Almost two decades ago, Lyndall Parris had her big idea.
“Two of my friends’ husbands died, leaving them to continue bringing up their two teenagers alone. I just started thinking: this is crazy. I can’t help them much, they’re living in different places. If we were living together in a village, wouldn’t it be easier?” she recalls.
Parris began researching alternative ways of living. She did a Tafe course “to find out what the hell a website was”, built a page, and began connecting with like-minded souls online. In 2012, 24 of them pooled their money to buy a 68-hectare plot of land outside Gosford on the New South Wales Central Coast. In 2019, the first residents moved in. They called it Narara Ecovillage.
Today, Narara is home to 250 people who share lives and front yards. Residents come together for potluck dinners and movie nights, run their own school holiday program, hold community meetings and resolve disputes using a method called “sociocracy”, where agreement on matters is reached via listening circles. Adults commit at least 52 hours a year to work bee tasks that contribute to the upkeep of their property or the bonds of their community, be that dusting cobwebs off their town hall or leading tai chi classes in the morning. It’s a place where going to get a morning coffee can take an hour if you run into anyone along the way. Because as Parris describes it, “Nobody comes here if they don’t want to say hello to their neighbors.”
Click here to read her story.