WHAT IS GULUDU? An indigenous Eco Cultural Centre, and a revolutionary prototype for living simply.
WHY? Through the development and construction of simple, affordable, and scalable housing, indigenous people can remain on their ancestral lands and keep a strong connection to their language and culture.
GULUDU is an Indigenous Eco Cultural Centre and a revolutionary prototype for living simply.
GULUDU will be home to Julia Smith, a generous teacher and a custodian of culture.
GULUDU means peaceful dove in Yidinji. Yidinji is one of the languages spoken in and around Yarrabah.
GULUDU do is all of this and more.
THIS PROJECT is not just about building a really sustainable house. It is also the first step of a very important process to inspire and motivate indigenous people, especially the youth, across the country. By providing a simple, affordable, and scalable solution to building and owning their own homes they can remain on their ancestral lands and keep their connection to language and culture strong. This is a modular design that can be adapted to suit the needs of the family with regard to size and purpose and resources.
This is a revolutionary approach to assisting self determination in clan groups who already have ownership of their land and who require, and deserve to have, some basic facilities in a form and fashion of their choosing. The modular pods can be built in stages which allow the owners to adapt them to their specific needs and living conditions.
GULUDU was developed after much consultation with Julia to offer her a way back onto her land so she can continue the important work she is doing with her dance group. The land at Kundjara faces the ocean with the bush behind and takes the full brunt of nature when it comes. The compact pods provide the simple comforts of home with minimal impact on the landscape. While the larger pod houses the main facilities, it’s the fire circle, sitting off to one side, that will most likely see the most action. Julia and her family made it clear that they spend a lot of time outside of the house and this is where they gather to cook and yarn and sing. It is important to her that this be part of the overall design.
YARRABAH is a town surrounded by rainforests and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, half an hour south of Cairns in Far North Queensland. This is the cultural home for the Lower Coastal Yidinji Clan for whom the connection to land and sea is everything. As with many indigenous groups across Australia, keeping culture strong is very important.
JULIA Smith’s commitment to culture is evidenced in her selfless nature expressed through her tireless and generous giving of energy, spirit and knowledge to the people of Yarrabah. Over the last ten years or more she has taken the Lower Coastal Yidinji performers from small local events to renowned indigenous festivals such as the Laura Festival and to Cape York to represent at the NPA Cultural Festival.
Her desire to teach the kids to be proud and expressive of their culture is relentless.
Why a revolutionary prototype for living simply?
The answer is simple. The planet can’t sustain the level of excess we as a species continue to extract from it. It is time to live simply so that others may simply live.
The oldest continuous living culture on the planet is our guiding light and inspiration for this concept. The indigenous peoples of Australia have made do with very little for over forty thousand years and we can learn a lot from them in this respect.
Suburban Australia has undergone an unprecedented gross development over the last forty years. It is time to pull back that expansion and remind ourselves that we need a whole let less than we want. We have enough resources to be comfortable right now but our complacency has lead us to exploiting and wasting them. It's time to truly explore new ideas. Let's lose the unnecessary judgemental descriptors from the language. The words “unusual”, “alternative”, and “unique” have to go. We must accept the diversity of design that suits our needs not our egos. If one bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen is all thats needed right now then that is fine but wouldn’t it make sense to design and build with the potential to adapt to change later if and when that happens? It makes sense financially, resourcefully, and energetically. That is what this project is all about. That is the challenge and GULUDU is going to be the first step in that direction. Dr Martin Freney has brought all his years of architecture, industrial design, and his passion for the concepts underlying Earthships to this project to overcome inertia and get some momentum.
Why Julia Smith?
