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Last Updated
30 April 2003

Crystal Waters - An Introduction

EcoLogical Solutions is based at Crystal Waters Permaculture Village - a leading-edge centre for sustainability. This village, established in 1989, is home to 200 permanent residents and abundant wildlife.

Attending a residential course at Crystal Waters will allow you to experience a sense of community and a connection with the natural environment. It is one of the first villages in the world designed using the principles of Permaculture and offers guidance for future planning and design of sustainable human settlements.

Crystal Waters received the United Nations World Habitat Award in 1995 for its 'pioneering ways in demonstrating new low impact and sustainable ways of living' and has been listed in the top 40 of the UN Best Practices database.

Crystal Waters fills your senses with the natural world. As soon as you arrive, clean air fills your lungs, and the scent of the blossoms is a pure delight. Here, nestled within the beautiful Mary River valley, nature is abundant. Crystal Waters is a wildlife sanctuary - a decision by residents to not keep cats and dogs means that kangaroos are a common sight. One is surrounded by a constant chorus of birdsong, and the sounds of nature here need to be heard to be believed! Mountain ranges, cloaked in native forests, frame the rural valley. At night time the clear star-filled sky comes down to meet you. The forests feed the rivers and creeks which border most of Crystal Waters with clear fresh water. If you sit quietly beside the babbling creek you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an extraordinary and shy native animal - the platypus.

All year round you can feast on fresh abundant subtropical fruits and the chemical-free produce. Take time to reflect and connect with nature. Explore the wilderness and discover the special sites - the sacred places. The ripples and reflections of the many lakes speckled with water lilies invite peaceful and quiet contemplation.

Crystal Waters is a living and learning centre where we balance the theoretical, technical, philosophical, practical and personal learning. Our approach places emphasis on experiential and participatory modes of inquiry. Practical learning of this nature is not something you ever forget - we call it ‘muscle memory'.

PERMACULTURE VILLAGE DESIGN
The first village in the world to be consciously designed using the principles of Permaculture.

ECOLOGICALLY DESIGNED HOUSING
Neighbourhood clusters, healthy building materials and local timber, natural points and finishes, rammed earth, strawbale, timber, recycled materials, mudbrick domes, poured earth.

ENERGY CONSERVATION
Solar passive design, low energy bulbs, solar power, cogeneration, reduced energy consumption patterns, design for good insulation and ventilation, waste management.

APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATIONS
Possibly the largest collection of operational composting toilets in the world, greywater treatment systems, solar power systems, cogeneration, quantum heat pumps, solar hot water heating, solar drier, solar cooker, internet and email, Centel phone system (free calls within Crystal Waters), webpage designers and managers.

INFRASTRUCTURE
Reduced road pavement and drainage back to land, common trenching for services to lots, reticulated water system from creek, multi-functional dam design.

CLEAN WATER
Rainwater collection, clean natural drinking water, domestic water recycling, flowforms, natural swimming pool, swimming dams and creek water holes.

ABUNDANT WILDLIFE
Kangaroos, wallabies, platypus, antechinus, bandicoots, echidna, possums, phoscogale, bats, sugargliders, 26+ frog species, 160+ bird species (some rare), snakes, fish, 17 wildlife dams - some with island refuges, bird and bat boxes, no cats or dogs.

FORESTS
Native forest protection and restoration, woodlots, fire retardant species, community tree planting projects, riparian zone restoration, wildlife corridors to close-by national parks and state forests, habitat restoration, revegetation using endemic species, environmental weed management.

HOLISTIC HEALTH CARE
Yoga, meditation, naturopathy, acupuncture, massage, watsu, aikido, sound therapy, gestalt therapy, Bowen technique, kinesiology, feldenkrais.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY & COMMUNITY INTERACTION
16 nationalities, ages range from newborns - 90 years, film nights, music evenings, community cafe, community celebrations, rituals, play group, share and care group, inclusive decision-making processes, discussion groups.

VISITOR ACCOMMODATION
Guesthouse, bed and breakfast, self-contained cabins, homestays, bunkhouse cabin, camping.

RECREATION AND SPORTS
Swimming in natural swimming holes and dams, enjoying the peace and quiet, reading, painting, photography, cycling, mountain-biking, BMX track, canoeing, volleyball, running, fishing, feeding animals, bushwalking, gardening, tree planting, circle dancing, belly-dancing, yoga, aikido, bird-watching, stargazing, body percussion, drums and percussion, music groups, choir, healthy cooking (and eating shared meals).

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE & LOCAL ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCTION
Polyculture, chemical-free Permaculture gardens, herbs and flowers, plant propagation, seed saving, raised garden beds, mandala gardens, mulching, compost heaps, worm forms, natural fertilisers, animal forage systems, chicken tractors, free range chickens, organic eggs, organic beef cattle, organic wool production, goats, alpacas, beehives and honey, bamboo farm, aquaculture farm, certified organic fruit and nut orchards, agroforestry, edible water plants, bush tucker, food forests, soil and posture improvement, cell grazing, zone and sector planning, green mulches and cover crops, groundcovers, pioneer species, intercropping, natural pest management, swales, weather station.

ECO-EDUCATION
International university student programs, ecovillage design courses, intemships, Permaculture courses and workshops, Permaculture camps for high schools, international ecological studies program, educational tours, hands-on Permaculture workshops, natural health workshops, ecovillage expos, conferences, public lectures and more.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES
Community house and meeting rooms, rural fire brigade, picnic hut, information centre, training centre, EcoCentre, community cafe, commercial kitchen, bulk food buying group, function room, BBQ, activities room.

ORGANISATIONS
GENOA lnc, Crystal Waters Community Co-op Ltd, Crystal Waters Body Corporate, Crystal Waters Community Living Association lnc, Royong Group, Crystal Water Bush Fire Brigade.

LOCAL ENTERPRISES
Ecovillage design consultancy, sustainable design consultancy, Permaculture gardeners, eco-adventure tours, biodynamic dairy, biodynamic cheesery, organic garden supplies, mail order businesses, tree nursery, farm foresters, natural cosmetics, leatherwork, silk painting, marbling, painting, lead lighting, thatching, soap making, jewellery design, organic produce, bicycle hire, weaving, sewing, woodworkers, builders and carpenters, natural therapies and more...

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS
Connected to the local region Local Energy Transfer System (LETS) and community credit union, ethical investment, local employment policy.

Further information on Crystal Waters can be found on the co-operative website:
http://www.ecologicalsolutions.com.au/crystalwaters/index.html

© Ecological Solutions 2002