

1 p.m. Community Lunch– bring something to share, e.g. casserole, salad, fruit and nuts, cheese and bread, soup, a dessert etc.-.

2 to 3.00 p.m. International Sustainability Educator Robina McCurdy talks on How Community Gardens are Pivotal to Community Glue.  This talk is free to NEV and NELN Members, and anyone who has paid to attend the Open Day, others  $10 individual, $20 family, pay at the door.


4.  Kids Activities on Open Day.

Let’s Go Power Flowering!

This Open Day ( Sunday 28 August) the kids activities are going to be all about spring blossoms, native seed bombs, and of course planting the Permaculture way. With all sorts of seeds, bulbs, and blooming flowers in our big garden bed. And lead by our Permaculture practitioner John Seed.

permaculture kids viz

When? Sunday, 28 August from 10:30 AM during Open Day & Permaculture Talk (10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Where? At the grassy area and embankments next to the Visitors Centre

All kids are welcome!  Please come over with your parents to join us.


5.  Permaculture Weeekend with Robina MacCurdy: 5 places left.

Robina McCurdy in garden

Permaculture Weekend Workshops by well-known international Sustainability Educator Robina McCurdy:

Weekend theme:  Food Security with a focus on Community Garden Design.

Saturday 27 August; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Permaculture Principles & Processes in Designing a Community Garden.

Cost $60 (NELN members $55).

Saturday 6pm. Film showing, ‘S.O.S: Save our Seeds’ by Robina. This new film (1 hour and 20 minutes) was produced in June this year. Also showing will be the 15 minute documentary, “Hands-on Seed. Cost (includes hearty soup) $ 15.

Sunday 28 August.  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Productive & Multi-functional Landscape ‘Greenways’ (interface zones).  Includes Community Lunch at 1 pm.

Cost $60 (NELN members $55).

Bookings and further info at neln.org.au/permaculture


6.   Lyndall abroad: 

Ecovillage founder Lyndall Parris reports from her recent trip to Europe and North America.

Photo below: Arcadia, North Carolina.



“Dave and I will be home this week after 2 months of traipsing around the world – visiting family , as well as checking out some interesting places and ideas that might have some application for Narara Ecovillage.

Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Ireland combines homes, farm produce and common shared facilities. The economy of Ireland since the global financial crisis has been dire and nearly caused the collapse of their whole development. Now the ecovillage is looking to add a cohousing development so that they can offer more diversified and affordable housing.

We also visited Humanitas Akropolis in Rotterdam where a fella called Hans Becker has been the leading force of the Humanitas Foundation for yonks, they are developing 33 housing complexes with ‘apartments for life’. These apartments are not only for the aged but are predominantly so. Some of his words include……. “many nursing homes are ‘Clusters of Misery, like a zoo – clean, cage and feed. We focus here on happiness with a YES culture. There is nothing to cure in aging.  Free from the medical mafia”.
Deep breath everyone!  

Hans also talked to us about ‘care without caring’ and supplying amenities so that people can have fun. He pragmatically says “ If people are having fun, they feel less pain and complain less and, it’s cheaper! ”.

This man is such a breath of fresh air, a legend and a gladiator and they have 3000 people on their waiting list!

In London, we visited an urban development called ‘The Collective’ – rental co-living, catering mainly for the late 20/early 30’s, “ Millennials: shackled only to their devices and the internet, preferring to design and live a life that includes their family and friends, their hobbies and pastimes plus their work and business”.

They rent fully serviced studios and twodios and want to remove the hassle out of their life by paying one monthly bill that includes including cleaning and  changing the sheets on their bed. Some are tired of house shares that have gone wrong, fed up with bad landlords and tired of waiting months to get anything fixed. Many people move in because they want community and to share more facilities, such as afully appointed kitchen,  laundrette, spa & sauna, Japanese tearoom, cinema, gym, convenience store, bar and cafe. And they enjoy quizz nights, BBQ’s, pot luck dinners, happy hour and book clubs”.

The Collective opened  in May this year, has 200 people currently living there.

Photo below: Pacifica, North Carolina.


