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Some newsletters up to 2019.

July 2019


  • Next Open Day – Sunday 28th July 1pm-3pm
  • Ecovillage Stage 2 gets closer
  • Meet the Board, Sat 20th July, 3.30pm
  • Climate change policy adopted by Central Coast Council
  • Wine, Cheese and a Chat, Sat 10th Aug 2019, 5-6.30pm
  • Jazz’s Mushroom house
  • Donna’s house closer to lock-up
  • Help needed for Parris’s Hemp House
  • Steiner School Visit 
  • Wonderful Winter Wildlife Choruses at Narara
  • Water from the Air
  • Winter in the Park (Kibble Park, Gosford) 13-19th July, 10am-4pm
  • Central Coast Greens Forum, Narara Neighbourhood Centre, Sat 3rd August, 1-4pm.
  • Central Coast Country Music Festival, The Entrance: Sun 11th Aug
  • Walk & Tour with Aboriginal man Tim Selwyn: Sun 18th Aug

Next Open Day, Sunday 28th July 1pm-3pm

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Come to our popular Open Day event, with over 70 visitors last month.  Listen to a short presentation and take a site tour. Then spend the afternoon participating in one of our village activities, maintenance or construction projects, picnicking on our beautiful site, and chatting with Ecovillage members (many of whom have unique skills and experience in everything from permaculture to natural building, animal husbandry to tool libraries and wellbeing).

Your children will love exploring our natural playground, and are most welcome to participate in our activities too.

For information about activities and stalls available each month, check our facebook page or our website

Tea/coffee, water, and a seasonal fruit platter will be available. Please feel free to bring along your own lunch or afternoon tea to enjoy, or explore the growing options available at our village stalls and juice bar.

Cost to attend any part of the day: Individual $10, Family $20.

At other times our front gate is closed so if you would like a private site tour, please email us.

Please note this is a rural property. We recommend wearing enclosed shoes (not thongs or sandals).

Our mission includes striving for ecological sustainability. We ask that you leave your pets at home when you visit the Ecovillage.

Stage 2 gets closer

Have you been to Narara Ecovillage lately to see the amazing progress? We have 6 homes already occupied and another 26 under construction.  

Our new Coffee Cart provides a dynamic hub for the residents, builders and visitors to gather and have a chat. It’s open on week-days and on Open Days. Please come and try it out.

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Our big news is that the Stage 2 project team is nearly ready to lodge our Development Application with Central Coast Council. Once we get council approval, we can start building the roads and building infrastructure. We should be ready to finalise lot sales for stage 2 sometime in 2020.

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We are working up a wonderful plan for the second stage (above) of Narara Ecovillage and are hopeful of offering smaller footprint, more affordable housing options as well as the usual lots.

If you think you might be interested in Stage 2 why not join our Stage 2 group. You will get regular updates on progress and will be invited to special activities and to give us your views on what should be in this next stage.  to sign up.

Collaborative Housing
One approach to help us achieve more affordable homes is called Collaborative Housing.

Last month we assembled a roomful of interested people to explore their different needs and wishes, and one of our consultants provided us with creative housing options to consider. You might like to have a look at a successful Collaborative housing project near Taree

If you are particularly interested in Collaborative housing options please join the collaborative housing group. Fine, if you’d like to join both groups. to sign up.

Opportunity NOW – Contact us
Narara Ecovillage is a small, niche project. Already we have 20 people/families on the list for Stage 2 with a mix of those wishing to buy their own lot and build a home, and others pursuing ways to share lots and houses. You can join the village now enjoying the community, being part of deciding the Stage 2 options and getting to know your future neighbours, before you actually move in. That’s what many Stage 1ers did and it’s been hugely positive. Just a couple of months ago, two members decided to share a lot using ‘tenants-in-common’, thereby halving the land cost for each party.

A reminder that you are able to buy shares in the Narara Ecovillage Co-operative ($30,000) now, which gives you a share in the land and community facilities and acts like a deposit on your future purchase. 

You can also contact us at or through Lyndall Parris, the ecovillage Founder on 0419 279 711

Meet the Board, Sat 20th July, 3.30pm

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Founder, Lyndall, would like to introduce you to the Board of Narara Ecovillage.

We have the best Co-op directors we could possibly wish for! Come and meet some of them and have a cuppa or a glass of wine with us. They are a great bunch of people and ready to answer any questions at all that you may have about our amazing project.

Bring the whole family. Kids so welcome.

Lincoln, Trish, Grant, Stu, Verena, Gina and, Laurence and our Board secretary Elly in front.

Central Coast Council adopts Climate Change Policy 

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At Monday, 8th July 2019’s Council Meeting, after much public consultation, Central Coast Council adopted the amended Central Coast Climate Change Policy.  Mayor Jane Smith congratulated Council staff on their work on the policy.  She added that the community engagement was the best she has seen in 20 years and she went to all public sessions. While speakers at the public forum criticised the numbers in the consultations, she believes they were big numbers.

The Mayor said there was a need for leadership and it was important all levels of government address and plan for predicted climate change impacts.

For impacts of Climate Change specific to the Central Coast you can visit

Wine, Cheese and Chat at Narara Ecovillage, Sat 10th Aug, 5-6.30pm

with Lyndall Parris

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You and your family and friends are invited to join us for a glass of Wine/Kombucha, Bickie and Cheese and a Chat with founder, Lyndall Parris and other Nararians.

5 – 6.30pm at the Visitors Centre, Narara Ecovillage, 25 Research Road, Narara

Donation requested please. and children so welcome

Come and hear the latest plans for Stage 2 and other developments on our site.

Jazz’s ‘Mushroom’ House

by Jazz Mozzi

Mushroom House.JPG

Who would have thought that in my 60’s I would be building a house and using words like ‘waffle pods’ and ‘thermal mass’ and attempting to understand how solar panels and normal/ grey/reticulated water all ties together.

I’m an admin person who loves food, reading and music and now the brain is being stretched to new levels!

We’ve nicknamed my house the ‘mushroom’ because it seems to have gone up almost overnight. Living Green Designer Homes started 2 months ago and anticipate being finished before end of August.

There is excitement here in the Ecovillage for the building phase and community skills and expertise are shared around. Members are helping and sharing their services to each other right through the give us your 2 cents worth, what shall I build stage to the design, choosing materials, recommending companies and holding workshops to learn about strawbale and hemp.  

Mine is a small home at 59sqm so I want to have light colours throughout. The concrete slab is a ‘driftwood’ colour, the inside walls will be Milk Cloud, tiles an off white although I decided on all black matt fittings in the bathroom to break up the lightness a bit. And I have lashed out on a feature above the vanity with a strip of small tiles that have a metallic rainbow hue!

I can’t wait to show the house off at the Sustainable House Day at Narara Ecovillage.

Donna’s Light Earth Workshop

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Donna’s house is getting closer to lock-up stage, especially after last weekend’s light earth workshop run by architects/ natural builders, Will and Kenney of Integrated Biotecture.

Faster than building with strawbales, light earth, excellent as thermal mass, is a mix of straw with a light coating of clay slip, tamped down into a formwork and left to dry before being rendered.  The formwork ensures that the finished wall is moderately even, saving time and effort.

A productive day was had with Donna’s builder Ryan and his offsiders joining in to learn new skills with other enthusiastic members and volunteers.

Help needed for Parris’ Hemp House

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Lyndall and Dave invite you to help build their new hempcrete home and get hands-on experience in this innovative natural building process with our 4-day working bee, July 11th-14th. Come for part or all four days.

You’ll get to:

  • learn how renewable hemp fibre can be utilised for thermal and acoustic insulation to create a healthy home
  • see how timber framing, services and formwork are constructed to receive the hempcrete mix
  • learn how to blend a consistent mix of hemp hurd fibre and lime based binder as a low carbon substitute for concrete.

For details contact Dave:  or 0402 060 768 and see:

Steiner School visit

by Jazz Mozzi

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Last week, the local Steiner School brought their year 3 class to the ecovillage for a sustainable housing excursion. They were hosted by Jazz as well as Jon, who is a member of the Ecovillage Building Review panel.  He gave brief descriptions of building methods used in each dwelling.

The children arrived by bus and ate their lunch before heading off on a tour past the 8 homes that are built or being built. First was the Tiny House which they all loved and then to the hempcrete homes. A builder brought a hemp brick out for the children and adults to see and feel. This was followed by two strawbale panel homes, one with a Weathertex top floor and the two homes that have used Colorbond cladding. On the main village road, they went past the modular home that needed a crane to lift and position the 5 modules together. Finally, they visited the Earthship, an excellent example of thermal efficiency. See below an aerial view of their tour.

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There was time to detour and see the chooks and the vegetable gardens. The children then sat on the grass and drew three of the houses that they particularly liked before piling back in the bus to return to school.

If teachers are looking for school excursion opportunities that focus on the sustainability aspect or gardening and permaculture please contact us at

Wonderful Winter Wildlife Choruses at Narara

by Richard Cassels

This month has seen our valley (the ”Narara Eco Valley”?) ringing with wildlife choruses:

 Pied Currawongs (below) have wonderful haunting calls; they have come down from the hills in flocks to eat Privet and Camphor Laurel berries.


NB Currawongs are a little like Magpies, but Magpies (below) are much more solid, have more white feathers, brown eyes (not yellow), and are usually alone or in twos.


The Swamp Mahoganys in Carrington Road are in massed flower, so that you can hardly see, but can certainly hear the Noisy Friarbirds (below) in them.

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Figbirds (below) hang around the White Cedars near the Grafting Shed, eating the berries.


Here are two Long-billed Corellas, grooming each other and enjoying the morning sun in Pandala Road on Monday.

Long billed Corellas.jpeg

The frogs in the NEV detention basins (Common Eastern Froglets) also seem be in full voice- but are very difficult to photograph.

So stop and listen! There are few places in the world with so many wonderful wildlife sounds (All photos by Richard Cassels).

Water from the Air

by Chris Wenban

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If you are hanging out near the ecovillage Visitor’s Centre and feeling thirsty, chilled water is now available from an ‘Atmospheric Water Maker’ that is situated near the Coffee Cart. This machine takes fresh Narara air and condenses out the moisture, sending it through multiple filters and UV light to produce clean, cool water for drinking. It makes up to 28L of water a day depending on the humidity and can store 16L at one time. Fill your water bottle or use one of the glasses provided.

Be sure to check that the silicon cap on the dispensing nozzle has been taken off and placed in the tray (if you can’t get it to dispense water!)

If you are interested in having a machine to provide water in your own house or business, contact Chris Wenban, 0416 394810 or

This technology is being used on an industrial scale, helping to address food growth where there is no access to freshwater sources. For more information, there is a short explanatory video here

Winter in the Park, Kibble Park 6–20th July 10am-4pm

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Winter in the Park is a 15-day event for families, locals and visitors. The purpose is to offer a fun holiday experience for all who attend. With so much on offer including an igloo village, ice carvings, ice sculptures, cupcake classes, live entertainment, stage shows, FREE craft activities, carnival rides plus much more. This activation is directly targeting families, locals and visitors to the Gosford CBD to create a memorable experience so please visit us again.

Central Coast Greens Forum, Narara Community Centre, Sat 3rd Aug, 1-4pm


The Greens hope you can join them for Central Coast Greens members’ and supporters’ forum.

“We’d love to hear what you’re passionate about, why you’ve joined the Greens or thinking about doing so. You might be new to the Greens and wondering how to get involved.

Our special guests are:

Abigail Boyd – our newly elected Greens state MP, resident of Terrigal, and Greens spokesperson for the Central Coast. Abigail’s 11 portfolios include climate change, animal welfare, disability, mining, transport, domestic and family violence.

Lee Rhiannon – has worked with a range of community groups and unions on social justice and environment protection campaigns. She was a Greens MP in both the NSW parliament and the Senate. On retiring from the Senate in 2018 she said she was leaving parliament but not leaving politics.

James Ryan – Planning and Environment Law Officer for Greens NSW, grassroots organiser and campaigner and previously 12 years as Greens Councillor on Cessnock Council.

