Network News August

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Network News

13 August 2018


  • Convenor’s Message
  • Meet the Founder – Sunday 26th August
  • Next Village Day – Saturday 29th September
  • A tale of two houses – The Heritage House & The Foreman’s Cottage
  •  Shared Spaces Speed Bumps
  • Yurtworks Dilemma
  • Join our Natural Builders
  • Farms Tours
  • Steiner School Spring Fair
  • Sculpture by the Sea 2018 Bondi to Tamarama 18th Oct to 4th Nov
  • Spring Clivia Show Sat 15th – Sun 16th September
  •  Going Going Gone!
  •  Global Climate Action Summit

Convenor’s Message


We hold regular events at Narara Ecovillage so you can explore our property, experience a snapshot of village life, and learn about our amazing project. Come along to our Village Days (full day program now every second month), our more spontaneous information and activity days (on alternate months), Working Bees, Community Dinners, Talks and Demonstrations.


Visit the Narara Ecovillage & Meet the Founder!


A day with a difference! Information & Activities: Sun 26th August

  • Join the Natural Builders (10am-4pm)
  • Meet the Founder – Short Presentation and Tour (1-3pm)
  • Explore Small Footprint Options for Stage 2 (3pm onwards)

Come to visit our beautiful site for a couple of hours and learn about the vision for our Ecovillage with our Founder, Lyndall Parris

Her presentation and tour program runs from 1-3pm. Registration is open at 12.30. Cost to attend: Individual $10 /Family $20. Tea/Coffee provided.  Children welcome and encouraged.

After Lyndall’s presentation, from 3pm onwards, Dan Mohr is offering an opportunity for members and interested visitors to explore ideas about creative design and small footprint housing in Stage 2.

If you would like to spend a more spontaneous day getting to know us better through working together, come prepared to get grubby and join our Natural Build crew at their learning site: the camp kitchen. There is no cost: your contribution is your time and energy. BYO picnic and drinks. Wear closed in shoes, hat and water. Fun will be shared!


Next Village Day: Sat 29th Sept 2018, 10am – 4pm

A talk organised by our Narara Ecoliving Network (NELN) on the ‘Greeny Flat’: Positive Energy Homes by Andy Lemann plus other exciting activities and tours.  Put the date in your diary and come along to see house-building progress at the village


A Tale of Two Houses

The Gosford Horticulture Research Station was established by the State Government as Narara Viticulture Nursery in 1912 as a consequence of failures to produce Phylloxera-resistant rootstocks to combat a major outbreak of the Phylloxera aphid in the grape growing areas in NSW and Victoria.

*Heritage House

Heritage House early last century

Of the two residences built on the 220 acres, the Heritage House was built 1915-1916 as the Manager’s Cottage for Superintendent, David Jenkins, who stayed in the role until 1919.  The cottage was built out of weatherboard and fibro-cement externally, had a brick chimney, and traditional wide verandahs and balustrades.

Attached to the north side of the cottage was accommodation for 10 boys from Gosford Farm Home, a reformatory school.

The current chicken run and hen house at the rear of Manager’s cottage has holes in the concrete floor and floor drain, indicative that in its original form this building was probably the shower block for the former dormitory wing of the house.

During Mr Jenkins’ tenure, it was reported that 1915-16 was one of the driest years on record, with only 25” rainfall (600mm).

Harry George White was Superintendent for 20 years, from 1919-1939, with wife Lydia and four children.  During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing the phylloxera resistant wine stock for grapes.

Notwithstanding the problems with floods and droughts, occasional hailstorms and frequent fungal infestations, theNarara Viticultural Nursery was to produce vast quantities of disease-resistant grafts over more than forty years, making a major contribution to the success of the wine and table grape industries in NSW.

In July this year Nicky and Mark took possession of this historic building and are committed to major improvements to restore the house to its previous glory.

Mark and Nicky 1HH recent

In celebration, Mark commented: “This week this 103 year old beauty finally became ours at Narara Ecovillage. Like any relationship, it will take a LOT of love and care to maintain, but it’s a dream to live a little more quietly, closer to the bush in a friendly community. We are so lucky to become custodians of this little piece of Central Coast history.

“It will be a slow transition over the next 2-3 years as we work to make her more energy-efficient, livable and returned to her former beauty. So, I’m in Sydney for a while yet…

“It’s an inspiring project with fellow oddballs, idealists and interesting people who act on their passions and beliefs. Who knows where it will all end up, but I’m pretty sure the ride will be memorable.

“I’m terrified and excited in equal measure as I’m not a handyman (and there is a LOT to do and learn here!) but the ecovillage growing around it should more than make up for any nerves or doubts”.


*Foreman’s Cottage

Hesters Foremans Cottage

Less is known about the second house on the site, known as the Foreman’s Cottage.  Completely rebuilt in 2003-4 because of an infestation of white ants, it has been the home of the Hester family since 2013 when purchased by the ecovillage project.

Tony (Village Co-Manager) and Toni, with children Sofia and James, will be purchasing the cottage in Stage 2. They plan to retrofit the building to a much higher standard of comfort.  Tony says the best thing about the house currently is the view!  As you can see in the picture, the verandah is an ideal spot for looking down at the comings and goings of the ecovillage.


