We are sustainable lifestyle educators. A forty year life experience enriched by what we have achieved, the places we have been and the people we have met.
In that time we have occupied and revitalised five properties (urban and rural). Turning each ugly duckling into an environmentally comfortable home in harmony with nature. We use a number of design systems including permaculture, biodynamics, solar passive and self sufficiency to enhance our lifestyle.
Where we are today is drawing on all our life experience. A fourteen acre bush block partially flanked by a steep rocky revene, ravenous weedy undergrowth, with a scattering of significant mature trees e.g. Paulowinia, Bunya Bunya Pine and Lily Pilli all perched on a bed of sand, rock and clay. In just under three years we have enhanced the landscape. The kitchen and herb garden services the b-b-q area and the home. The Vegie patch provides food all year round. We established a stone fruit and berry orchard with compost bins and chooks. A heritage apple and pear grove, companion planted with a large variety of scented and edible geraniums and patrolled by ducks. A nut, fig and olive grove. We have created a rainforest garden to border the outdoor living space to reduce summer heat.
We have made hundreds of mud bricks on site. Turning a white-ant ridden mud brick weekender cottage into a home. We have installed a solar power grid connect system and solar tube hot water. We have attached water tanks to every building and erected rooftops just to catch water. For bush fire defence we installed a factory’s second fibre glass swimming pool, pump and a water tank to fill it and to keep it topped up.
Todate our home is constructed and furnished using materials sourced from over 60 buildings throughout Sydney and country new south wales. Antique leadlight stained glass windows and doors. Cyprus pine wall lining milled in 1905. The front gate which measures 3.6m was made in 1890.
Throughout our forty year self-reliant lifestyle, we have shared our knowledge and experience with thousands of people through courses, lectures, open house and garden, personal consultations and friendship. Our personal journey has taken us around Australia and New Zealand, England, Ireland, Scotland (the eco village at Findhorn) and to California USA, Italy and Croatia.
Forty years ago, we were there when sustainable living took a fledgling hold in Australia. Organic gardening, permaculture, bio-dynamic farming, alternate energy, sustainable building in rammed earth, mud brick, and straw bale. When Grass Roots magazine grew from public demand for information. When Earth Garden magazine was launched. When Re-nu Energy magazine reached out to find its voice. When organic seeds were difficult to find until Alf formed Eden Seeds and Clive created The Diggers Club. The Seed Savers network encouraged us all. It was new and exciting. We were all crusaders for a better way of living.
Staying true to our beliefs we have acquired years of knowledge and experience
which has shaped our lives.
We are happy to share what we have learnt along the journey of sustainability.
Paul and Judith Collins