The Witchcliffe Ecovillage developers have been in partnership for 18 years now. Stan Perron backed Mike Hulme with his first large project and after which offered Mike a 50:50 partnership on future projects. Mike Hulme brings a complete focus on sustainable residential development, whilst Mr Perron and his loyal team at the Perron Group bring a wealth of experience and knowledge in all property related matters. The partnership is able to fund their projects without external bank involvement, which is a big part of why they are able to be as pioneering as they are.
Sustainable Settlements Pty Ltd
Sustainable Settlements Pty Ltd is a company owned by the Sheridan-Hulme Family Trust and directed by Mike Hulme. The sole purpose of this company is to design and develop sustainable human settlements. The Witchcliffe Ecovillage is the first model of just how sustainable our regional human settlements can be. Due to the complexity and huge amount of thought and effort required to plan and construct such a project, the company is only interested in focusing on one project at a time. Sustainable Settlements Pty Ltd is also the project manager of the planning, construction and marketing of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage.
The Perron Group
The Perron Group is a substantial, diversified private investment group with an extensive portfolio of commercial properties, land development activities, an automotive distribution business, interests in mining and other investment activities.
The Perron Group has a strong commitment to sustainable practices with early adoption of green energy use, water harvesting, and recycling activities through its network of shopping centres and office buildings.
The development of new headquarter facilities for its automotive business, the State distributorship for Toyota automotive products, provided the opportunity to combine many sustainable features with an exciting architectural presentation.
The Toyota WA building at Miles Road, Kewdale is designed to Five Star Green Star rating and incorporates black water recycling of waste water, 30 kilowatt capacity of electricity generation with a combined use of roof mounted photovoltaics and external wind turbines, passive solar design features and extensive use of recycled Wandoo timber used as feature flooring and wall cladding.
A large graphic display in the lobby shows real time power generation plus energy and water usage to enable the occupants to adjust their behaviour to optimise efficiency.
The building has received several awards for its architectural merit, sustainable features and efficient operation.
The Perron Group is proud to be a partner in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage.
Ross Robertson (CEO) Stan Perron (Chairman) Ian Armstrong (Executive Director)
Mike has been passionate town planning since he was a teenager, spending most of his spare time in his adolescence riding his bike around the western suburbs of Perth, from Claremont to South Fremantle, exploring streets, landscapes and architecture; he was fascinated from an early age with how the suburbs sat within the natural environment and how the layout of the streets and suburbs impacted the social interactions within the local community.
Whilst studying Environmental Science at Murdoch Uni, Mike was introduced to Permaculture and did a Permaculture Design Certificate in 1993. The PDC inspired Mike to completely change his life and focus, and soon after completing the course he bought a 50% share in the North Fremantle Permaculture Centre. He and his business partner expanded the Centre, which included a nursery offering a wide range of productive plants, heritage seeds, books, composts, etc, to include offices for professionals in solar architecture, renewable energy and environmental pest control for households. The Centre regularly hosted courses on Permaculture and organic gardening, and this is where he met his partner, Michelle Sheridan. Together they went on to found the not for profit group Sustaining Settlements Inc, and established the Fremantle Community Garden Centre, on Montreal St, Fremantle.
During this period, Mike travelled to Northern NSW to do a course on Sustainable Human Settlement Design and Development, with Robyn Frances and Peter Cuming. He had been looking for a way of marrying his passion for human settlements and the environment, and this course laid the foundation for the next 20 years of focus on designing and developing sustainable human settlements.
Mike put his first large residential development together in 1998 and was fortunate to gain support of the highly respected Perth businessman Stan Perron. Together with the Perron Group, he has initiated several large projects including the South Beach Village, which Mike was very disappointed not to be able to complete, followed by the highly successful Old Broome Estate, for which they won the 2005 Urban Development Institute of Australia Judge’s Award. In 2007, Mike was appointed to the board of the West Australian Planning Commission, for three years, by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan, to influence sustainable development policy at a State level.
Mike and his partner Michelle, and their two girls, Amala and Maia, moved to Margaret River in 2007 to fulfill their dream of raising their children in the country, in a beautiful environment, with a high level of self sufficiency. They are now basically self sufficient in energy, water, veggies, eggs, milk, and a lot of their own fruit. But their dream of designing and building a beautiful, productive and sustainable community, that was affordable for the average person/household, was still their goal.