Shared Spaces Speed Bumps

Mikala speed bumpsShared zone

As Mikala said as she was installing these last week: “We’re installing speed bumps not to cause annoyance but to remind members, visitors and construction workers to please slow down!  House builders are especially encouraged to filter this information to anyone driving in to service their sites.

Please make our shared spaces safe, especially for our younger users.


Yurtworks Dilemma


Three ecovillage members, Jazz (Narara), Sian and Etel (both currently live in Canberra) say: “All we want is a NEV compliant sustainable roomy yurt (a permanent version of the felt, canvas and timber yurts originally used by nomadic tribes in Central Asia) with decking and views! We’ve organized the views, all we need now is a yurt to sit in to gaze out there at the hills beyond”.

It all sounded so simple for them when they decided on what seemed a basic but attractive, affordable dwelling, built from prefabricated timber frames.

The trio appointed architect, Travis Quennell, of QUBD Pty Ltd who lives at Currumbin Ecovillage, just over the NSW border in Queensland.  He has 30 years experience in yurt building, and visited Narara early last year, surveying their lots, along with their Goulburn yurt builder. After healthy discussions, Travis designed their roundhouses (6.1m2 main circle, annexes & decking), within their specific tight budgets and they were buoyant with the promise of their dream houses.

However, with delays taking another 12 months before they finally became owners of their lots, the initial prices accelerated! In that time, timber prices rose dramatically, plus the non-local builder’s extra costs for travel and accommodation for building crew, and importantly, more expenditure on materials for 7 star energy rating, and bushfire considerations included $30,000 for an engineered slab floor.

Devastated at how their budgets had blown, but not to be defeated, the three have been pondering how else they can achieve their dream homes.  Like other prospective house builders at the village, they have to look at making compromises, letting go of some of their dreams, chastened by their budgets!

Currently they are looking for local builders who may wish to get involved in building yurts, with the knowledge there may be many other potential yurt owners in Stage 2.

If our readers know of any entrepreneurial Central Coast builders who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity, please let us (and them) know.


Visit our natural building

Matt WoodDan on tamper

Heidi and Tim

Pablo with Gael Indy

Finishng the floor

Deb kids getting clay dust


Steiner School Spring Fair

With several ecovillage children attending the Steiner School, excitement is building for this annual fair with so many attractions.

Steiner Spring Fair


Farm Tours

Grace Springs Farm Tour – Sat 18th & Sun 19th August

GS Farm

The tours run for 2 hours, 9.30-11.30am and start off with a lovely home-made morning tea. See the ducks, chooks, cows, calves, beehives and market garden. They explain why they farm the way they do and what is involved in chemical free farming. An informative and interactive tour. You’re allowed  to cuddle the chooks, pat the calf & taste different foods in season as you walk around. This tour is also ideal for anyone looking for ideas on running animals on small acreage.


Limestone Permaculture

Limestone Permaculture

Members Donna Carey and Linda Scott  visited Limestone Permaculture last month at Stroud, north of Newcastle, to tour their one acre lot permaculture demonstration farm. This inspiring productive small space produced enough vegetables, plus eggs and chickens, for weekly food boxes as well as an unattended shop, run on an honesty system, with fresh vegetables, seeds, preserves and much more.

LP pumpkin morning tea

Run by Brett and Nici, the two hour tour was educational, informative and the pumpkin morning tea was generous and delicious.  They run tours and workshops, including Permaculture Design, animal management and how to achieve income from home grown produce.  Highly recommended.


Purple Pear Farm Education Centre and Biodynamic Farm

Purple Pear Farm

Everything from Permaculture design courses, mums & bubs activities, school holiday activities, birthday parties, biodynamic agriculture and tours of their mandela vegetable gardens and farm.  Run by Mark Brown and Kate Beverage, who have been friends and supporters of our ecovillage since the early days.  Check their website, sign up for their newsletter. Well worth the visit.


Sculpture by the Sea 2018: 18th Oct – 4th Nov

Sculpture by the sea

Sculpture by the Sea returns to the Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk as the world’s largest free to the public sculpture exhibition.


Spring Clivia Show: Sat 15th – Sun 16th Sept
Clivia Society of NSW: 10:30am – 4pm


Thornleigh Community Centre, Cnr Phyllis St and Central Ave
(off Pennant Hills Rd) next to Bunnings, Thornleigh, NSW


Going Going Gone

Going Gone Extinctions

Australia takes top place on the world stage for most mammal extinctions.  We have tragically high numbers of threatened species at risk of extinction; mammals to birds to amphibians, plants, reptiles and fish… amid forests, semi-arid and desert Australia, wetlands, rivers, grasslands, alpine areas and the oceans surrounding this old and beautiful continent.

Most of Australia’s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, making its conservation even more important.  87% of our mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of our bird species are found only in Australia.


Global Climate Action Summit

Next month, cities, states, businesses and civil society from around the world are gathering in California for the Global Climate Action Summit. Leading up to this is a global day of action on Saturday, 8th September.

#RiseforClimate is planning thousands of rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand our local leaders commit to building a fossil free world that puts people and justice before profits.

No more stalling, no more delays: it’s time for a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

There are currently two events scheduled in Sydney.


See you at the village sometime soon!

warm regards,

Linda Scott

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 NararaEcovillage 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: Eco Living NetworkInc. 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.