Afternoon tea will be provided. Please RSVP for catering to

We look forward to seeing you at Narara Community Centre, 2 Pandala Road, Narara”.

Central Coast Country Music Festival, The Entrance: 11th Aug

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The Central Coast Country Music Festival is back for its 19th year! Celebrate great country entertainment on a magnificent backdrop of The Entrance waterways. The event will include an array of tasty food stalls, a busking competition, free entertainment, activities and a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the music.

Amber Lawrence Sunny Cowgirls The Viper Creek Band Christie Lamb Lizzie Steadman Chelsea Berman.

Local venues are also involved and will have free country entertainment over the weekend.

46 Marine Parade, The Entrance, Wyong, New South Wales 2261, Australia

Walk & Tour with Aboriginal Tim Selwyn: Sun 18th Aug, 8am-2.30pm

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Join a visit to Yengo National Park. See ancient engravings and rock art, hear timeless stories and totemic song/dance, feel the power of mother earth and the spirit of the ancestors that will ground your feet and lift your soul.

Tim has kindly agreed to run a tour just for Central Coast Greens who are hosting this fundraiser for the 2020 local government election campaign. All surplus funds from this guided walk will be used for that campaign. 

How to Book and Payment: The cost is $65.00, $45.00 concession, $30.00 student (extra donations warmly welcomed). Confirm your booking by emailing Bob Doyle at with your name and full address details as per your electoral roll registration. Bob will confirm your registration, provide bank transfer details and once your payment is received you are ready to go. If you are unwaged please contact Bob either by email or at 0412 160683.

See you at the ecovillage!

Linda Scott

 June 2019 


  • Heritage Grant awarded for building conservation
  • Next Open Day 1–3pm
  • A taste of Sociocracy: Fri 28th June, 6.30–9pm
  • Wicking Bed Workshop Sat 29th June 9am–3pm
  • Mental Health Awareness Program, Sun 30th June,
  • Living in a community ‘Big House’: 29/30th June
  • “Act as if the house is on fire”
  • MAD about Dirt recap
  • Visit Strickland Forest
  • Lyndall’s booklaunch
  • Global Ecovillage Network Conference at Narara
  • Coffee Cart Café open for business
  • Climate Emergency Workshop, Sat 29th June
  • Rhythm Hut (Gosford’s best kept secret)

Grant awarded for heritage building conservation work

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Narara Eco Living Network has been awarded $10,000 by Central Coast Council to help preserve the former Gosford Horticulture Research Station’s Grafting Shed. The building is now part of the Narara Ecovillage.

The grant will be used to fund a Heritage Architect and a Structural Engineer to create a Conservation Management Strategy. The strategy will outline what needs to be done to save and restore the building. 

Special thanks to Network and Narara Ecovillage member, Pip Atkins, whose foresight and planning have resulted in a significant step towards returning the building to its former glory.

June Open Day: Saturday 29th June, 1-4pm

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Deb explains permaculture to interested visitors

Visit our beautiful site and learn about the vision for our Ecovillage with founder Lyndall Parris and other members.

Cost to attend: Individual $10, Family $20.

Tea/coffee, water, and a seasonal fruit platter will be available. Please feel free to bring along your own lunch or afternoon tea to enjoy, or explore the growing options available at our village stalls and juice bar.

Our mission includes striving for ecological sustainability. We ask that you leave your pets at home when you visit.

Please note this is a rural property and we recommend wearing enclosed shoes (not thongs or sandals).

A Taste of Sociocracy (aka Dynamic Governance):
Fri 28th June 2019, 6.30–9pm

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How do you get your family, business team and in our case, 180 people to make decisions, resolve conflicts and feel that they have been heard? 

Narara Ecovillage is using Sociocracy. This is a decision-making and governance system that:

  • Is inclusive, transparent and equitable, includes all voices
  • Promotes a better use of NEV’s resources and co-ordination of activities 
  • Leads to care, respect and co-operation
  • Ensures that results of decisions are reviewed to determine their ongoing usefulness
  • This system has relevance for communities, businesses, non-profits, families and more.
  • Come and have a ‘taste’ of this methodology in a presentation by the founder of the Narara Ecovillage, Lyndall Parris.

‘Narara Ecovillage is going from strength to strength year by year–and it is wonderful to witness their journey. They are definitely at the forefront of Sociocracy in practise in Australia.’ Gina Price, Australia’s leading Sociocratic Consultant.

Gina Price and Lyndall Parris co-presented the Narara Ecovillage experience at the inaugural international on-line Sociocracy Conference earlier this year.


  • 6.30: Welcome – cuppa or glass of wine
  • 7pm: ‘A Taste of Sociocracy’
  • 9pm: Home to bed!

Donation to cover refreshments please.  RSVP:

Earthship Wicking Bed Workshop: Sat 29th June, 9am–3pm

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If you’ve ever been curious how a wicking bed works, especially an Earthship wicking bed, then grab a space at this workshop (limited spaces).

It’s a free event, with lunch provided by our catering legend, Candy, and you’re also assured of great company.  Also, it’s on our Open Day and you get to spend some time in the earthship which will be featured in September’s Sustainable House Day!  What a deal!  More information and to RSVP:

Mental Health Awareness Program: Sun 30th June, 10am–12pm

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Margo Blacklaw’s program includes:

  • What are the mental health issues?
  • What are the signs of mental health in yourself and other people?
  • We focus on Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis, drugs and alcohol
  • How do you start the conversation?
  • What skills do you need to develop to help yourself or people you manage with mental health issues?
  • Case studies and examples

Where do you go for support and help? Early intervention is crucial to recovery
Register with Margo by 21st June: Investment: $50.

Living in a community co-owned ‘Big House’

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Member Pip Atkins says: Many of us are now familiar with Bryce Langston’s ‘Living Big in a Tiny House’ and you may also have heard of the Shedders who are three couples who combined resources and lives to live in a ‘Big House’.  Well, what about us at Narara demonstrating ‘Living Lightly (Small or Tiny) in a Big House’?

Through our Shared Equity Working Group, which is linked to the Stage 2 Project Control Group, but includes a strong ‘social’ aspect, we are exploring housing solutions that offer more affordable community living. One of the options is to share (co-own) a ‘Big House’ with another 2 or 3 householders (singles, couples, family or friendship groupings).

On the weekend of 29/30th June we will have the first of many gatherings where we can connect with other members and prospective members who are drawn to living in this way. To be successful, we need get to know one another well before we reach the stage of ‘dots’ being placed on ‘lots’ – which could be as soon as 8 months away. In order to allocate the most suitable lots for this purpose, we need to be proactive and clear about what level of energy there is around this idea.

If you are interested, please contact Pip Atkins: and actively join the conversation. You will then be kept in the loop for events and information that might help members of a ‘Big House’ community buy land and build together with their own money and to their own design in Stage 2 at Narara Ecovillage.

“Act as if the house is on fire”

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These are the words of wisdom from 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and if people aren’t taking her words seriously, maybe David Attenborough’s words will strike a chord, as he said in his recent TV programme, “What happens now and in these next few years will profoundly affect the next few thousand years”.

“We need to act now together to stop the almost irreversible damage we are doing to our planet. What this experience has highlighted is that there is too much individualism within the speciality food sector, too much re-inventing the wheel and more would be achieved more quickly by communication and collaboration.”

So far over 600 councils and organisations around the world have declared climate emergency and it is being recognised that it’s not a band of hippy activists demonstrating but a diverse range of concerned citizens from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds who care about the future we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

They/we are rebelling against the extinction of our precious flora and fauna, the planet and the very future of humankind.

 MAD About Dirt recap

by Joan and Richard Cassels

Last month over 600 people went MAD in Narara – at the Mad about Dirt event! The MADness happened at Narara Valley High School in the morning and Narara Ecovillage in the afternoon.

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Keynote speaker Angus Stewart described the event as “brilliant” and exhibitor Paul Harvey said “thank you for putting on such a fantastic Mad About Dirt event. It was terrific to see so many passionate individuals all working together for a common cause”.

Organiser Joan Cassels said “There are a lot of people passionate about soil. They include gardeners and professional horticulturalists, soil scientists, soil contamination experts, plant lovers, microbiologists, permaculturists, regenerative and biodynamic farmers, or natural earth home builders. The energy and buzz created by having them all together was amazing.

Joan continued: “The bottom line for the event was that more people would see soil as a living and miraculous carpet of life, instead of just ‘ground with ‘dirt’”.

Don’t miss the wonderful and moving video that Sam Freeman, Angus Stewart, and Tino Carnevale kindly made for us: MadaboutDirtMay2019  and see Angus’ report on the event at: Gardening with Angus

MANY thanks to everyone who contributed to make the event such a great success, particularly to our generous grantors, sponsors and partners: the Central Coast Council, Bendigo Bank, SESL Australia, Viva Living Homes, Builtsmart Modular, and Narara Valley High School.

Walking in Strickland Forest

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New member Chris Wenban says: Did you know that the ecovillage has Strickland State Forest as our next-door neighbor, with our own private access?

It was the site of the first government forest nursery (1886–1890) and first national forestry training school (1920–1927). Remnants of native and exotic tree plantings established during those times (known as an arboretum) are now among the oldest in Australia and can be seen on the Arboretum Track.

As an avid walker, I decided to explore the possibilities for a Sunday morning ‘constitutional’ walk that I was in habit of doing when living in Manly and was delighted to find 6 tracks (see map). This gives you the opportunity of a nice 20 min stroll on quite flat ground all the way up to a couple of hours looping around with some heart pumping hills to keep the fitness levels up.

The entrance to Strickland Forest is a track to the right of the village campsite to the gate into Strickland Forest. The short Arboretum walk after this entrance takes you in a loop, but if you head past that turnoff, you come to the Mini Suspension Bridge and the creek crossing which takes you through to the Stoney Creek car park.

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If you want exercise rather than a stroll walk up the gravel road (Strickland Forest Road) where you can turn left into the Banksia picnic area and car park.

There is another trail route that runs quite parallel to this if you want to keep off the gravel. From Banksia Picnic area, there are a few options to bring you back around and back into the ecovillage.

You can take follow the Cabbage Tree Trail, Strickland Falls Trail and Stoney Creek Trail tracks, getting a glimpse down onto Gosford along the way.

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I still have to try the Bellbird Track and Ridges to Rainforests tracks but some of the trails can be narrow and probably slippery in the wet so wear good shoes. Since most of the trails are under the tree line, it looks like it will be an amazing cool summer trail. There’s some beautiful Gum trees along the trail and it is a very pleasant walk whether you decide to take a short flat stroll or head up the hill.

I have been told that leeches can be a problem but have not encountered them myself. Wear long trousers and check yourself and any pets on return. No dogs are allowed in the forest as it is a State Forest. More info: Walking in Strickland Forest

Lyndall’s Book Launch

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Last month we were privileged to be invited to founder of Narara Ecovillage, Lyndall’s 70th birthday and book launch “Lyndall Parris, Founding a Life and an Ecovillage”.  Beautifully written and produced, for those who have known Lyndall during the dawning of the ecovillage and those who would like to know more, this book will not disappoint.

The stories that unfold on Lyndall’s formative years are surprisingly revealing, amusing and at the same time predictable given that Lyndall, as she admitted, was born with a silver spoon.  A privileged background indeed, yet Lyndall, in her pathway to establish a community, has demonstrated openness, friendship, compassion and empathy to all she meets.  Her coffee meetings, to interview potential ecovillage members, are legendary.

The second half of the book commits to history the roller coaster ride that Lyndall and husband Dave took to search and find the land to establish Narara Ecovillage.  It was her grit and determination over several years that ensured that we were accepted by the State Government as the successful purchasers.

As Lyndall says in Chapter 28: “I feel a strong need to ‘tidy up’ my life by the time I reach three score and ten…  Whether I have a premonition of an early departure from life or just a larger view of a spring clean, I’m glad to have reached this point as a gift to my loves who carry on”.

