Two weeks ago a group of us went down to Bindarabbi, a picturesque sustainable community on the QLD/NSW border, to take part in the Bindarrabi Common-Unity Festival: “Healthy, Happy, Simple Living”.
Next door to a national park and nestled between a custodial mountain and gorge, the visionaries of this community are creating a dynamic, creative community with affordable housing – focusing on natural energy systems, permaculture principles and a mutual respect for each other and the land.
We were fortunate enough to present The Zeitgeist Movement to these wonderful people on the Saturday before enjoying a night of delicious food and great conversations around the campfire. During the presentation we gave a brief introduction to TZM and allowed opportunity for discussion and feedback. Unexpectedly there were a lot of children present who participated in the discussion too, answering some questions very insightfully. The recording of the presentation will be available soon.
The following day was filled with a range of exciting, inspiring and interesting presentations based around sustainable lifestyles. Here are some highlights.
John Harding presented his idea to make solar power more accessible – starting from as low as $1000 and building upon it. He also discussed his invention which allows you to update your solar power equipment easily with every-changing solar technologies.
After that, Lori and Bay shared how they make their own bread and feta cheese Trisha Van Den Brink also showed us how we can grow our own medicinal herbs and George shared his composting knowledge and self-watering wicking beds with the group.
We were fortunate enough to check out Jane Milburn of Textile Beat discuss Slow Fashion, which empowers people to become more conscious of our clothing. She encouraged the audience to slow down, take stock and be empowered to resew, restyle and refashion clothing that already exists. She had some wonderful fresh, new clothing on display that she had created using old clothes.
Also on display were some homemade solar cookers, made from simple, recycled materials that had the ability to cook a full pumpkin in 45 minutes, or even put a hole in metal (if not used carefully)!
The day of events was finished with two discussions by the Bindarabbi community owners, Carol and Doone. Carol discussed the concept of “Living Simply” with the group, which brought up some wonderful discussion about what this actually means, and maybe how the word could be misleading in today’s current culture. Doone explained his process of creating a Ram Pump from the water at the top of the gorge, down to all of the allotments on the property.
Apart from the wonderful presentations, the TZM group also had the opportunity to enjoy swimming, sunbaking, great music and great company.
Bindarrabbi, seems as paradise on Earth in the backdrop of the Koreelah National park, surrounded by the dry grasslands & mountains of the NSW border region.
We set off for the 3 hour trek from Brisbane prepared with vital supplies: wine, market purchased foods & of course, lots of warm clothing for the cold nights. Driving. Landscapes of rural Queensland, perfect weather & last minute guerrilla preparations for the coming presentations just hours away.
Counting ‘belly lizards’ & ‘angry cows’ for the last stretch, Bindarrabi arrives & we are greeted by ‘Dune’, the cheerful & well-mannered “patriarch”, guided to our yurt style communal tent. The spot is amazing, bushland just meters away.
Presentation goes well, the adorable, inquisitive & intelligent children, amaze us with their engagement, making this by far one of the most enjoyable we have done. The campsite is filled with likeminded, friendly People; designed with solar power, spring water taps, eco toilets & well maintained gumtree forest.
The mild, late afternoon tour for bird watching, turns into evening, as the community built pizza oven is fired up & volunteer kitchen puts professional restaurants to task, in the cooperation & dedication of its people. Dinner is incredible, as the locally grown food is baked into delicious kilm oven pizza, dessert is homemade apple pie & thick cream. Served with open bonfire & great company.
The morning chill is replaced by breakfast, dry summer clothes & workshops. Permaculture, solar cooking techniques, innovative solar power design are the subjects, with traditional country demonstrations on making Breads & cheeses. Lazy afternoon sets in with insightful nonsense chat, naps & lying around watching the wilderness channel, nothing to do, nowhere to be.
We start the last day exploring Koreelah Park, the hot dry weather is contrast to diving into clear, cool rock pools. Swimming in bush filtered sunlight & exploring unique rock formations. The well natured children guide us all back to the 4WD tracks. We say our goodbyes to the lovely people we spent the weekend with. Drearily, we count ‘tiny & holy’ cows on our way home as Tim Minchin serenades us with hilarious & witty conclusion dialog, an amazing & rejuvenating weekend.
By James Hill