By Tim Dwyer and Anne-Marie Hoyne
We often get asked why we’re keen to live in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage. We lived in Witchy when our children were young and still have family at Redgate and close friends in the area. We love the Capes region, but it really comes down to the Ecovillage offering the best chance we’ve ever seen to have a go at community sufficiency. It’s the dream that took root in us through the combination of many experiences, together and apart.
“I was blessed to grow up in a family that loves nature. We lived a life of relative freedom by the ocean in Perth’s northern suburbs and often went down south for holidays. I loved having my grandparents living next door and my parents ran an open house, so my friends were always welcomed.
“There were eight of us in our house in the western suburbs of Perth. I grew up adventuring in the local parklands, at City Beach and in the city. Life revolved around the local Catholic church and school. Both my parents volunteered in various ways and us kids were expected to join in. Holidays were either in a shack at Quinns Rocks or up north camping on the Gascoyne and Ashburton rivers.
“As a young adult, I trained in youth work to do what I could to create positive change in the world. Discovering a talent for facilitation, I worked in various roles as a community-based facilitator-educator-trainer. After a few years travelling, working overseas and interstate, I returned to Perth to the WA Federation of Housing Collectives. I met Tim not long after moving back to Perth when I was re-imagining my life. His permaculture garden and down-to-earth approach fitted perfectly with my ideas of how human beings could be living.”
“After finishing school, I studied English and was part of various music scenes in Perth and Sydney. I worked, travelled and eventually found permaculture and Miles Durand. I followed him around for a few years and then got a job gardening in a remote Aboriginal community. Returning to Perth, I mixed my permaculture experience with what I’d learned about community in Tjirrkali to set up my house in Mt Hawthorn as a PC drop-in centre. The most important person to drop in was Anne-Marie. I also submitted evidence of what I was doing to the PC Institute and got a Diploma in Community Development.
“On our honeymoon, we WWOOFed in the west of Ireland, experiencing the delights of old-fashioned village life. We brought home with us the dream to be part of a village where we would raise our soon-to-be born first child.
“We made the move south to Nannup in 1994 with a co-operative that ran an eco-backpackers. We also lived with Anne-Marie’s parents in Pemberton and experienced the benefits of extended family living. By 1995, we decided to live closer to the ocean and ended up settling in Witchcliffe. The peak experience of this was having our second child born at home in Mammoth Street, supported by our friends and family.
“While living in Witchy, we were part of the Nyindamurra Family School community and immersed ourselves in regional initiatives like LETS, the Organic Garden and Re-evaluation Counselling. I worked alongside various organic farmers and taught permaculture at TAFE. Many WWOOFers called our place home in those years. We also joined the Great Walk Network, going bushwalking in the South West and honing our community skills along the way.
“In 2003, we shifted back to Perth to be close to our elderly relatives. We lived in Wembley with Anne-Marie’s parents and became pro-active members of the Bold Park Community School while our children were there. I was the maintenance officer at the school for eight years and, as the school grew rapidly, I moved on to become a music facilitator at Catch Music. I’ve been a leader in the Perth men’s movement and expanded my walking interests with the guidance of Noongar elder Noel Nannup.”
“After completing several training courses, I created my home-based business as a life coach, facilitator and celebrant. Over the past twelve years I’ve worked with women, couples, families and community groups facilitating safe, nurturing, creative spaces where learning, healing and transformation can occur. I love my work and I’m really looking forward to offering it in Witchcliffe.”
Next stop: the Witchcliffe Ecovillage
When we heard there was an ecovillage being planned for Witchcliffe, we couldn’t believe our luck! We were excited to sit in that first public meeting at the Witchy Hall and we’ve been avid supporters of the project ever since. It’s been a long time in the designing, planning and approval process and we’re in awe of the team’s perseverance. We’re also deeply grateful for all the work that has been done so far.
This year, we’re spending more time in Witchy, beginning the transition to move back. We’re very keen to be part of the pioneering group of first residents and committed to bringing our well-honed listening skills, community-building experience and creative talents to the village. We’re really looking forward to building a sustainable dwelling, working in the community garden, playing music and singing around the fire under the stars. Bring it on!