“And what message would I leave with these dear ones?  I am still seeking life’s ‘sweet spot’…”

It is very likely that Lyndall, with her vast capacity to focus and achieve, often against all odds, will capture many more of life’s sweet spots.   For your copy (or pick up one at the next Open Day):

Global Ecovillage Network Conference at Narara

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Earlier this month, ecovillagers had the opportunity, with GEN members from far and wide, to learn how to run GEN trainings and make their work part of the Global Ecovillage Learning Journey. As a certified GEN Trainer, they could become part of a growing community of individuals passionate about facilitating hands-on positive transformation, using the framework of whole systems thinking and participatory design that is at the heart of the ecovillage movement.

Several innovative projects were workshopped by the 20 participants with the focus of ecovillages being a solution to the world’s most pressing challenges.

For more information on this important conference and to learn more, click here Global Ecovillage Network 

Coffee Cart Café open for business

When you visit the village or happen to be in the area, stop by our new coffee cart to enjoy a delightful cup of coffee or maybe a chai, prepared by Barista Dave (pictured here with mum Candy).  There’s also a range of delicious organic breakfast and lunchtime snacks and takeaways. Open Mon–Fri 7am-3pm

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A World without Owls?

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As the cold winter nights set in, you could find yourself with a problem–rats coming into your home, seeking warmth, eating your plants, or chewing your electrical wires.

New research by Mike Lohr on Southern Boobook Owls in WA has revealed that an alarmingly high number (74%) of these birds had been exposed to, and are affected by commonly-used rat poisons.

International studies suggest that the birds at most risk of secondary poisoning are those with moderate housing density (like the Central Coast of NSW).

The study looked at Boobooks because they are fairly common and widely distributed all over Australia. The very high level of exposure in this species was alarming enough, but the author suggests that other species like Barking Owl and

Masked Owl may be even more at risk, as, unlike Boobooks, they concentrate on rodents all year round.

The poisons in question are “Anticoagulant Rodenticides” (“AGR”s”): they kill rodents by preventing their blood from coagulating. The biggest concerns are the so-called “First Generation AGRs”.

The First Generation AGRs include Warfarin and Coumatetryl (in the brand Racumin), despite persisting for up to 35 days, these AGR’s are not considered a major threat to wildlife like owls. By contrast, the Second Generation AGRs (Brodifacoum, the chief ingredient in Ratsak) can last up to 250 days and Difenacoum (in some Big Cheese Products).

AGR’s pose much wider risks. In Australia many raptors, frogmouths, herons, ibises and ravens eat rats. Dogs, cats and children have been poisoned by direct contact and consumption.

Globally AGR’s are now known to have serious impacts on virtually all raptors found anywhere near humans. Australia’s regulation of AGR’s was found to be considerably more lax than other developed countries, with SGARs widely available and used.

So what options seem to be left if you have a rat problem? If you have to use poisons, use only Racumin or Warfarin. If you employ a licensed pesticide company, choose one that uses poisons only as a last resort; look for companies that say they practice “Integrated Pest Management”.

But much better, try solutions that don’t involve poisons. However these “non-toxic” solutions all have their challenges. Learning to live with Diamond Pythons or other snakes is not an option for everyone, but is very environmentally friendly and won’t leave any mess!

Try and eliminate all possible food sources for rats, and make your house and roof hard for them to enter. By far the most pleasant and beneficial agent for keeping down rat numbers is to encourage owls and diurnal birds of prey: wonderful to watch, naturally inspiring. These birds give pleasure and leave (virtually) no mess! See more at:

Climate Emergency Workshop: Sat 29th June, 9am–5pm

Greenpeace is holding Break Free Training in Sydney or Newcastle. Because there’s no time to stand on the sidelines anymore. This is a moment where we need to band together to declare a climate emergency and resist the inaction from coal-loving politicians.

The training will help you to skill-up and get out into your community to make some noise. You will leave this training with a plan for your very own activity to protect the climate in your community. We’re going to need every bit of that power for the fight ahead. It’s time to organise, the action is only starting. No ‘activism experience’ necessary! Whether you’ve just signed your first petition or have been organising in your community for years, we are welcome to attend.

More information: Break Free Training Sydney or Newcastle

Rhythm Hut (Gosford’s best kept secret)

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The Rhythm Hut is host to a variety of funky, fun, and talented artists from all over the world. Get together with a colourful community to enjoy some of the best entertainment on offer in the Central Coast. Just a few notable names that have graced our stage: OKA, Ngaiire, Nahko & Medicine for The People, Nattali Rize, Bobby Alu, Caravana Sun, Mal Webb, Wild Marmalade, Afro Moses, Dave Stringer, Kim Churchill, Ziggy Alberts, Ash Grunwald, Nicky Bomba, Dustin Thomas, Mike Love, and Rising Appalachia, amongst many many others.  And for something completely different:

Sound Bath Thurs 27th June @ 7pm

Bathe in the sounds of Drums, Harmonium, Gongs, Crystal Bowls, Bells, Chimes and Voice.

Relax, release and energise yourself with the ancient therapy of sound.

You will be supported and guided by experienced meditation practitioners and transported to different brain wave states of consciousness, allowing what will arise whilst being reset by the power of sound and vibration.

Please bring a yoga mat and water bottle, shawl or blanket.

Further enquiries to:

135 Faunce St, 135 Faunce Street, Gosford NSW 2250

The Food, Beer and Wine Festival: Sun 4 Aug, 11:00 am–5:00 pm

Mt Penang Gardens, Event Park and Parklands, Central Coast.

The Food and Wine Festival returns in 2019 with more vendors and entertainment than last year. Showcasing a handpicked collection of the finest food, boutique beers and wine suppliers and businesses. The Food and Wine Festival 2019 is the perfect way to spend a Sunday with the entire family!

See you at the ecovillage!

Linda Scott
BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

About the Network and the Village

The Network

The Narara Eco Living Network is a not-for-profit educational and outreach body established by members of Narara Ecovillage to promote more sustainable living in all its forms.

Become a supporter of the Network – 12 months membership is only $20 an individual or $40 a family. Networkers are offered discounts to a variety of events at the village, and free entrance to Open Days. Click here to check out upcoming events. The network is 100% run by volunteers so we really appreciate your support!

The Village

The village is located at 25 research Road Narara NSW 2250. The Narara Ecovillage Cooperative was formed to purchase land and establish Narara Ecovillage. Joining the co-op costs $30,000, and requires the intent to purchase a lot and to contribute a minimum number of working hours at the ecovillage.  Click here for more info about the Narara Ecovillage 

April 2019


April Open Day: Saturday 27th April 1-3pm

MAD About Dirt, Saturday 11th May 9.30-4pm

o Soil expert says every child should be eating good soil

o BYO soil and dust samples for free analysis

o Garden Design Scholarship a First for the Coast

o Dig Deeper with Angus and Tino: the perfect Mother’s Day gift. 

Building Roundup (in their own words)

o Geoff’s Hempcrete House

o Tony & Teresa’s passive solar house 

o Lyndall and Dave Parris’ Hemp House

o Donna’s Hemp House 

o Steph & Rob’s strawbale & straw panel house

o Candy’s Earthship

Heritage House having facelift

Narara Ecovillage has its first 9 star design

UN Sustainable Development Goals Training for Multipliers

Narara Ecovillage – current cluster and land availability

Sustainable House Day, Sunday 15th September 2019

Showcasing Sociocracy at Narara on International Stage, Thursday, 2nd May 2019

SUSTAIN–Ability: One-Day Rural Yoga Retreat, Saturday, 4th May 9:30am–4:30pm

Climate emergency: facing extinction and what to do about it, Friday, 26th April

Forest dwelling fauna and many species heading towards extinction

Central Coast Watercolour Society

The future of electric cars

5 Lands Walk 2019 Saturday 22 June, 8am-4pm 

Free Biodynamic workshop, Saturday, 4th May, 10:30–2:30pm


April Open Day: Saturday 27th April 1-3pm

Visit our beautiful site and learn about the vision for our ecovillage. A short presentation by our founder,Lyndall Parris, or other members, with Q&A will follow a walking site tour of our rural property. Bring enclosed shoes and hats.

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Tea/coffee, water, and a seasonal fruit platter will be available. Please feel free to bring along your own lunch or afternoon tea to enjoy.

Cost to attend: Individual $10, Family $20

Our mission includes striving for ecological sustainability. We ask that you leave your pets at home when you visit the Ecovillage. 

For information about activities and stalls available each month, check our facebook page.

At other times our front gate is closed so if you would like a private site tour, please contact or phone +61(2)4328 1588


MAD About Dirt

Soil expert says every child should be eating good soil

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Dirt is Good – Dirt is Healthy: why every kid, should be eating good soil!” is the title of Peter Rutherford’s (photo above) talk at the Mad About Dirt event at Narara on Saturday 11th May.

 Peter, from Kimbriki Environmental Enterprises, is a horticulturist , an educator with an extensive knowledge of soils and microbes and is known as a terrific and inspiring speaker. He argues that good healthy, organic soil contains billions of beneficial microbial species that assist humans to build up strong, healthy immune systems. Citing Dr Mary Ruebush, he says: “Contact with, and ingestion of, these beneficial microbes is critical to long term human health” he says. “Parents should relax.  Kids who play outdoors and get dirty are healthier.  They get plenty of physical exercise, and just as important, they get plenty of immunological exercise. It is possible that our current obsession with cleanliness is actually counterproductive to health. Let your children eat dirt, and avoid antibiotics whenever possible”.

Peter is one of a fabulous line up of speakers and exhibitors at Mad About Dirt.

Mad About Dirt is a day dedicated to discovering more about soil, and meeting people who really are really “mad” about soil. Speakers include Tino Carnevale from ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program, author and television presenter Angus Stewart, Permaculture expert Kerrie Anderson and local farmer Virginia Mallfrom Grace Springs Farm who practices regenerative, non-chemical agriculture.

Mad About Dirt starts at the Narara Valley High School at 9.30am and then moves to the Narara Ecovillage from 1 to 4 pm. As well as hearing talks and panel discussions, people can visit the High School Farm and the Ecovillage itself, where they can see homes being built with natural “dirt” materials, as well as a permaculture garden and food growing trials. Admission to the event is free, thanks to generous support from the Central Coast Council and local sponsors.   

Mad About Dirt: BYO soil and dust samples for free analysis!

Would you like to know if your house or garden are contaminated? 

We are very excited to announce that Macquarie University’s Vegesafe Program will be attending Mad About Dirt on Saturday the 11th of May.

At the High School in the morning (9.30 to 1 pm) they will accept any soil or vacuum dust samples (that you have previously collected from your home) for both their VegeSafe and DustSafe programs. They then take the samples away for analysis, and then send you a report. The analysis is free!  

Please look up both the VegeSafe ( and DustSafe ( websites prior so that you can collect your samples at home following the correct procedures.

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Garden Design Scholarship a First for the Coast

In association with the Mad About Dirt event, Builtsmart Modular of Lisarow are offering a $8,000.00 scholarship for local secondary students to design modular gardens. 

Mad About Dirt organiser Joan Cassels asked Builtsmart Modular if they would provide funds for a scholarship instead of providing sponsorship. 

The scholarship is open to year 11 and 12 students of Narara Valley High School and Lisarow High School. They must work in pairs, and design gardens that can be made at the Builtsmart factory in Lisarow and are able to be delivered with Builtsmart homes. The students must understand soil, the care that is needed for modular gardens, and what plants to grow and how to grow them.  Application forms are available at Narara Valley High School from Deputy Principal Kerrie O’Heir.

Photo below. Narara Valley High School Deputy Principal Kerrie O’Heir and Builtsmart Modular General Manager Sean O’Hara announcing the scholarship. 

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 Dig Deeper with Angus and Tino: the perfect Mother’s Day gift

 Angus Stewart and Tino Carnevale are the keynote speakers at Mad About Dirt event on Saturday, 11th  May at Narara Valley High School in the morning and at the Narara Ecovillage in the afternoon.

However, for those who would like to spend more time with these talented and knowledgeable gardeners, there will be a special session on the following Sunday morning, called “Dig Deeper with Angus and Tino”. It’s the perfect Mothers’ Day gift!

