The Bundagen Intentional Communities Conference held on 23-25 September 2011 was a huge success in every way.
There were more than 120 participants from 28 different communities and groups around Australia, including quite a few Bundagenites, resident, non-resident and NOKs, and three Bundagen founding members. Several participants, such as Bill Metcalf, were well known communitarians.
The community looked at its best for the conference weekend after three intense working bees. Cobwebs had been brushed away, windows polished, grass slashed and mowed, and lots of repairs, large and small, were made. A dedicated team of 20 volunteers took on the running of the conference. The café worked smoothly with a system of prepaid vouchers and with hard working volunteers helping through the weekend. Tasty meals, much complimented, were served efficiently and at a reasonable cost.
The program was interesting and comprehensive. The marquee was a great venue for the panels; the school with the baby quilt exhibition was beautiful; the fire shed had a barn-like atmosphere, and discussion groups were held in Tapovana (the meditation space) and ‘the hexagon’ (kids space). Meanwhile, twenty lively children were entertained with craft and games by dedicated parents and carers during conference hours.
The atmosphere of the conference was one of ease and friendship. Being surrounded by like-minded people who believe in living in community was a wonderfully re-energizing experience. Many friendships were formed, problems and difficulties compared, successes celebrated and plans for the future made.
Some participants stayed on after the weekend. On Monday there was a well-attended cob-building workshop at the playschool, and a conflict resolution workshop at the school with a dozen participants. A tour of homes and gardens of Bundagen attracted many visitors, while a bush tucker walk and a night creatures spotting tour ended the day.
The feedback from the participants was very positive. Many fell in love with Bundagen and were impressed by the level of organisation and support offered over the weekend. Many commented on our well developed buildings, kitchen and infrastructure.
What came out of the conference?
It was a relief (and a pity) that all communities reported problems with their councils, legal matters and difficult members. We were able to share much information and support on these matters.
There was a strong desire to stay in touch so we can help and support each other, give information to people hoping to form new communities, etc.
A communities’ website will be developed where all matters relating to community can be discussed, especially promoting communities as a sustainable way to live.
There is a need for ongoing communities conferences, possibly every two or three years. Hopefully Bundagen will be a host again not too far in the future!
THANKS to all the members of communities who came and supported the conference: ASITRREC, Bellbunya (QLD), Black Bulga (NSW), Bodhi Farm (NSW), Cohousing Coop Hobart (Tasmania), Common Ground (SA), Crystal Waters (QLD), Durrumbul Holdings (NSW), Earth Coop (VIC), Eco village Currumbin (QLD), Ecodigs (QLD), Equilibrium (NSW), Etherion (NSW), Faeryland (NSW), Goolawah Coop (NSW), Homeland (NSW), Jaspers Community (QLD), Lillifield (NSW), Mandala (QLD), Moora-Moora (VIC), Morning Star (NSW), Pinakarri Community (WA), SCEV (NSW), Tuntable Falls Coop (NSW), Vihara (NSW), Wytaliba (NSW).
Many Thanks to all those involved with the preparation and running of the weekend.
Rejane & Jenny