Late in 2000, three friends (Brenda Conochie, Rob Gulley and Rachael Roberts) decided a shopfront community environment centre was needed in Perth - a campaign centre and eco-products store to support the community's efforts to live in a way that respects our environment and future generations. We gathered others to form a community association for this purpose. With underwriting by the ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation), we leased a former fish & chip shop plus house and backyard, in the heart of Maylands, only 150m from the train station, and 8 minutes from the city. Generous well-wishers helped with the private commercial rent, and the first furnishings and office equipment. We had a big launch party in March 2001, with guests of honour Peter Garrett (then Midnight Oil front man), Judy Edwards (then Minister for the Environment) and a Noongar elder who has since passed away.
From 2002-mid 2004, funding from WA's SEDO (Sustainable Energy Development Office) & the AGO (Australian Greenhouse Office's) Cool Communities program helped us retrofit the shop and house - and for a series of workshops on energy efficiency, which was to become our main focus.
From seed we collected along the river, we grew thousands of she-oaks, paperbarks and rushes, and planted them out on the eroded Maylands foreshore. We composted tonnes of scraps from the Fruit&Veg just down the lane. We've taught composting, wormfarming and bokashi to hundreds of folks, we hosted teaching students; and gave talks to hundreds of community groups on sustainable living.
In May 2009, priced out of Eighth Ave, we moved camp to 125 King William Street, Bayswater, thanks to a generous offer from the City of Bayswater. We are now in a nice little house with a great native front garden beside the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary and Riverside Gardens in Bayswater.
We've established a thriving organic backyard food garden, thanks to permaculture gardeners Harry Wykman and Bonnie Wykman. Our volunteers now keep the garden going.
We've built up (and up!) our home and workplace energy and water auditing program and now have energy and water saving advisors working with us. We are visiting schools on request to provide sustainability services. We're pleased to have helped Maylands Peninsula, Hillcrest and Ashfield Primary Schools with energy and water audits.
We play our part in Perth's colourful climate rallies. You've probably seen our great plastic windmills on TV quite a few times; they spin like mad for TV cameras in the St George's Tce wind-tunnel and other settings. We also set up our nice green tent (thanks, Lotterywest!) at quite a few fairs, fetes and festivals around the metro area and beyond.
Combine a visit here with a refreshing 20 minute walk around the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary next door.