In late January, we visited a family in Moonford, Queensland, that are strongly considering starting a community on the property and can have a wonderful vision of what is possible on the land they call home.
'3 Moons' named after the creek that runs through the property, is just a short drive from the rural town of Monto. Peta, Jaiben and their children live on a one hundred acre property that hosts caves, a permanent creek, escarpments, stunning views and a range of vegetation types including dry rainforest and eucalyptus forest. The property is very unique as it backs onto the Cania Gorge National Park where national and international visitors come to admire the ancient inland sea which has become a spectacular sandstone gorge. The sandstone colours range from rich red to vibrant yellow and bright white.
Over six days our group explored the trails both on the Moonford property and in the world-class national park. We were visited by lots of wildlife including cockatoos and families of king parrots. Everyday we swam in the permanent '3 Moons Creek' which runs through the property and also visited Cania Dam which is a popular place for fishing and boating.
The property is home to 'Grinding Groove Cave' where an archeological dig recently revealed that Aboriginal people have inhabited the cave for over ten thousand years. We could see the grooves where tools were sharpened on the sandstone. It was very special to be in a place with so much history. The caves are a wonderful place to be on a hot day. There are dark cavernous chambers where cool air is circulated through the sandstone like a constant draught, creating a natural air-conditioning. We also walked along the dry river gully that is a gushing waterway during seasonal flooding.
Our hosts were excellent tour guides and showed their passion for the area and the land. They have many ideas for eco village businesses. A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme to provide weekly vegetable boxes to the local community is one such business idea that they would love to see developed. There is a need for fresh fruit and vegetables in the area as the variety and quality in the town's two supermarkets is limited. Other business ideas include regular or seasonal forest school camps, a childcare centre in the town, eco tourism including informative tours, tiny house building services, etc. There is also a lot of farm work for people on surrounding properties and professional opportunities for teachers, nurses, disability support workers, etc. There is fast internet, internet phone reception and plenty of workspace for those who can work online as Peta does.
One night there were some extra visitors and the group numbered eleven which brought a lot of energy. This moment showed how vibrant the place could be as an eco village with people of different ages all bringing their unique contributions. We spent time discussing the values, vision, possibilities, expectations, financial modelling and how to reach potential residents that would be a good fit. In our conversations, we recognised the challenge of being remote but this challenge is also an opportunity. The area already has an influx of people who are drawn by the unique beauty of the natural environment and so much potential for various businesses and community events with the benefit of privacy.
We are working with Peta and Jaiben on the details to see if an Eco Villages Australia community would work there. In the meantime, contact us if you would be interested in being an initial member of this fledgling community as one of the deciding factors would be whether or not there is interest from others. We also encourage people to get in touch if they have a property that might work for a community under the Eco Villages Australia model. Whether the property in the city, regional or rural area, any place really can work with the right people and a good foundation in participatory decision-making.