Julia is one of those rare people that is often described as a quiet achiever, they fly under the radar, humble in the extreme. They are all very true descriptions of this wonderful woman but they don’t do justice to the tireless, indefatigable, relentless spirit that drives Julia to achieve all that she has. Julia's story is one of fortuitous escape. Through a combination of extraordinary circumstance Julia escaped the obvious future that greets so many indigenous kids in missions and communities across Australia. Not only did she take a chance on change she took a road much less travelled for many like her. For the last ten years Julia has worked as a PLO in Yarrabah. A Police Liaison Officer is not an easy job in an aboriginal community. It can test the integrity, the love and the familiar bonds of community to breaking point. While all that goes on Julia looks after her ageing and ever more fragile parents. She doesn’t stop there. Julia leads the Lower Coastal Yidinji dance group. A diverse group of kids, teenagers, and young adults who practice cultural dance and perform across the top end whenever they can. All this takes time, money, love, and above all else energy. As long as Julia has access to her traditional land she can recharge her energy levels and continue giving back to the community, the kids, the family. However, 5 years ago a cyclone levelled the house at Kundjara, their traditional land by the beach, and since then Julia has managed all this care taking from the family home in Yarrabah. Its time to give something back to Julia. GULUDU is that something. To offer Julia a little so that she can continue to give so much is the right thing to do. Julia says she is home when she is on her land at Kundjara and that is so important to keeping her and her culture strong.
THE PROJECT is broken into 3 stages.
Phase 1 is preparing the site for the modules, ground works, plumbing (sewerage treatment and water supply), construction of the outhouse, the main module with kitchen, bath and bedroom (module 1) and the fire circle.
Phase 2 is construction of Module 2, a small module that acts as a bedroom.
Phase 3 is constructing Module 3 and reparations to the site.
THE TIME: We estimate the Phase 1 construction stage to take 4-6 weeks starting mid August 2019. Earthship building workshops are scheduled through this first phase. Phase 2 commences early 2020, phase 3 and completion by mid 2020. The schedule is very flexible with regard to weather and finances.
THE MONEY: Phase 1 needs a total of $60,000 to complete. This assumes we pay for everything at wholesale rates. This includes the off grid solutions for water storage, Solar power generation, grey water treatment and the facility for the secondary phase to be interconnected to the shared utilities and resources. This covers the bulk of the ground work preparation and raw materials including the rammed earth tyre foundations. We hope to secure some solid sponsorship to reduce our capital costs and with a volunteer base of willing workers we can further reduce the cost of labour.
Phase 2 and Phase 3 have been budgeted at around $5,000 - $10,000 each. We hope that by the time we get to build phase 2 and phase 3 we have refined our model such that the costs are at a bare minimum.
THE PEOPLE :
Dr Martin Freney is the owner of Earthship Eco Homes a sustainable design consultancy inspired by Earthships http://www.earthshipecohomes.com.au/about.html . Martin is Australia’s foremost expert on Earthships and the creator of Australia’s first Council approved Earthship project, Earthship Ironbank http://www.earthshipironbank.com.au . He also lectures part time in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia https://people.unisa.edu.au/Martin.Freney .
Dianne Brooks is a Sydney based photographer who specialises in travel, music and events having been published throughout Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe. Dianne has found a niche in photojournalism with Australian indigenous culture. She also has a business background stretching over 35 years managing companies in media, property development, architecture and accounting and is a Director of EcoGuinea Foundation set up to help struggling communities in West Africa.
Scott Ferguson is a filmmaker with 35 years experience. Scott also a history of site management in major construction projects. Since 2007 Scott has founded, partnered and operated several international companies with a focus on innovation and development. Scott has worked with the indigenous issues and remote communities since 1988.
For families all across the top end an affordable house that they can own and build and understand without having to be a builder is a dream. By combining the principles of Earthships (self sufficient off grid systems for power, water and sewage; sustainable materials; and minimal energy and water needs) with Martin Freney’s modular design means more communities can be comfortable, secure and together in a shorter time for less money and with less reliance on expensive and wasteful conventional building techniques. Our vision is to establish these modular communal structures as the norm for development and remove the “unusual” tag that often accompanies an alternative approach to living. We see it is a prototype for affordable housing.
We need your support to realise this vision.
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