Heather Bray

Bulga Forest, NSW, Australia

Hi from Bulga Forest in NSW, where we have already had catastrophic drought and bushfires through our 1000 acres in November and now join everyone countrywide in the pandemic crisis.

I'd just like to say that my first Biology lecture at Monash (Clayton) in 1968 was by Professor Canny of the Botany Department and was a thorough preview of the inevitability of a global pandemic and its projected spread and ramifications for our consumer culture! I took it to heart and on graduating with honours in Zoology and a Diploma of Education in 1972 it took me only a few years to find land and begin a voluntary career of sustainable living.

The first house took six weeks to build, using recycled materials from previous logging and cost $200, including a combustion stove and hot water. We lived there for four years while building the permanent house at a cost of $12,000 (no building experience but good family advice and a bit of help).

As we were off grid we began with a mosaic of small solar panels, now upgraded to 2.2kw which runs computer, fridge, freezer and TV.

The location being on rocky ridge country with sparse soil, I began to compost slashed grass and cow poo mostly and now have a big caged vegetable garden, fruit orchard and swales of edibles like nuts, bamboo, olives and bush tucker trees.

I've raised three kids to happiness and success in a diversity of fields; entertained loads of curious helping visitors from many parts of the world and am surrounded by a close and caring rural community.

As to the coronaviras pandemic which has finally emerged as predicted all those years ago.... well we up here, have been almost non affected. Still gardening, still hosting helpers (with appropriate quarantine and social distancing) and feeling empathy for those in urban lives.

I'm glad to read that living sustainably is on your teaching agenda now and thoroughly recommend it to all. We have a YouTube video called ‘Winmurra Sustainable Living’ for those who'd like to know more and I'm a host on the helpx, wwoof and workaway networks for those wanting first-hand experience.

Cheers, Heather Bray (nee Craven)