Mike identified Witchcliffe as a highly suitable location to build such a village back in 1995, and when Cape Mentelle decided to sell their organic vineyard abutting the township, the opportunity was too good to resist, so with the support of his partner, Mr Perron, they purchased the farm in 2010. After gaining Council and WAPC support to include Mike’s vision for a highly sustainable ecovillage, in both the Witchcliffe Village Strategy and Augusta Margaret River’s Local Planning Strategy in 2014, they bought the adjoining farms, to enable them to build his most ambitious project to date, the Witchcliffe Ecovillage, a project that is set to become a national model of just how sustainable our regional human settlements can be.
Michelle grew up in a tiny drought stricken town in the WA wheat belt, and fell in love with the tall trees and green vistas of the Margaret River region on her first visit here as a teenager. As a child, she tended a small garden of her own, and was surrounded by her family’s menagerie of pets, farm animals, and rescued wildlife, instilling a lifelong passion for raising animals, gardening, and conservation.
Michelle met her partner Mike Hulme when she attended a Permaculture Design Course at his North Fremantle Permaculture Centre, and together they have lived a life devoted to the dream of creating sustainable human settlements—along the way raising 3 beautiful children. Living between Fremantle and Cottesloe, they have always lived as sustainably as they could in an urban environment, growing food in backyards, raising chickens and retrofitting their houses to use less power and water. They made their tree change move to Margaret River in 2007 with their 2 youngest children in an attempt to live a simpler, more sustainable life. While settling into country life, Michelle volunteered as a wildlife carer, raising orphan and injured possums for 5 years, and spent 2 years on the board of the Margaret River Montessori Primary School, and 4 years as the school’s voluntary librarian.
With a degree in Communication and Cultural Studies, and a passionate interest in sustainable living, social justice, organic gardening and animal husbandry, Michelle contributes her research and writing skills to the Witchcliffe Ecovillage team.
In her spare time, Michelle tends an organic kitchen garden and milks a small flock of Anglo Nubian goats.
Wayne’s role as Project Engineer at Sustainable Settlements involves planning, design and project delivery of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage including water, movement and landscape elements.
He has experience delivering major projects within the region, including Augusta Boat Harbour, Surfers Point Precinct redevelopment, Margaret River Town Centre redevelopment and the Augusta Margaret River Shire Administration offices in Margaret River.
He was previously the Director of Infrastructure at the Shire of Augusta - Margaret River where he led the transport, water, environment and parks programs. He initiated the introduction of Water Sensitive Urban design at the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and delivered projects including the Margaret River Rain Garden, Margaret River Water Recycling and planning for decentralised water recycling at Gracetown and Witchcliffe.
In 2010 Wayne was awarded the Water Professional of the Year at the Western Australia State Water Awards recognising achievements in water recycling, urban water management and promotion of water sensitive urban design.
He has over 20 years professional engineering experience in planning, design, project management and asset management of civil infrastructure and has worked in Local Government in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
He has a personal interest in sustainable energy technologies and has built several electric cars and competed in the Western Australian EV Challenge. His interests and accomplishments also include expanding his edible garden, oak forest and bamboo grove, building a house and making the largest siege engine in Australia.
Marketing and Public Relations
From an early age Jay was heavily influenced by his mother and grandfather in the garden and by his father in building design. These interests led him to purchase his own little slice of heaven in Victoria. Turning this 33 acres property into his own permaculture farm was an ambitious task for someone working full time in the advertising industry.
Most of Jays career thus far has been spent working as marketing and communications managers in Melbourne, Geelong and Perth. He has been responsible for National Campaigns including TV, Radio, Web and all printed mediums.
On a holiday down south Jay met his now wife Bec, who owned and operated Qi Radiance as an Acupuncturist and Naturopath. Jay, Bec and their daughter Jasmyn now live on a 90 acre property 100% off grid and plan on moving to the ecovillage as soon as possible.
When he is not dreaming of his next house design or working on the farm you can find jay paddling his kayak, riding his mt bike or his absolute favourite carving fresh lines in the snow.
James and his wife Amanda decided to make the move to Margaret River as a lifestyle decision in 2012. James had visited family in the area in 2010 and the region had left a lasting impression. Shortly after arrival James joined a local landscape architecture and environmental sciences consulting firm. During the preceding 5 years he gained valuable knowledge of the regions architecture, materiality, culture, history and native plant species.
