Episode 2 | Aldinga Arts EcoVillage

Our guide in Aldinga Arts EcoVillage, Lynda McCarty.

In this week’s episode we’re off to Aldinga Beach, just south of Adelaide. We meet Lynda McCarty who shows us around Aldinga Arts EcoVillage. We are introduced to Elizabeth Heij who takes on a quick tour of her passive solar house and reflects on life in the village.

This intentional community is an example of a sustainable lifestyle in modern rural settings. The community has been forming since the 1980s, but the building stage has only been going for about ten years. Their goal is to be entirely self-sustained by 2020.

See our photos from Aldinga Arts EcoVillage here.

Lynda tells us the idea for the community came from a group of artists in their 60s. Dreading the idea of retiring in an age-care facility, the group were looking to get some people and some property together, so they could be inspired to continue to paint, or sculpture, or whatever their art or crafts were. In the 90s, the artists were joined by a group of permaculture people and visionary architect John Maitland of Adelaide’s Energy Architecture, whose expertise is in designing and building energy-efficient houses. The dream slowly became reality.

Building materials are piled up everywhere. Everything around us is made by the community, for the community. Although the process of building the village and the community has been somewhat slower than they initially thought and hoped for, the villagers are proud of what they have achieved so far.

The development and design of the village is based on permaculture principles. Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed the science behind permaculture in the 70s, and it has become a growing worldwide movement. Very briefly the concept aims to create long-term sustainable human dwellings designed on the premises of the surrounding natural landscape – by caring for the earth, caring for people, and creating a surplus that is fed back to the first two principles. To quote Bill Mollison: “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”

For more information about permaculture, please check out these resources:

David Holmgren’s source of permaculture vision and innovation

Permaculture Research Centre of Australia

Tagari Publications (publisher of Bill Mollison’s influential Permaculture: A designer’s manual)

Permaculture, a beginner’s Guide




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