Recently we received a letter from Ian reminding us of why Wollangarra was built the way that it was. We think that these philosophies and values are so important that we wanted to share them with you.
“So why did we build it the way we did? Well,
(1) We wanted to take the kids back a generation or two, to the days before money took over almost everything. To a simpler time when expectations were less, and things like strong community, good honest toil and a sense of daily purpose were the cornerstones of bush life. So simple, traditional looking buildings seemed the appropriate way to go.
(2) It had to be as much re-cycled as possible. That was a rule we’d set ourselves. Hence the sleepers (they were also very plentiful and relatively cheap at the time!).
(3) We had a bit of a thing about using materials that were as long-lasting as possible. So we rejected plastic and nylon (even if it was recycled) wherever possible. We wanted Wollangarra to be devoid of throw-away junk, (even if it was recycled). Especially plastic!
(4) We chose that land because of its difficult access. We saw it as an asset, not a hassle. The only way to get there was by riding the fox or swimming! We wanted the kids to feel like they’d stepped out of a time machine when they stepped off the fox. Into a different world with a set of values & priorities that they’d mostly never thought much about before. The fox and the river provided a very effective break with the world they had temporarily left.
(5) We chose wood fired stuff wherever we could, mainly to show kids used to pressing buttons, just how much energy was required for even simple living. A day working in the woodshed was a great exercise in ‘cause & effect.’ Just like a visit to the long-drop dunny!
(6) We put a lot of thought into the layout of the place so that it looked really good. We wanted to make a stunning impression on all first-time visitors, kids, teachers, sponsors, locals, supporters, whatever. We wanted them to be impressed by what the kids had built. We went to great efforts to keep it all neat & tidy and looking like something we were all really proud of. ”