Prior to living in Margaret River James completed his studies of Landscape Architecture in 2007 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. James has been involved in projects located in several regions of New Zealand before transitioning to Queensland and now Western Australia. He has taken the time to travel North America, India, several pacific islands, parts of Indonesia, and South East Asia gaining valuable insight to culture and landscape architecture. James became a registered Landscape Architect with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects in 2016.
James shares the passion of moving towards a higher level of sustainability in our day-to-day lives and is passionate about exploring these sustainability methods throughout the Eco Village project. It is hoped this is reflected in their home and landscape that James and Amanda have designed and is now under construction.
When outside of work James enjoys exploring our region by walking, hiking, cycling and mountain biking.
Michael & Britta Sorensen
Michael & Britta have lived and worked in the Margaret River region for the last 21 years. Prior to that they worked together in architecture & design in Northern Europe. Here in Margaret River they have designed commercial and residential buildings from Perth to Walpole with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability.
Michael has been an independent self-employed architect for many decades, Britta is an artist, designer, horticulturalist & landscape designer. Michael & Britta have worked together in architecture & design since they married in Germany in 1991.
While living in the Margaret River region they have also designed, built & operated their own tourism business, established large productive gardens and had a local market stall with fresh produce, pickles & preserves.
Everything they do is part of a greater integrated aim to live sustainably, for example, they use their own designed & built home and garden as an educational showcase and regularly open it to the public. They grow most of their own food all year round and aim to foster neighbourhood and community relationships through sharing, swapping and enjoying good times together. Britta’s other passion is contemporary artwork. She works mainly with textiles, focusing on recycled materials.
For their current home, Michael received an Australian Institute of Architects (WA chapter) award for Sustainable Architecture.
PB trained and qualified in Horticulture at Adelaide Botanical Gardens over 40 years ago and has been actively involved with horticulture ever since. He has run his own landscaping and garden maintainence business as well as commercial pruning and chipping, setting up a permaculture nursery and consultation.
He has always worked with a passion in organic methods of horticulture and embraced Permaculture in 1988 when he undertook a consultant design course. For the next 10 years he ran many Permaculture Design Courses in and around the Fremantle area including Murdoch Uni, Bentley TAFE, Apace and North Fremanle Permaculture Centre.
Since moving to Margaret River in 1997, PB has extended his interests widely to include Biodynamic agriculture and practises. He has created his own garden to be self sufficent in fruit and vegies. For the past 16 years he has worked at Cape Mentelle Vineyard taking care of the grounds and biological waste water treatment which he instigated and set up.
We would like to thank the following people and companies for their assistance and input over the past six years:
The late Director of Planning at the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Geoff Broad. Geoff was so supportive of our proposal to build an ecovillage in Witchcliffe, right from the outset. He was a wonderful man and a great town planner who was also responsible for the excellent Hamlet Design Guidelines that he worked tirelessly to complete and have endorsed by Council, in an effort to ensure that the future growth of Margaret River wasn't more mundane urban sprawl.
Luke Petersen who was our project engineer for the first few years, for his consistent assistance and advice over the whole six years.
Brett Leighton, Leighton Drafting, for his patience and excellent drafting of countless numbers of plans to get to where we are today.
Nic Bowen-Sant, Bowen-Sant Design, for creating our wonderful logo.
TME - in particular Kim Muste, Steve Brake and Wayne Edgeloe for their assistance with our early feasibility and planning strategies.
Malcolm and Munira Mackay, Mackay Urban Design, for their invaluable design advice with the overall village layout.
Josh Byrne, Josh Byrne and Associates, for his assistance during the community presentations and overall commitment and passion for the project.
Tom Dowling, Tom Dowling Architecture, for his input into our design guidelines, which is still a work in progress, and his passion for the project.
Garry Baverstock, Ecotect Architects, for his huge support, both personally and professionally, for all projects that Mike has undertaken.
Dr Martin Anda for his advice on the various waste water treatment options that we have explored and consistent enthusiasm for the project.
Adrian Fini for his generous advice and encouragement.
Greg Rowe, Rowe Group, for his excellent statutory planning advice, particularly with regards to the proposed new Community Title Strata Scheme.
Ron Accott, Strata Title Consultancy Service, for his wealth of knowledge on all matters relating to strata by-laws and management!
Pamela Forward for the use of photos of the beautiful home she designed and built in Ashton St, Margaret River. A home that truly captures the essence of Margaret River.
Peter and Jenny Griffyn, from Cloudpress, for their invaluable assistance and advice during the creation of our website.