Preparation

A series of pivotal life events have led to the founder becoming increasingly aware of her part in the web of life and destruction on this planet. The consequences of our combined actions are leading the world into a state of no longer being able to support life. This includes the destruction of the environment, breakdown of family support networks and loss of connection of humans with the natural environment. The return of the forests would be instrumental in slowing or even reversing climate change. Living in smaller self reliant communities could be a solution to the growing isolation and disempowered life of many. Working on and with the land builds awareness of our inherent connection with all nature.

She realised that the only way to create effective change was to change her own lifestyle and to work towards the world she wants for her great great grandchildren. This led to her wish to be involved in ‘growing trees to grow people’ but she wasn’t sure where this would be.

Initiation Phase Timeline - July - August 2016

Joy during cycle tour
Joy during cycle tour

A ‘knowing’ that Queensland was the intended place happened during a vision quest cycle ride from Munich to Rome. It emerged out of a place of stillness after letting go of all expectations and demands and allowing for the unknowing and therefore wisdom to emerge. It was a moment of personal realisation for the founder. Immediately syncronicities started to occur as she began the process of reaching out with her project idea, to start gathering information and building a supporting network.

September - November 2016

Lots of consultation both face to face and via email helped redefine and consolidate the idea for Peace Valley and Joy arrived in Australia at the beginning of November. Many Thanks to the following who were very supportive during this time: Ivan Davison ‘Freshtrack Systems’ Susan Savage ‘Killarney Bushcare’ Kieth Murray ‘Cambanoora Gorge Management Group’ Alan Davison ‘Greenacorn’ Alan Watson Featherstone ‘Trees for Life’ Andy Egan ‘International Tree Fund’ and Joey Walters ‘Awakening Feminine Leaders’

December 2016 - February 2017

Bindarrabi Logo
Bindarrabi Logo

Further exploration of ideas, building of networks and on the ground exploration over the summer led to the decision to situate the basecamp for the pilot project at Bindarrabi Community, NSW. Initial enquiries about funding through grants suggest future funding is likely once the project is operational. Many thanks to Susan and Clive Savage who allowed me to live with them over these months and to the Bindarrabi Community for agreeing to support this project.

March 2017 - August 2017

March marked the arrival at Bindarrabi and initial work on building a basecamp, further work on increasing an internet presence through Facebook and getting people on board. In June the first volunteers arrived and loved their experience. During July a refinement of the basecamp occurred with improved drainage, putting in a raised pallet floor and rearranging the water collection. First steps have been taken to set up a legal structure, begin marketing, and enable donations from supporters. A compost heap was started and the first steps to creating a productive vegetable garden made.

September 2017

This month saw the delivery of a 20ft container for use as both office and storeroom and installation of a satellite internet connection at the camp. Also Joy attended the NENA (New Economy Network for Australia) conference in Brisbane and a small meditation retreat was held at Peace Valley in collaboration with Caresse Cranwell, Ecollaborations. 

Opossum in tree at night
Opossum in tree at night

A Yurt was found and collected to mark the start of more permanent housing at the camp. An opossum caused disruption both within and outside the camp. This led to the need to obtain more closed in furniture for the kitchen and begin building protection for the garden. Following on from this the garden has been enlarged, spring crops sewn and planted, and the floor in the kitchen area improved.  A new food safe water container was obtained to increase storage capacity for drinking water. 

Over the month a few volunteers have visited and the first enquiries about long term volunteering were obtained. Bindarrabi members have continued to support and assist with the development of the project, including mowing a larger area of grass as a fire break for the camp.

 

October and November 2017

This has been a time of spreading the word about Peace Valley with a trip around the Gold Coast down to Byron Bay and back through Lismore and Kyogle. The website was completed and uploaded but with more information to be added over time. Constant improvements are being made around the camp, the vegetable garden is growing and thriving with some soil improvements both in terms of missing minerals, acidity and strength. We began working on clearing and building a meditation seat at a naturally occuring rhylite rock spiral here at Bindarrabi. Over the last weeks the first longer term volunteers were here and lots of jobs were completed. Peace Valley is now up on the Workaway site as a means of connecting with travellers who may enjoy a visit to the bush. Also Instagram is now being used via #peacevalleyau. A time of reaching out and making connections and settling into the flow of life at Peace Valley.

 

December 2017 and January 2018

Yurt
Yurt

During the first two weeks of December Peace Valley Camp closed for family time abroad. Then Christine, the next long term volunteer, arrived for an eventful short month. It was a time of big storms, heat and noise. The cicadas were out in full numbers as they emerged from the ground to mate. Many frogs started singing after each rain episode as they too searched for their mates! Despite the above we accomplished much, made signs for the garden, finished the yurt floor and erected the frame and canvas. We enjoyed a community time for both Christmas and New Year when we joined the Bindarrabi Community for the celebrations. During this time we also enjoyed some sightseeing in the local area and down time during the intense heat for just chatting, reading and sleeping. The last weekend in January has been fun working in the garden and erecting the shade frame with Susanne. 

February 2018 to April 2018

Peace Valley camp looking east
Peace Valley camp looking east

These months have been a time of further consolidation of the project with improvements at camp, networking locally and internationally. Peace Valley has reached out to the Boonah Community Garden, Boonah Organisation for a Sustainable Shire, Turnstyle Community Hub in Brisbane and the local Githabul Rangers in Kyogle. The first steps to creating a native edible forest garden which is dedicated to TreeSisters have been made. A very successful weekend was spent planting the first trees. Several enquiries about volunteering/visiting have been made both from local Australians and travellers. Collaboration with Killarney Bushcare and the CGMG is ongoing. Crowd funding is currently being organised to assist in further development.