“Dig Deeper” will be on Sunday, 12th May in the Narara Ecovillage Visitors Centre, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250, from 11am to 1pm.

Come with your questions about topics such as gardens for wildlife, growing your own food and your favourite vegetables, kids in gardens, soil conservation and climate change, agricultural practices in Australia-or just because you love trees and butterflies!

Tickets cost $25, or $22.50 for NELN members. You can now book your place for Dig Deeper at:

BYO picnic lunch for afterwards, or book your local restaurant table for 1.30pm and avoid the rush!

To learn more about Tino, go to—tino-carnevale/10945254.

For more on Angus, former Central Coast resident and now climate refugee in Tasmania, go to Gardening with Angus. NB Angus’s first job was at DPI Narara!

Angus will be available to sign his books like Grow Your Own: How to be an Urban Farmer (with Simon Leake), and The Australian Native Garden, A Practical Guide (with A.B. Bishop). 

Photo below: Angus Stewart and Simon Leake are joint authors of Grow Your Own: How to be an Urban Farmer. They will both be presenting at Mad About Dirt.

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Building Roundup (in their own words)

Geoff’s Hempcrete house

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My owner-build hemp house is ticking along slowly but steadily.  After a 5 month wait my double-glazed Murray River red gum windows and doors have been delivered and installed.  I think they look brilliant and well worth the wait.  My roof is on and we are now all ready for the hempcrete workshop starting on 13 April with a rendering workshop to follow about a month later. I expect to be at lock-up stage sometime in June.

Keep in touch on

Tony & Teresa’s passive solar house 

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 We love our house – it worked well in summer keeping out the heat and now as the nights cool it’s lovely and warm. The valley is spectacular and we’re enjoying the differences that the time of day and the different weather make. We’re slowly getting our garden shaped – paths have been made, walls are now being built and, a few trees and a habitat garden have been planted.

It’s been pretty seamless slipping into village life, we’re able to enjoy the company of other members as we walk around the village and it’s a treat to be able to slip home to relax when we need to.

Lyndall and Dave Parris’ Hemp House

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At lot 9, we have at last got the house slab in place but work continues on the carport foundations and retaining walls. One lesson was to get the slab done asap after breaking ground because of the impact on the site that regular heavy rainfall makes.

It took us some time to work through the structural issues after starting with a very conservative foundation design. A lot of money was saved by reviewing all aspects including soil conditions after excavation and reducing the need for all those screw piles.

We have spent many hours discussing different sustainable design aspects including special provisions needed for hempcrete walls. Anyway, we have now got to framing and hopefully can progress towards lock up and hemping without too many set backs

Donna’s Hemp House

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Working full-time and commuting to Sydney from the Central Coast, I am very happy to have chosen a local builder to take on my project. When finished, my mostly natural house will be a mix of hempcrete, rammed earth and cob. The team started just after Christmas break and even after 3 weeks of consistent rain, my home is still on track for completion in late July/early August. My roof will be on next week, weather permitting.

Making decisions on the fly has been great fun and I am finding the experience really rewarding.

Steph & Rob’s strawbale & straw panel house

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In the month since our hugely successful workshop, the Viva Homes team has made great progress on our home and the end is in sight!  External renders and cladding are complete, internal render finish coats are nearly done, timber flooring is down and windows and doors are installed. 

We reached lock-up a couple of weeks ago, however the high humidity and rain has played havoc with our lovely Blackbutt timber windows and doors, causing them to swell and not close as they should.  We’re unsure about the solution, but in the meantime, we’re hoping the rain will move elsewhere!  Next on the cards are kitchen, laundry and bathroom fit-outs and we hope to be moving in sometime in May.

Candy’s Earthship

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The Earthship will have its final exterior coat of render on 17th May and I hope to apply for an occupation certificate the following week.  I anticipate having a workshop to put in the wicking beds in the greenhouse section of my house, and will finish the interior soon after.  The wet room floors will be tiled next week and then the concrete floors will be polished.  It’s been 8 months – nearly there!

If you are interested in participating in any upcoming workshops (rendering, hempcreting, etc) over the next few months, email to be invited when dates are known.  


Narara Ecovillage first 9 star design

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Congratulations to member Jazz for achieving a 9 star NatHERS rating for her house design. This is a village first and shows that what can be achieved even when operating with a very tight budget. Jazz’s one bedroom 60sqm house, designed by Living Green, is fully functional but has not sacrificed the importance of achieving overall energy efficiency. We look forward to seeing Jazz’s design sailing through the council DA process.


Heritage House having facelift

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Kate shows off newly painted panels on Heritage House verandah


UN Sustainable Development Goals Training for Multipliers

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This one-day training involves focused conversations about implementing local Sustainable Development Goals within your business, industry, community or local government.

Full details here:


Narara Ecovillage current cluster and land availability

Cluster Unit 3 – one-bedroom unit

  • 190 sqm land, 59 sqm internal floor area
  • $429,000 for house and land

A ground floor, one-bedroom unit with your own private terrace – easy maintenance living in close proximity to the village heart.

Cluster Unit 8 – one-bedroom unit

  • 88 sqm land, 59 sqm internal floor area
  • $394,000 for house and land 

A top floor, one-bedroom unit with a private balcony and view – easy maintenance living in close proximity to the village heart.  

Private lot sales:

Lot 3 –550.9 sqm

  • $360,000 – Lot sale $330,000 and Co-op membership $30,000.
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A relatively level lot in close proximity to the heart of stage 2 including community facilities and right next to our very own Earthship on Gugandi Road.

Lot 43  – 616 sqm 

  • $316,000 –  Lot sale $286,000 and Co-op membership $30,000
Lot 43.jpg

A flat lot closer to nature, away from the Village Heart, located in a prime position, with excellent views, overlooking the food bowl area, that will never be built out. It has a north easterly aspect and comes with two different sets of house plans already at development consent level.  Price includes community facilities.

Contact Jazz: for more information about the land and membership in Narara Ecovillage and you can contact the owners directly at 


Sustainable House Day
Sunday 15 Sept 2019 10-4pm

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Visit Narara Ecovillage for a day of sustainable houses (save the date).

Open houses include: 

  • Earthship
  • Strawbale
  • Hempcrete
  • Rammed earth
  • Tiny house 

Talks throughout the day and much more.


Sociocracy at Narara on International Stage
Thursday, 2nd May 2019

Member Scilla Sayer brings Exciting News: Thanks to the initiative of Gina Price, pioneer for Sociocracy in Australia and external Board Member, and Lyndall Parris, our Founder and determined advocate for Sociocracy, Narara Ecovillage will be part of the Sociocracy for All International Online Conference on.

Sociocracy is a model of governance and decision-making that evolved from consensus but avoids the potential blocking of an outcome by one dissenting voice. It enables everyone to have input around issues that affect us all. We aim to achieve outcomes that ‘we can live with’ which are ‘good enough for now’ and ‘safe enough to try’. 

Sociocracy shapes our organisational structure and influences the spirit in which we approach planning, doing and learning at every level at the ecovillage. It is the way of working together that is now being adopted in many ecovillages co-operatives, non-government and not-for-profit organisations, schools and community groups.

At Narara, Sociocracy principles and practice are taken seriously and enthusiastically and enjoy discussing experiences with interested folk. As one of two Australian presenters at the conference, Gina and Lyndall will include video clips from nearly 20 members. It will be very ‘real’ and share both successes and stumbling blocks. Topics we touch on will range from Master Planning to Managing Pets at Narara Ecovillage in collaborative, creative ways using Sociocracy.

For more information about the event check out:


SUSTAIN–Ability: One-Day Rural Yoga Retreat
Saturday, 4th May 9:30am–4:30pm

Hosted by Qi Yoga and Narara Ecovillage

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Escape for a magic day to a peaceful rural venue in the heart of Narara Ecovillage to explore what makes a sustainable yoga practice in a sustainable environment to create a sustainable life…spirit in action in simple ways both on and off the yoga mat.

Led by Mark O’Brien (yoga teacher and founder of Qi Health & Yoga) your day will guide you to explore truly sustainable yoga practices to suit YOU and the life direction you are taking now. It’s suitable for anyone regardless of yoga experience, injury or other “limits” often placed on practicing Yoga.

“SUSTAINABLE”: “causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.”

* Expect a (moving) morning and (gentle) afternoon yoga practice to develop techniques and manifest the “Self-Care” we so often forget.

* Expect to reframe why and how you “do” Yoga.

* Enjoy a scrummy vegetarian lunch courtesy of Candy Disch (anyone remember Candy’s Cafe in Manly? Yes the name behind that popular institution is part of the ecovillage)

* Silent forest walk and meditation in the ancient State forest and arboretum next to the venue.

* Time to reflect and connect inwards

* Chance to tour the newly-emerging Narara Ecovillage for inspiration how to live your daily life with purpose and embody the principles of SUSTAIN-ability back in Sydney.

It just might save your body and the world.

Mark and his wife Nicky are members of Narara Ecovillage and are restoring the “Heritage House” to be more environmentally sustainable and livable. or


Climate emergency: facing extinction and what to do about it

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Join us on Friday, 26th April at Narara Ecovillage to learn what you can personally do about Climate Emergency. 

Jane Morton, Clinical Psychologist and Climate Emergency campaigner, is coming up from Melbourne to train us on how to communicate effectively on the issue of climate emergency, and has taken on the role to travel around our country to teach how we get more people to listen and take effective action. 

Her publication ‘Don’t mention The Emergency’ gives much food for thought.


Forest dwelling fauna and many species heading towards extinction

The Guardian reports: Regional forest agreements have failed in the 20 years since they were established by state governments, says a new report, which reveals that record numbers of threatened forest dwelling fauna and many species are heading towards imminent extinction.

The report, Abandoned – Australia’s forest wildlife in crisis, has assessed the conservation status of federally listed forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna species affected by logging and associated roading and burning across Australia’s regional forest agreement (RFA) regions in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Released by the Wilderness Society this week, the report identified 48 federally-listed threatened species of forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna living in areas subject to state-run logging operations.

 Four of those species – the leadbeater’s possum, swift parrot, western ringtail possum and regent honeyeater – are among the 20 bird and 20 mammal species most likely to become extinct within 20 years.

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Deadly skin-eating fungal disease wipes out 90 amphibian species in 50 years

Read more.


Central Coast Watercolour Society

Easter Showcase Exhibition 2019

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There will be a diverse selection of works by our members of both framed and unframed paintings, and hand-painted cards – all original.

Venue: Gosford Regional Gallery, Webb Street, East Gosford

(Home of the Japanese Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Garden)

When: 18th April 2019 to 1st May 2019 (Closed Good Friday)

Opening: Thursday 18th April – 6 pm to 8 pm with light refreshments

Danni Liu, member and featured artist, has gifted her beautiful painting “Out to Work” as the raffle prize to be won by one lucky art lover.


The future of electric cars

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Listen to this fascinating piece on ABC Breakfast show (about 28 mins in), interview with Robert Llewelyn, and link to his ‘fully charged’ youtube show to keep in touch with electric vehicle developments in Australia and overseas.


5 Lands Walk 2019
Saturday 22nd June, 8-4pm

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Walk along five wonderful Central Coast Beaches: McMasters, Saratoga, Avoca, North Avoca, Terrigal and be entertained along the way with music, dancing, art & photography exhibitions, sculpture on the beach, food, good company and healthy exercise.

Register for free online:


Free Biodynamic workshop
Saturday, 4th May, 10:30-2:30pm

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Come along and experience making BD500 at Warrah Farm in Dural (20 Harris Rd, Dural, NSW 2158).

It’s a free and hands on workshop. Please wear old clothing/gear.

The Warrah Biodynamic farm shop will be open. 

Also bring some extra food for sharing during lunch.

Bookings: or 02 95501682



See you at the ecovillage!

Linda Scott
BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

About the Network and the Village

The Network

The Narara Eco Living Network is a not-for-profit educational and outreach body established by members of Narara Ecovillage to promote more sustainable living in all its forms.