Finally, I visited two Cohousing communities in North Carolina, Arcadia and Pacifica. These were both designed and developed by another legend, Australian born architect Giles Blunden. This designer drew inspiration for Arcadia from the broad roofed farm houses of Australia, as well as the eclectic charm of small French and English villages; he used a Japanese way of building paths so that the eye would be charmed by variety as well as by the subtle hint of connection.

To hear more about this trip, come along to Lyndall’s illustrated talk on her travels, as part of the Open Day on Saturday 24 September, at 4.30 pm.

7. Composting Workshop at Narara Ecovillage: Council Workshops.


Kerrie Anderson Compost workshop 2016

Kerrie Anderson gave a popular Central Cost Council workshop on Composting and Worm Farming, at the Narara Ecovillage on 23 July. You can see the full list of Council’s Environmental workshops at:http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/environment-and-waste/environmental-education-and-programs/green-living/green-living-workshops.


8.  Other Coming Events for your diary.


19 August to 23 September Learn to Unwind, De-stress and Meditate http://invitationtohealth.com.au/thechilloutlounge/
Saturday 20 August, 8 to 10 a.m. Breakfast with the Stone Curlews  and Census. http://www.cen.org.au/events
Sunday 21 August Coiled Basketry Workshop Bookings: lisamcarthuredwards@yahoo.com.au
Saturday, August 20

5.00pm – 8.00pm

Family Trivia Night – Raising Awareness about Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans, Kariong Eco Garden. http://www.kariongecogarden.org.au
Saturday and Sunday 27-28 August Narara Ecovillage Open day, Permaculture weekend, Kids Activities  See above.
Sunday 28 August Bushwalk and Botanical Photography, Kincumber Mountain Reserve. Register: coss@cen.org.au
Saturday 3 September, 1-4 pm. COSS Connections: Connect with Long-nosed Potoroo Country. http://www.cen.org.au/events/cen-events/83-friends-of-coss-coss-connections-and-land-for-wildlife-walk-and-talk-event-4
Sunday, September 11 Sustainable House Day. http://sustainablehouseday.com
24 Sept 2016 Living Smart Festival, Lake MacQuarie, 8 am to 2 pm. http://www.lakemac.com.au/living-smart-festival
Saturday 24 September, 4.30 pm. Narara Ecovillage Open Day(1.30 pm) and talk by Lyndall Parris on overseas communities (4.30 p.m.). http://neln.org.au/2016-events/
Sunday October 9, 9 am to 3 pm. Woytopia Festival, Woy Woy. http://www.woytopia.info
Saturday and Sunday 12-13 November Deep Ecology Workshop with John Seed, at Narara Ecovillage. Details to be advised.


Sunday 20 November Narara Ecovillage Open Day(10.30 am) and Session on Natural Building, including Viva Living Homes (from 2 p.m.). http://neln.org.au/2016-events/
9-13 January 2017 Camp Creative – Bellingen http://www.campcreative.com.au

9.  Contacts and More Info.

The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. The Network organizes the annual Narara Ecoburbia Festival, as well as regular talks, tours and events.

The Narara Ecovillage Cooperative Ltd. Is a Co-operative formed to develop the Narara Ecovillage. Membership costs $30,000, and requires the intent to purchase a lot at the ecovillage and to contribute a minimum number of working hours.


Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd. http://nararaecovillage.com  andhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/43471726786, or phone 02 4328 1588.


Unless specified, the cost to attend Open Days are:

  • Open Day attendance: individual $10, family $20. (Includes option to hear Monthly NELN Talk).
  • Monthly NELN Talk:  individual $10, family $20. Free to members of NELN and NEV, and those who have paid to attend the Open Day.
  • Community Lunch or dinner: no cost if attending Open Day or NELN Talk. Please bring some food to share. E.g. a salad, soup, bread and cheese, fruit or a dessert.

There is no need to book for Open Day activities.

NB Membership of NELN allows you to attend all Open Days and Monthly NELN Talk, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. Annual membership costs individual $20, family $40. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line at: http://neln.org.au/join-us/

Coming events.

A full Calendar of 2016 events can be found at: http://neln.org.au/2016-events/