Wurruk’an is a small and emerging ecovillage in Gippsland, Victoria. We’re located just outside of Moe, about 2 hours east from Melbourne on the train line towards Traralgon. The 20 acre property is an inclusive gathering space for people seeking to explore meaningful alternatives to consumer capitalism and demonstrate simpler ways of living. There are currently four of us living at Wurruk’an. We like to think of ourselves as friendly, inquisitive, environmentally-minded folks. We collaborate with the co-owners of the property and with broader networks of people connected to Wurruk’an, including The Simplicity Institute and local community groups. Over the course of 2017 we will be looking to consolidate our projects around the property: getting the food gardens to a workable level, maintaining the small houses we’ve built, managing the land, and continuing our public outreach.
The number of residents will likely shrink over the coming months and we’re excited to offer new residencies for two to four new people. We are looking for long term residents, those looking for stays a year and over. The desire to be a part of community, to navigate the joys and challenges of working collaboratively, is a pretty major part of life at Wurruk’an.
The ideal applicant would be self-directed, committed to communal living, open to communicating clearly and compassionately (even around difficult topics), keen on growing food, active in reducing their ecological footprint, and open to being challenged. It also helps if you enjoy ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
Obviously we’re heaps happy to teach you how we’ve been managing the property, though we are open to ideas and looking for people who have skill sets to offer Wurruk’an. Particularly, we are after organic gardeners, builders, tinkerers, and people with administration skills (this includes media and community engagement, online presence, general organisation, and treasury). We are looking for someone who would be confident to manage and take responsibility in one of these roles.
If you think that you might be interested in applying for residency, please read on. Feel free to share this information with friends who may be interested. You can find out more about Wurruk’an here: https://www.wurrukan.org/web/, or watch the full length documentary on the community’s first year at https://happenfilms.com/a-simpler-way/
Life at Wurruk’an
The farm work entails tending to our vegetable plots and caring for our animals (ducks, geese, chickens, guinea pigs); we are working toward some degree of self-sufficiency with fruit, vegetables, preserves, meat, and eggs. We are generally vego in our communal meals, though we do occasionally butcher our own animals to keep flock sizes manageable. Additionally, we maintain the 8 acres of cleared land and 12 acres of native forest on the property.
Living together doesn’t necessarily come easily; a part of our mission is to develop the arts of communal living. This includes stuff like communicating well, aiming for consensus decision making, having fun together, and working collaboratively. Essentially, this is thinking in the ‘We’ mentality rather than the ‘I’ mentality. A large part of life here involves regular household meetings, cooking and eating together, building together, planning events, and all other miscellany of group projects.
There is also an outreach component of life here. We make an effort to engage with the local community, maintain an online presence, and collaborate with other groups like Earthworker, Baw Baw Sustainability Network, CERES, and GLaWAC. When engaging with other folk of the Latrobe Valley we aim to be neither judgemental nor preachy, but rather look to find common ground.
We already have accommodation on the property for you; you don’t need to be able build your own tiny house or anything like that (though feel free to BYO). While we do not pay formal rent to the landowners, there are costs of living here. Everyone pitches in to developing Wurruk’an and we all have equal say about where this money goes. Typically it might go towards garden projects, acquiring new tools, maintaining infrastructure, and generally sustaining the lifestyle here. There are also the all the regular costs like utilities, internet, bulk food orders, and animal feed. In total this averages out to around a $250/month contribution. Additionally, there is a minimum amount of property maintenance required. We’ve found that full time employment isn’t great for meaningfully engaging with the property; three or so days of paid work per week is better. Ideally, this balance should allow you enough time to immerse yourself in Wurruk’an related projects, and to still have a life outside the property.
To apply, please send a short profile of yourself, outlining the following in a page or so:
– Who are you? What’s your story? Where are you from?
– Why you are interested in living at Wurruk’an?
– What is your previous experience of communal living? (sharehouses etc.)
– What skills and ideas can you offer?
– What would be your rough timeline to join?
Applications can be sent to [email protected]
If it seems like you’re a good fit for Wurruk’an, we will arrange a time for you to come out and visit for 2-3 days so that we can meet you, and so you can get a better understanding of life on the property. If it gels between us, you will be invited for a month or so period of living in the community. We know this trial period can be a bit of a hassle but it’s an important decision; once you are a part of the community, your input will be considered equal to everyone else’s and you will have an active say in the future of Wurruk’an.
It is unfortunate that this process will not suit international applicants. That said, if you are visiting Australia anyway, please keep in touch to find out about upcoming events.