Become a supporter of the Network – 12 months membership is only $20 an individual or $40 a family. Networkers are offered discounts to a variety of events at the village, and free entrance to Open Days. Click here to check out upcoming events. The network is 100% run by volunteers so we really appreciate your support!

The Village

The village is located at 25 research Road Narara NSW 2250. The Narara Ecovillage Cooperative was formed to purchase land and establish Narara Ecovillage. Joining the co-op costs $30,000, and requires the intent to purchase a lot and to contribute a minimum number of working hours at the ecovillage.  Click here for more info about the Narara Ecovillage 

To unsubscribe

Please reply to this email, and write the word “unsubscribe” in the body of your email.

Walk in Strickland Forest or spot wildlife by torchlight!


  • Next Village Open Day, Sunday 31st March
  • Mad About Dirt, Sat 11th May
  • Walk in Strickland Forest with John Seed, Thurs 21st March 4pm
  • Community Information Evening & Spotlight Walk, Thurs 28th March, 5.30pm
  • Kirtan at the village with Mark O’Brien, Fri 29th March, 7pm
  • February Village Experience Weekend
  • Scribbly Gum Patch
  • Tiny House Presentation a sell-out
  • The Earthship progresses
  • Wainright’s Strawbale workshop
  • Wildlife at the Village
  • Farrell’s Story of the Tank
  • Being an Owner Builder
  • Mud Floors and Much More!
  • Striking for Climate Safety
  • Colour & Light Exhibition
  • Wildwatch – Connecting Kids with Nature

Next Village Open Day, Sunday 31st March

 Visit our beautiful site for an afternoon and learn about the vision for our ecovillage. On arrival enjoy walking tours around the site until 2pm.

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Then there will be a short presentation by our founder, Lyndall Parris, and a Q&A session.

For safety, enclosed shoes are recommended (not thongs or sandals) and please leave your pets at home when you visit the ecovillage. 

Dates: 31st March, 27th April, 29th June, 28th July, 25th August, 27th October.
Time: 1pm – 3pm
Cost to attend: Individual $10, Family $20


Mad About Dirt, Saturday, 11th May 2019

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Meet some people who are really mad about dirt.

Virginia Mall from Grace Springs Farm will be at MAD.


She says: “Soil is at the core of everything we do here on the farm. Our every decision is about improving soils, to be able to grow more pasture to feed more animals and produce nutrient dense food for our community”. Grace Springs Farm practices and demonstrates chemical-free, regenerative agriculture. Photo credit: @joyandsparrow

Peter Rutherford, Senior Ecologist at Kimbriki Environmental Enterprises, will speak on ‘Dirt is Good – Dirt is Healthy: why every kid, should be eating good soil!”. 

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Peter is a horticulturist and educator with an extensive knowledge of soils and microbes.

Simon Leake, Managing Director of the Sydney?Environmental and Soils Laboratory (SESL), and co-author (with Angus Stewart) of Grow Your Own. 

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SESL were the first people to sponsor Mad About Dirt and are providing free soil testing for the Narara Ecovillage’s greenhouse trials.

Dr. Paul Harvey: “My passion is in environmental contaminants / pollutants. My business, Environmental Science Solutions, helps to spread knowledge about potential pollutants in our ‘dirty’ world”.

Joy Jago is a champion of composting, passionate about permaculture, a productive food-gardener, and a member of the Narara Ecovillage.

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She will be helping to run the Mad About Dirt event.

Margo Parris and her volunteers will show off their work at one of the Narara Ecovillage greenhouses, where they have created five soil beds to compare five different soil preparation techniques. 


Megan Wallace is developing soil-and-dirt-related activities for children for the day. She is passionate about children’s nature-based education at Narara Ecovillage.

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More information:


Walk in Strickland Forest with John Seed, Thurs 21st March 

Thursday 21st March is the International Day of the Forests and, more cosmically, the Autumn Equinox. That afternoon, Narara Ecovillage member John Seed will lead a walk from the village back-gate into the Strickland State Forest Arboretum.

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This will be a walk through the splendid Autumn bushland strewn with this year’s bunya nuts but it will also give us an opportunity to drop into the vast scale of the solar system.

John will be leading a process called “Earth as Peppercorn” which helps nourish our ecological identity as we construct a scale model of our solar system based on the Earth being the size of a single peppercorn. We will then walk from the Sun to Pluto reverently placing peppercorns and other appropriately sized objects as we learn to feel the scale of our Solar System home.

(The Autumn Equinox is a great time to celebrate our ecological identity. It has been a feature of this planet for about 4,400 million years. At that time of Great Bombardment, comets and meteorites were pelting the Earth. Finally, a Mars-sized body impacted the proto-Earth with such force that the whole mass became molten once more. The intruder plunged towards the centre of the Earth and the moon was born, popping out from the side opposite the impact. This also caused the Earth to tilt 23 degrees to the side, thenceforth giving rise to the seasons of the year. You are THAT!)

Cost: $15 family, $10 individual, proceeds to the protection of the threatened forests of NSW.We’ll leave the Visitors Centre at 3.45 and the Village back gate at 4pm sharp. Return by 5.30pm.

Community Information Evening & Spotlight Walk, Thurs 28th March

 5:30pm drinks & nibbles provided by Community Environment Centre (CEN)

6pm formal session CEN 3 talks ~15mins: Alf Britten on pigmy possums, Wildlife Arc & CWMWG on our work at NEV including Richard C on birds & boxes.

Followed by 1 hour Spotlight Walk

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Kirtan at the village with Mark O’Brien, Fri 29th March, 7pm, Visitors Centre

“Kirtan” is a community form of uplifting chanting practice to lighten the heart and perhaps invoke wonder at the divine nature of the cosmos. Everyone is welcome.

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This is NOT a concert and you’re invited to join your voice to the chant in “call-and-response”… we might even make a Mantra Choir again where the harmony was only matched by the looks on people’s faces as they realized they were responsible for the heavenly sounds and mood filling the room.

Kirtan (simple Sanskrit mantra chanting with music) is one of the easiest and safest methods of achieving inner peace which other methods of meditation may take years to achieve. It’s meant to be particularly potent for the current “age of strife” (Kali Yuga) we live in now.

There is no requirement to be able to sing at all (…honest)

Simply join in the energy and rhythm and see what happens!
Bring a shaker or tambourine if you like.  And a cushion in case we run out!
Kids most welcome.
Donations welcome on the door for use of the room.


 February Ecovillage Experience Weekend

Scilla Sayer explains:  At Narara Ecovillage we like to try new things. Last month we celebrated Summer with our first seasonal ‘ecovillage experience’ weekend. It went well and Ecovillage Experience Weekends are now planned for 25/26 May (Autumn), 14/15 September (Winter) and 23/24 November (Spring).

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The program will include the elements of our tried and tested Open Day format: presentation, tours, questions and a cuppa but with the bonus of an opportunity to get a real feel of ecovillage life through joining activities, sharing meals, exploring the land, learning together and celebrating.

Singing an Acknowledgement to Country with the children kicked off a weekend where we all got to know one another better. The program began with facts and figures of Narara Ecovillage history, membership, lot availability and plans for Stage 2. After tours came a talk on ‘green kitchens’, a bunya nut hunting expedition, a sumptuous shared summer feast, inspiring short films and, for a few, a night under canvas.

Sunday was less structured: visitors were simply invited to ‘join in’ with ecovillage life. While some of us enjoyed our new ‘quiet space’, activity roared around the chipping of a tree felled in the cluster house area. We gathered later to share ideas about creating a learning environment for ecovillage children and made progress on

Our sights are now set on our Autumn Ecovillage Experience Weekend. Mark the date (25/26 May), follow us on Facebook and watch the website for more details.



 Scribbly Gum Patch

A small group of Narara Ecovillage members has been beavering away to transform the area just north of the children’s playground into a food forest.  The site has been eroded by water running across the lower road from the Admin building.  Efforts to preserve the grand Scribbly Gum on the site and to prevent further soil erosion are being made through the installation of three swales running across site.  The swales, on contour, will catch the water to slow down its movement, allowing it to slowly soak into the soil to provide water for plantings.

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At this stage, a top swale has been installed with overflow channels diverting water through two banana circles.  The first bund (soil from digging the swale that is mounded up on the downhill side of swale to form a bund or garden bed) has been planting with three Myrtle trees (lemon, cinnamon and aniseed).  Part 1 of three small swales which will run across the middle of the site was completed in January with the help of volunteers at a working bee.  Swale 2A has been planted with a Davidson Plum, Moringa, Black Sapote and Burdekin Plum.  

Plants and green manure crops have been added to both swale bunds to support the trees by attracting beneficial insects, providing nutrients and improving soil structure.  Windbreak and habitat trees have been planted along the perimeter of the site and beekeeper member Lincoln’s native bee hive has now made its home on the site.


 Tiny House Presentation a sell-out! 

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Last Saturday’s Tiny House event, featuring NZ’s Tiny House advocate and actor, Bryce Langston, attracted over 100 people for his 5 hour presentation at the village.  His marathon event kept most people spellbound as he spelt out and motivated them on how they could make their tiny house dreams come true with a plethora of useful advice on how to get started, the pitfalls and the rewards of living small.  Bryce has a following of 1.3 million to his youtube channel.

Afterwards, Tiny House visitors and village members mingled during a community dinner, sharing food, dreams and camaraderie.

NB Serious tiny housers may be interested in Sydney Community College’s “How to Build a Tiny House”. The College has partnered with The Bower Marrickville to offer the only comprehensive tiny house building course in the country.

 Candy’s Earthship progresses

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Candy’s strawbale wall raising workshop was held mid-February when over 20 natural building enthusiasts, plus several members of Candy’s family, beavered away to raise and render walls, ready for the windows to be installed.

Earthship guru, Marty Freney, Earthship Eco Homes in South Australia (also a strawbale doyen), led the workshop and waxed lyrically afterwards!

Straw, mud, food and fun, natural building is for everyone!

Upcycling waste, using the sun

 Many hands gets the job done!

“Thanks a ton Narara Eco Village, Candy Disch and her son Dave, Sean Bozkewycz, Linda Scott and all the amazing people who wrangled and rendered bales at Candy’s strawbale workshop.

T’was a wonderful weekend”.

Candy is planning a Big Push to get the earthship to lock up stage.  If you’d like to join the crew next weekend (16/17th March), she would love to hear from you.  Email: 

Wainright’s Strawbale workshop

Steph & Rob’s strawbale workshop run by Viva Homes over 4 days was well subscribed with 40 people attending from far and wide.  Participants participated in bale wall raising, made clay render and applied to the straw walls, as well as rendering the upstairs straw panels. 

For home owner’s Steph and Rob, catering for over 40 people (including Viva crew) was a challenge well met, with workers appreciative of a range of nutritious food, drinks and treats (the white chocolate brownies are now legendary!).  Viva’s Simone was impressed with the facilities they provided which made very important communal meals run smoothly.

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Last word from Hilary, who travelled from Bellingen on the NSW North Coast for the workshop: “Fantastic experience.  Fabulous people to work with, learn with; had fun, ate great food and developed amazing muscles.”!


Wildlife at Narara Ecovillage

Our resident bird watcher Richard C, says: Gang gang cockatoos have been seen and heard around the property several times this week and last week. Member Rani saw three of them and our timber miller (amongst many other talents) Rob reckons he may have seen six. These delightful birds are some of the smallest Australian cockatoos; the male has a bright red head, the female is all grey.


They have a distinctive call like a creaking door. In the last 5 years they have been rare visitors to Narara, but this year they seem to be hanging around. No-one has managed to photograph them here, so this photo is from the excellent website, ‘Birds in Backyards’.

Less welcome, but beautiful in continents where it belongs (like Europe and North America), is this red fox, recently seen one afternoon on the middle rural lot, hunting mice or insects on the grass.

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A Black-shouldered Kite, which may be “Biskit”, the bird that almost became a resident last year, is once again hunting rats at the village. Here it is in the front paddock last week, about to eat a rat.

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A Square-tailed Kite was recently seen at the village. It’s an endemic Australian species of raptor that used to be rare, but has turned up on the Central Coast in recent years. They look like a small eagle, but have a square-tipped tail (ie not wedge-shaped) and very long “fingers” at the end of their wings.

 Diamond pythons seem to be on the move at the moment. These great rat catchers are not poisonous and should be left in peace. And don’t keep pet rats, hamsters or guinea pigs- pythons cannot resist trying to eat them!

 Richard is always interested to hear of your wildlife sightings: au. He has kept weekly records since July 2013.


Farrell’s Story of the Tank

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The tank was an inherited structure on the site when it became Narara Ecovillage, originally built to store water for fire fighting.

It hadn’t been in use for many years. The roof was rusted and falling apart but the tank itself was still solid.

We joined in November 2014, just as the selection process for the lots commenced. After much discussion, we landed on lot 29 and scored the tank!

Although the tank took up a considerable amount of space on the lot (5.5m diameter) we figured we could do something special to make it a feature: possibly cut a piece out of the wall and turn it into a partially covered outdoor entertaining area, etc.

Finally, in 2016 civil works commenced across the site to build the infrastructure for Stage 1 and the landscape changed dramatically. The roads and pipes for services went in and the markings of the lot boundaries dissolved into piles of dirt. We always knew where we were going to be because our tank marked our place on the land…but our plans didn’t eventuate, fate intervened which saw us move to Lot 30, one up the hill.

Sadly, the new owner couldn’t manage to incorporate the tank into the design for their house, so it had to go. One option was to smash it to a thousand pieces and tip it.  It was then that a new plan was hatched!

With the help of the site manager and his newly acquired concrete saw, we set about cutting up our tank and taking it next door to adorn our new garden. Down it came piece by piece with the curved walls and the flat floor. What a job!! It was dirty and dangerous but two weeks later it was in pieces and stacked in piles waiting for its final resting place.

After building our house and transforming our site, the pieces of the tank have been placed in the garden and now acts as a soil stabilisation tool/ retaining wall/pathway/walls for our future fire pit.


Being an Owner Builder

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Jazz Mozzi says: The people attracted to the ecovillage continue to amaze me. Such a diversity of passions and skills that stretch across all ages. House building has begun and some of our members have become Owner Builders. One person is Linda Scott, the Editor of this monthly newsletter. Linda is 73 years old and is project managing her house build. I asked Linda what brought her to the ecovillage? 

I’ve been attracted to living in a community after living in the mining town of Mount Isa when I first came to Australia from UK in the 1960’s.  It was a tight knit community and was hard to leave.  Later I lived in Westleigh, near Hornsby, a small suburb at the time, very social, helping each other with babysitting and great community involvement in a theatre group that I co-founded. Since then, I’d been looking for my community, and I’ve found it!

Somehow I ended up on Lyndall Parris’s mailing list in 2006. I was living back in London and attended meetings in Sydney on my family visits back here. My interest in permaculture, love of community and natural building all came together. I could see a future in Lyndall’s dream of an ecovillage’.

I was attracted to natural building materials after being roped into a mini strawbale workshop in rural England.  I loved it and shortly afterwards attended my first workshop in Spain, building and sculpting a strawbale wall. I was totally hooked!

Natural houses are healthy to live in with breathable walls and cosy interiors.  The creative options are endless: glass bottle and stain glass, sculpted walls, cordwood and mud floors.

I’d be lucky if I found a builder who would take on my project (within my budget).  Having attended workshops where I paid for the privilege of learning various skills, I’ve always planned that’s what I’d do with me as Owner Builder.  It has taken a chunk of years to get to this stage which is daunting but I’m as fit and healthy as ever, so I mustn’t let a few advancing years stop me!

Linda, we find you an inspiration tackling your Owner Builder’s licence and getting a White Card. What does the Owner Builder’s course cover?

It’s about being a responsible builder, with a safe worksite, planning the project, subcontracting, insurances, etc. It’s given me confidence. I’ve organised hundreds of events in my life so why not do this? If I get into strife, I’ll ask my community to help me!

 Mud Floors and Much More!

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A few years ago our Natural Building Group visited Ourimbah resident Andrew Duncan’s in progress, strawbale house (incorporating poured earth, rammed earth, etc).  Still in progress, much advanced, Andrew invited us last week to learn more about laying mud floors.

Andrew, a boatbuilding shipwright, with a Sydney business involved for 20 years in wharf, bridge and floating marina construction/maintenance, is transitioning to spending more time working on the Central Coast.  Which is good news for us natural builders as we are always looking for skilled specialists to work with.

Even better, Andrew plans to offer apprenticeships in carpentry (with natural building experiences) to his two workers, Michael and Reece using his prior building experience to obtain formal qualifications. In the meantime, Andrew is looking to employ someone to work on the marinas in Sydney to free him up more for other work. Know anyone? Contact:


Striking for a Safe Climate

Last year tens of thousands of school students across Australia took the world by storm when they hit the streets and demanded action on climate change. It was an incredible moment that gave us hope and sent waves through parliament, across the country and around the world.

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 Now the students are asking for us to stand with them when they take to the streets again on March 15, just a week before the NSW election.

Help to tell our politicians to treat climate change for what it is: a crisis and the biggest threat to our generation and generations to come.  

Sign-up for a March 15 #ClimateStrike near you

Sydney event
Town Hall, 12 midday – 2pm

Gosford event 
Gosford City Park, 10am – 12 midday
Corner of Dane Drive and Vaughan Ave


Colour & Light Exhibition

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Wildwatch – Connecting Kids with Nature

An opportunity for children (and families) to engage in a program that promotes a love of nature, opportunities to observe nature and grow in knowledge, skills and understanding.

By signing up to Wildwatch, your children will receive:

A Wildwatch Pack – including a certificate, badge, a Wildwatch family membership card, our current newsletter and a set of Wildwatch Fact Cards

A Wildwatch Diary – to record your nature observations

A bi-monthly kid friendly newsletter; special invitations to family friendly events and activities (eg. tree planting events, bushwalks, citizen science events etc) invitations to participate in 4 Wildwatch “actions”each year – eg monitor the birds in your backyard.  More information Wildwatch


See you at the ecovillage sometime soon!

Linda Scott
BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

  • Contacts and More Information
  • The Narara Ecovillage project currently comprises two entities. The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. It serves as a “Friends of the Narara Ecovillage”. Its brief is both local and global. 
  • Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. Membership gives free admission to all Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and talks, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. The Network organizes regular talks, tours and events. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line anytime at: Narara Eco Living Network Inc. and Facebook:
  • 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.
  • Contacts: Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd., and,  or email:
  • The Narara Ecovillage is located at 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

Network News February 2019  


  • Convenor’s Message
  • Extending our Welcome with a New Idea…
  • Steph & Rob’s Strawbale Workshop – Thurs 7-10 March
  • Living Big in a Tiny House with Bryce Langston – Sat 9th March
  • Yoga Retreat at the village – Sat 30th Mar 2019
  • MAD about Dirt – Sat 11th May
  • Green Transport Policy
  • Village Reflections
  • A New Kind of Living Environment
  • Builtsmart house has landed!
  • Seismic Testing off the Central Coast
  • Game-changing legal decision on coal
  • Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s One Earth initiative 

Convenor’s Message

Happy February everybody! In a week where the world has experienced extreme weather, from a polar vortex in the northern hemisphere to never before experienced heat waves and floods here in Australia, it’s time to keep calm and do things eco!

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NELN Convenor, Liz Bassett

At Narara Ecovillage, we’re building our 2019 calendar with a selection of eco-events, from tiny houses to earthships; from sustainable development to Dirt!Check out all the upcoming events at Narara Ecovillage 

We are especially excited about our quarterly Village Experience weekends, where visitors have the opportunity to stay overnight and really taste life in the village. The first one is on the weekend of 23-24 Feb. For more details, see the story in this issue. 

Extending our Welcome with a New Idea…

First Village Experience Weekend – 23/24 February 2019 

At Narara Ecovillage we welcome visitors on the last weekend of every month from January to November. The tried and tested half-day Open Days format give a great introduction. Requests have been made by people drawn to living in our community to spend more time getting the feel of this magical place and getting to know members of the Narara Ecovillage Cooperative – those of us lucky enough to be intending to live here.

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Aboard the Magic Carpet at Narara Ecovillage

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Come and get muddy making bricks at Narara Ecovillage!

So, in the spirit of trying new things, we are extending our welcome in 2019 with four Village Experience Weekends. In line with the seasons, we will open up our land each quarter: 23/24 February, 25/26 May, 31 August/1 September and 30 November/1 Dec.

Have a look at the Program for our first Village Experience Weekend.  It shows the ‘flow’ from a structured first day with presentation, site tour, Q&A, information session and the specialist tour etc to a more community-focused day on Sunday when visitors are welcome to join us in what we are already planning to do that day from Tai Chi to chai tea; weeding to wandering in the forest. 

The cost is $25 per adult. Kids are free and there is a $10 discount for NELN members and concession card holders. If you come only on Sunday, your help will be your contribution at no extra charge.Camping and one specialist house tour have additional costs. Registration for camping is essential as places are limited. Booking for the weekend is helpful:

Steph & Rob’s Strawbale Workshop – 7-10th March 

Want to Try Your Hand at Straw Bale building and Natural Plastering?

Read on and save 50%!

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A recent Viva Homes workshop for Vanessa & John’s straw panel house

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Steph and Rob’s strawbale house

The next workshop at Narara Ecovillage, run by the fantastic team from Viva Living Homes, has been scheduled for 7-10th March, 2019.

Over four full days, participants will get the opportunity to install straw bale infill walls and prepare them for rendering, take a look at prefabricated straw panels, build cob internal walls, and learn the art of earth, clay and lime rendering of internal and external walls.

When Rob and Steph joined the Ecovillage and started investigating construction options, they soon decided they were looking for a builder to construct their home start-to-finish.  “With two young kids and previous experience of earth building, we knew that owner-building would not be for us this time round.  But we really wanted a home built from natural materials,” says Stephanie. “Once we learned about Viva Living Homes and saw their work it was clear that we had found the right people.” 

The design process was anything but simple.  With a steep block in a bushfire zone and a limited budget, multiple variations were explored before a compact two-storey design was chosen. Incredibly the house has obtained an 8.5 Energy Star Rating!

Come experience for yourself how it’s done, get your hands dirty and have fun alongside great people. These workshops are fantastic value, normally $120 for four days including lunch, morning and afternoon tea. 

But NEV and NELN members are offered a 50% discount off this price!  Hope to see you there!

Simply follow the link below to book and use the discount code NARARA50.

Hope to see you there!

Living Big in a Tiny House

Bryce Langston at Narara Ecovillage –  Sat 9th March 2019

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Small but perfectly formed                                  Tiny House interior

Bryce Langston from Auckland, NZ is speaking at a number of gatherings in Australia during March. Narara Ecovillage has been chosen as the only place offering his full presentation, Living Big in a Tiny House. He will be up front in the Visitor Centre from 1-6pm on Saturday 9 March. The cost of a place is only $40 so book in early

Bryce has worked professionally in the film industry for more than a decade and has credits in documentary, cinema and television. He has been on both sides of the camera and is also a musician. He is a passionate permaculturist and environmentalist, has been a consultant to the British Council and established an urban food forest on Auckland’s North Shore.

He loves “the concept of marrying tiny architecture and permaculture to create wonderfully sustainable living that is simple for others to follow” and his YouTube series Living Big in a Tiny House reflects this dedication to delight-full downsizing. This clearly draws others: he has over a million subscribers!

Bryce will cover practical nitty gritty issues as well as inspirations from tiny house builders and designs around the world. The timing of this event is perfect for us at Narara Ecovillage as we set our sights on exploring smaller footprint options for Stage 2.

For more information about Bryce, check out:

Yoga Retreat at the village – Saturday 30th March 2019

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Escape to a beautiful rural venue in a new Ecovillage to explore what makes a sustainable yoga practice in a sustainable environment to create a sustainable life…spirit in action in simple ways both on and off the yoga mat.

There’s a nice discount for NEV ($20) and for NELN members ($10).

SUSTAIN-ability…in yoga and in life.

Online details are HERE. 

MAD about Dirt – Sat 11th May 2019

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Mad about Dirt – News Update

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Leading a great line-up will be Tino Carnevale at Mad About Dirt

Leading a great line-up will be Tino Carnevale of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia. A Tasmanian, his lifelong interest in plants and gardening stems from growing up on his family’s small vineyard and olive grove. He is involved in the Feeding the Future Coalition, is part of The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, teaching students at Moonah Primary School, and is a patron of the Tasmanian Weed Society, an organization that raises awareness of environmental weeds and their impact.

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Doctor of the Dirt, Surgeon of the Soil, Professor of the Paddock” Angus Stewart
with our own Horticulturist, Trish Meagher

Angus Stewart was once known on radio as “Doctor of the Dirt, Surgeon of the Soil, Professor of the Paddock”. His first horticultural job was at the Narara Horticultural Research Station, now the Narara Ecovillage. His latest book, Grow Your Own – How to be an Urban Farmer, is co-authored with Simon Leake. Angus is really looking forward to presenting his latest work on small and large scale worm farming to reduce organic wastes going to landfill, whilst encouraging people to create their own free fertilizer and compost to grow their own food. “And I look forward to sharing our community garden results with everyone”.

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Kerrie Anderson, Permaculture educator, will be speaking at Mad About Dirt

Kerrie Anderson, Permaculture educator, will be one of several speakers to highlight educational opportunities for school students in areas related to soil, horticulture and permaculture.

Organisers of the Network’s Mad About Dirt event are now inviting applications from individuals and organisations that would like to promote their services. Co-organiser Joan Cassels said they were particularly seeking those who offered educational course, workshops, qualifications or careers related to horticulture, permaculture, soil science and soil conservation. If you are interested, please contact the organisers by email as soon as possible as places are limited:

Green Transport Policy (GTP)

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The need to travel is a practical reality for us all, but our expectation to be able to travel when and how we wish is symptomatic of the unfettered social and economic growth models we have inherited. Most travel modes remain dependent upon fossil fuels usage with our habits continuing to contribute to ‘climate crisis’. This evidence is reinforced by the October 2018 IPCC Report. 

Ecovillage members have endorsed a duty of care to respond creatively to the way we travel, challenging our behaviours and supporting alternatives to fossil fuel modes of transport at the global, national and local levels. 

In response, our local GTP has been developed by our Green Transport Working Group and is intended to provide the strategic travel policy framework our ecovillage for the next 10 years. The following targets were developed through responses to a comprehensive Green Transport Members survey in September 2018. 

Target 1:

  • Phase 1 by end of 2019 (or 50% of occupancy of Stage 1) –  Informal car-pooling amongst members; NEV Community Bus / Vehicle; Expand the bulk food cooperative; Bike pool and secure cycle facilities on site; Electric Golf Buggies; More secure bicycle spaces at Narara Station
  • Phase 2 by end of 2020 (or ‘full’ (90%) occupancy of Stage 1) –  Formal Car-Share scheme; Improve the Dean Street pedestrian access; NEV Taxi

Target 2: Reduce total private car ownership by NEV members by 35% within 5 years.

Target 3:  NEV members to increase ownership of electric / hybrid cars, by 240% within 5 years.

Target 4:  Reduce the proportion of visitor trips to NEV that use private car (fossil fuel powered only) by 50% within 5 years.

The GTP is at ‘second draft’ stage with adoption expected in April 2019. The GTP will be supported by a Green Transport Charter of greater scope including challenging our wider travel habits nationally and internationally.

If you would like to view the second draft, Art Wooding, would be happy to send you a copy or discuss any aspect of the proposal

Village Reflections

Lyndall Parris reflects: “I feel more secure here. If something untoward happens, we would call a meeting in our village hall and many good brains would turn up. We would hear from people from all walks of life with multiple perspectives. We would work a way forward together.

It is rich seeing the beehives at Narara and watching our chooks preparing the ground for a vegie patch.
Parents get help during the school holidays from others offering their time, expertise and effort to give Narara children some fun and learning.

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Kids learning to cook pizzas                                       Smoothing out the rough edges

When I pick up some rubbish, help make a meal, assist with an event, propagate figs, I feel that I am contributing to the joy of my neighbours. I feel expansive and generous.

When I have an idea, I can immediately think of someone to chat to about this. The variety of outlooks and skills at my fingertips is massive.

At a community pot-luck dinner, I can collect my plate and fill it with such a variety of delicious, food, while at home the same time in the kitchen holds less reward for effort.

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Pot Luck dinner, Lyndall, Scilla & Donna

On very hot days, I can choose air conditioning…or a cool walk in the adjacent and oldest rainforest arboretum in NSW. It is minutes from our boundary. 

Although our first stage is all but fully subscribed, Stage 2 is on offer now with 20 members already on the waiting list. Contact me  0419 279 711 “

A New Kind of Living Environment

Green Magic Homes – A tiny house underground! 

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Now operational in Australia, Green Magic Homes structures are covered by soil and rich greenery, making them energy efficient and energy saving while keeping a temperature balanced interior that fosters restful sleep and rejuvenation.  Embrace an innovative lifestyle that calms your senses, fills you with energy, joy, and inner peace while keeping you connected to your external environment.

More at:

Builtsmart house has landed!

Congratulations to Geoff and Liz on their new house, and to Builtsmart on the successful installation on a very hot day! 

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Amazing that in the morning there was no house to be seen, and by lunch there was a 2 storey home installed!

Seismic Testing & Offshore Oil/Gas Drilling off the Central Coast

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The NSW coastline from Newcastle, through the Central Coast to the Northern Beaches of Sydney (PEP 11), has been opened up for oil and gas exploration and extraction.   

This plan has been imposed on our beautiful coast by the Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan, without adequate community consultation and despite opposition from the NSW Government. Newcastle City Council and Central Coast Council are also opposed to this dangerous plan. Their adverse effects on marine life are well-known and we cannot let this plan proceed. More information.

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There was a well-attended meeting last weekend in Terrigal to inform concerned locals about the plan for seismic testing and offshore oil/gas drilling off the Central Coast (from Northern Beaches to Newcastle).  Many concerned residents went to an action day Thursday 7th February in Newcastle to attend a ‘local’ briefing about Petroleum Exploration off the Central Coast but they locked out of the meeting. Told by department officer “This briefing is only for politicians and Councillors.” 

What can you do?

Stay informed and join relevant FB pages such as Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle 

Watch the video
An independent candidate, David Abrahams who is contesting the seat of Robertson against current sitting member for the LNP, Lucy Wicks put together this video to inform constituents.

Sign the Petition
Link here

Game-changing legal decision on coal

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 In an Australian first, on Friday 8th February, the NSW Land and Environment Court rejected the Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester, on social and climate change grounds.

The court has effectively ruled that coal – just like tobacco and asbestos – is bad for us!

Significantly, the court ruled that a new coal mine would increase greenhouse gas pollution when what is needed to meet the Paris Climate Agreementcommitments “is a rapid and deep decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The chief judge of the court announced that the proposed mine was “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” Dr Annika Dean, Senior Researcher at theClimate Council says: “We couldn’t agree more. In fact, there is no place for any new fossil fuel projects”. 

She said Climate Council’s Prof Will Steffen gave expert evidence in the hearing, providing compelling statements about the climate change implications of the mine. “This is the first time in Australian legal history that a court has considered the global carbon budget, climate impacts and the Paris climate targets”.

As Prof Steffen testified, “Most of the world’s existing fossil fuel reserves – coal, oil and gas – must be left in the ground, unburned, if the Paris accord climate targets are to be met.”

This outcome is a game-changer and a huge win for Groundswell Gloucester and the Environmental Defenders Office of NSW who argued on their behalf. Today, the law now confirms what the science has been saying for a long time.

As Prof Steffen explained, “This landmark decision sends a clear message to the fossil fuel industry that it cannot continue to expand if we are serious about tackling climate change.”

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s One Earth initiative

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A two-year scientific collaboration has produced a roadmap using 100% renewables and natural climate solutions to stay below a 1.5°C temperature rise.

Previous models have relied upon technologies that are expensive and not proven at scale.

The research by leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the German Aerospace Center and the University of Melbourne, has been funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) as part of its new One Earth initiative. 

 “We are already seeing the devastating consequences of global warming, with ever-rising sea levels, extreme storms, prolonged droughts and intensified bushfires. Now, after two years of research and modelling, scientists have come up with a groundbreaking new framework for achieving – and even beating – the target of limiting warming to 1.5°C.”

This ambitious and necessary pathway shows that [we] can deliver a more stable climate within a single generation.  LDF founder Leonardo DiCaprio

See you at the ecovillage!

Linda Scott
BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

  • Contacts and More Information
  • The Narara Ecovillage project currently comprises two entities. The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. It serves as a “Friends of the Narara Ecovillage”. Its brief is both local and global. 
  • Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. Membership gives free admission to all Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and talks, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. The Network organizes regular talks, tours and events. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line anytime at: Narara Eco Living Network Inc. and Facebook:
  • 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.
  • Contacts: Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd., and,  or email:
  • The Narara Ecovillage is located at 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

Network News
January 2019 


  • Convenor’s Message
  • Next Open Day: Sat 26th Jan 1-4pm
  • Mad about Dirt: Sat 11th May 2019
  • Farrell’s Blower Door Test: Sat 3rd Feb 2019
  • House Building Progresses
  • NewKind Festival in Tasmania: 19-24th Feb
  • Resilience Letter from Lesley G
  • Beware of Potting Mix
  • Silencito Pilates at Narara
  • Anyone for Zumba? Sat 19th Jan, 9.30-10.15am
  • ReGreening Australia
  • Bohemian Rhapsody singalong: Avoca Theatre Fri 1st Feb 7.30pm

Convenor’s Message

Liz Convenor.JPG

Welcome to 2019! And the village is really taking off! Our 9th house has been DA approved and about to break ground, with 6 houses completed or under construction.

We’re planning some pretty special eco-events for 2019, including “Mad about Dirt”, a festival of all things soil, on 11th May, and Sustainable House Day in September.

But no need to wait that long – there’ll be opportunities to check out several beautiful sustainably-designed houses through the year, starting on 26th January Open Day, when Candy’s   earthship (under construction) is open for tours.

During the year, you’ll also have the chance to participate in owner-builder workshops and learn some hands-on natural building techniques.

So keep your eye on the events calendar where new events are regularly added, here:

 In food news, the Village has an energetic Food Production Working Group, who are setting up one of the greenhouses and will be trialling comparison approaches for improving the soil,          including using mushroom compost, the Ruth Stout no-tillage approach, green manure, and compost from our new Chicken Tractor.

Chooks preparing ground.png

 Chickens preparing the soil in the triplespan greenhouse

Open Day Sat 26th January, 1-4pm

 Visit our beautiful site and learn about the vision for our Ecovillage with founder Lyndall Parris. Cost to attend: Individual $10, Family $20. Free for Narara Eco Living Network (NELN) members. Become a friend of the network online before the 26th – visit

Tour of Candy’s Earthship

Candy DSCN3384.JPG

 Candy is the owner builder of Lot 2 and is constructing an Earthship. Wikipedia: An Earthship is a type of passive solar house made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tyres, pioneered by USA architect Michael Reynolds.

She has agreed to allow small tours of 10 people (at a time) entry into the semi-built structure and will explain the principles behind the Earthship model. She’ll point out her own unique features that will be incorporated.

 Conditions: No children under 18 allowed on the building site. Adults, you must wear closed shoes. Hard hats and high vis vests will be provided. Contact us for more details if needed on 

Are You Mad About Dirt?

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If you are:

  • passionate about home gardening?
  • obsessive about growing your own, healthy, food?
  • a missionary for Permaculture?
  • a campaigner for soil conservation and against industrial soil stripping?
  • fascinated by the soil biome – the microscopic life in soil?
  • a mud-brick /rammed earth/ strawbale/ hempcrete home builder?
  • or you just love mud?

 Then you certainly won’t want to miss Mad About Dirt, on Saturday 11th May 2019 at the Narara Valley High School and Narara Ecovillage!

Mad About Dirt is a day dedicated to celebrating and discovering all about “dirt” (especially soil). Soil is the miraculous carpet of life that covers much of our planet –  yet we often treat it – “like dirt”! Soil is the one ecosystem that we absolutely rely on for our very survival, yet it’s perhaps the least appreciated ecosystem on Earth – why is that? Do you wonder why every child loves dirt, and why gardening makes you happy?

  • Hear and meet expert speakers
  • See demonstrations
  • Tour the school farm
  • Explore the ecovillage land and its soils
  • See the latest “dirt-built” homes
  • Join children’s activities
  • Get your hands “dirty”!

 Free admission (thanks to Central Coast Council, Bendigo Bank, SESL Australia, Viva Living Homes and Narara Eco Living Network).

 For more information and updates, see :  and Facebook

 Contact:  Mobile Richard 0400 601 668.

Farrell’s House Blower Door Test

10am start (arrive 9.45am) 3rd February 2019

Farrell's house.jpg

Tony and Teresa Farrell say: “To have an energy efficient house in our climate it’s important to reduce as far as possible hot or cold drafts coming into the house. Hot winds on hot days or cold winds on cold nights can have an enormous effect on the comfort of the internal environment of the house as they infiltrate through gaps in the envelope of the building. If you can keep the outside air out then it enables you to have better control of the air inside.

This can be done using products like breathable wraps, sealed window and door surrounds, and appropriate windows and doors. The effectiveness of the seal of the house can be tested with the blower door test, where everything is closed up and a large fan is fitted within a sealed doorway to create a pressure difference between inside and out. The air leakage can then be measured and gaps found.

This is an important principle in the ‘passive house’ system which is gaining popularity in Australia. Although our house wasn’t set out to be a ‘passive house,’ we have used many of the principles of the system in our building.

Our architect, Andy Marlow, of Envirotecture has organised an expert to come to the village to test our house for us. He is also keen to make this an education opportunity for others to come along and find out the different ways to achieve a well-controlled internal house environment.

You are welcome to come along to this free session to experience the blower door test, ask questions and find out more. Limited numbers: or 0409 998 507

House Building Progresses

 This year will see even more homes starting or being completed at the village; there is much excitement in the air! Who would have thought trucks ‘n’ tradies, cement mixers, fencing, noise and building would resonate with so many people!

 We have a HUGE map of Stage 1 on the wall of our Site Office to give an overview of who is building when, traffic flow management, who has our internal Building Review Panel approval, Development Applications with Council approved and all systems go. If you have read the December newsletter you would have seen the article about our first home completed:

 So what’s next? The Earthship was showcased in the December news and is now has a roof on!  A strawbale workshop will be happening soon.

The second home is almost completed, a lovely natural build by Viva Living Homes. 

Viva DSCN3432.JPG

One of our members said ‘All I want for Christmas is a concrete slab’ and she got it! We have two homes with slabs ready for framework. Four more lots have construction fencing around them.

slab DSCN3430.JPG

Cluster units – Coastal Constructions will build this 18-unit development for Narara Ecovillage Co-operative and anticipated completion is before the end of the year.

Coastal for clusters.JPG

Price range of available units:  $390,000 to $476,000.

Contact Jazz if you are interested in knowing more: 

And in anticipation… a cute little raised garden bed has sprung up on this lot before the home is built.

Anticipating DSCN3388.JPG

 You can also follow our builds from the air, keep an eye on John’s aerial video logs (vlogs) on the Narara Ecovillage Facebook page. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to view the page.

NewKind Festival, Tasmania 19-24th February

 Samantha Graham (Education designer and much more: visit her website, says “I’m wondering if any of you are interested in coming to this festival of social change/sustainability 19-24th February just outside of Hobart or know who else might be keen and could pass this on?  I’m a presenter and as you’re a subscriber of Network News, I’m able to offer you a 20% discount using ‘StateofMind’ when you book”.

Newkind 2019 Final Poster (1).jpg

Newkind is an annual conference for anyone ready to step up, find their purpose, and make a positive impact on the world. If you have a strong desire to champion social and economic justice, establish equality, defend diversity and facilitate the process of peace-building, then Newkind is for you.

Through inspirational discussion panels, workshop sessions and thought-provoking lectures by academics, activists, entrepreneurs and social justice advocates, the Newkind conference is designed to empower and inspire you to become the change maker you want to be. 

Thought leaders from the fields of education, economics, environmental protection, business, sustainability and social justice combine to create a powerful convergence for cross-disciplinary conversation. So come, be inspired, and get connected with a community of leaders, pioneers and agents of social change.

Letter from ex Member Lesley

 Hello Nararians,

 It’s so good to see your eco village dreams taking shape, and though I now watch from a distance (Brisbane), I do share your extraordinary journey, in spirit. I’d been involved in NEV since early 2011 but had to walk away in 2018 for health reasons. However, under the right circumstances, I could return.

 In the meantime, I’ve channelled my eco village enthusiasm into the online environment via The Local Resilience Project which I kick started in at The Apple Store in London late last year.

Lesley Gillett in London.jpg

Designed to help people assess their household’s strengths and weaknesses and take action to improve their resilience, The Project has three stages:

The Conversation: ideas for meaningful conversations about the threats to our resilience e.g. climate change, financial indebtedness, shrinking biosphere and so on.

The Checklist: 100 Yes-No questions across 12 areas of life to create an inventory of your current household resilience with links to resources to help boost your score.

The Call To Action:  An invitation to make behavioural changes to boost your resilience through (i) personal habits e.g. shopping at farmers markets and (ii) community initiatives e.g. Town Hall Meetings to meet ‘experts’ in the 12 areas of The Checklist.

Ideally, The Local Resilience Project will be ‘exported’ to postcodes across the country, given the right kind of exposure and interest. The website and you can visit right now to take The Checklist.

I welcome your thoughts and questions and can be contacted at

Go well with all your wonderful eco constructions.


 Lesley Gillett

 Beware of Potting Mix

 The death of a New Zealand man last year after contracting Legionnaires’ disease has his friends asking whether the warnings about the dangers of potting mix are strong enough.

 According to family and friends, he was well aware, as an experienced gardener, of the recommended safety measures when handling potting mix.

 He would split open the bags and use the hose to wet them down well, then leave them exposed to the air before using the mix. He wore gardening gloves, but no mask.

Potting Mix 2.png

Bacteria can easily grow in potting mix. Legionella longbeachae is one species that breeds in the warm, moist conditions inside the bags.

 Inhaling the spores can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that can be more easily contracted by older people, particularly if they have existing health conditions, poor immunity or chronic illnesses.

 The gardening industry had been looking at ways of making safer composts. The best precautions were to open potting mix carefully, wear gloves and a mask, dampen down the product, use it in a well-ventilated area and wash hands thoroughly. Full article:

Silencito Pilates & Meditation at Narara

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Friend of the village, Liz Stride is delighted to announce that Silencito Pilates & Meditation Studio has opened in Narara and would like to offer NELN and NEV members a free one hour Initial Consultation and 10% off package prices.

 Silencito is a fully equipped Pilates studio with high quality equipment. Pilates tuition includes private classes, intimate groups (max three people) and mat classes (up to six people). Meditation classes have a maximum of six people.

 The aim of Pilates is to experience joyful, balanced movement in each individual. Pilates creates and restores natural movement with efficiency and ease. It’s a science and art of control of the whole body and mind to help restore and maintain functional movement and ease the pain from various injuries and conditions. Liz aims to get to know each person, their needs and goals, to create an uplifting movement experience. Pilates is for every body. Young, old, fit, unfit…

Liz has been teaching Pilates for 16 years in Sydney and on the Central Coast, as well as being on faculty for teacher training courses, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in the Pilates Method with Pilates International Training Centre. She holds an Advanced Diploma in The Pilates Method (10538NAT) and is a registered member of the Pilates Alliance of Australasia (PAA), Australia’s leading industry body for Pilates. Please visit her website or contact her for further information: email website

Anyone for Zumba?

Zumba class.jpeg

Free demonstration of “Zumba Gold” at Narara Ecovillage Visitors Centre, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

 When: 9.30-10.15 a.m, Saturday, 19th January 2019.

 Come along, join in or just watch! No previous experience necessary.

 Haruko Eaton runs Zumba classes at Wyoming for seniors on Friday mornings (“Zumba Gold”), and for the very active on Tuesday evenings. This demonstration is to see how much interest there might be in holding Zumba classes at Narara Ecovillage in 2019.

Zumba combines music, dance, both physical and mental exercise and much laughing. The music and moves come from all over the world- Cuba, Italy, India (Bollywood), the USA and many others.  Children are welcome to join in.

Loose clothing and “gym” shoes recommended! The venue is air conditioned, and water drinks are available – or bring your own. 

Hosted at NEV by Zumba Gold enthusiast Richard Cassels!

ReGreening Australia

Hot enough for you?

Imagine if you could make the temperature around you drop by 11 degrees…

Well, you can, according to ArborCarbon’s (experts in sustainable vegetation management solutions and urban forest monitoring) thermal imaging cameras unearthed an 11C-degree-difference between streets with trees and those without.

Overbuilt suburbs.png

This overhead shot shows how even the smallest green spaces are being eroded. Residential areas (like these in Perth) have gone from tree-lined lawn to concrete and brick right up to the boundary.

Local planning regulations often allow patios, hard verandas, and paved parking to be called “open space”. 

Preview of 'open spaces'.png

It might be open, but it’s not green…

It’s not all touchy-feely protecting-nature stuff. As well as keeping us cool:

creating more green spaces:

So it’s good news for us as well as the planet. 

Trees and green spaces in our cities can lower temperatures and boost air quality

If you’re in Sydney, take a detour to the beautiful Paddington Reservoir Gardens , created out of a disused urban site, for inspiration.

Your green space doesn’t have to be that grand – a tree, some shrubs, and a seat in the shade will do just fine.

 Or vertical gardening –

Green building walls.png

Vertical gardening is a great way to incorporate the great outdoors within urban spaces. When planning your vertical garden, consider the sunlight requirements of each plant. Design your garden with the most shade tolerant plants placed towards the lowest section. We’ve created a selection of our favorite tube stock plants best suited to vertical gardens.

Adapted from an Australian Plants Online article:

Warning about Global Warming

 According to an article in The Guardian, global warming of oceans is now equivalent to an atomic bomb per second.

 Every time you start a petrol engine, switch on coal-fuelled electric power, or use any manufactured product, you are contributing to the vast release of energy by burning fossil fuels. Thanks to a human population of 7.5 billion, global emissions are now estimated at the equivalent of AT LEAST one atomic bomb per second.

 Read more at:

Bohemian Rhapsody SingalongAvoca Theatre Fri 1st Feb, 7:30pm

Now for something lighter! Sing your heart out! 
You so wanted to sing through the movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and now Avoca Theatre are celebrating the great love of the music and the film with a Bohemian Rhapsody singalong with the words to the songs on the screen…not that they you need them!

Looking forward to seeing you at the village!

 Linda Scott


BA (Communications) UTS, Sydney
Grad Cert Design & Technology

  • Contacts and More Information
  • The Narara Ecovillage project currently comprises two entities. The Narara Eco Living Network Inc. is a not-for profit incorporated association that promotes sustainable living. It serves as a “Friends of the Narara Ecovillage”. Its brief is both local and global. 
  • Membership is open to all, and costs $20 an individual or $40 a family for 12 months. Membership gives free admission to all Narara Ecovillage Open Day tours and talks, and provides discounts on special workshops and tours. The Network organizes regular talks, tours and events. You can join at any Open Day, or on-line anytime at: Narara Eco Living Network Inc. and Facebook:
  • 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.
  • Contacts: Narara Ecovillage Co-operative Ltd., and,  or email:
  • The Narara Ecovillage is located at 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.

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