50th anniversary of intentional community

Mr Morris at Smart Energy Lab. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

Moora Moora Co-Operative Community is inviting people to its 50th anniversary open day.

The open day event is to celebrate the 50th year of the community living on renewable energy by using solar, wind and micro-hydro without grid connection.

Moora Moora Co-Operative Community is an intentional community living on top of Mount Toolebewong.

The community started in 1974 with 12 families who were originally from Melbourne and wanted to start a rural community.

Moora Moora Co-Operative Community Smart Energy Lab owner Glen Morris said there are 30 homes with 70 people now in the community.

“The property is 245 hectares, of which half of it, we donated to the Trust for Nature which works for forests and nature,” he said.

“The other half of it, we lived in and we have various things including cattle, a horticultural area and a community building.

“We used to have a school here but it got too small to get government funding, so it closed probably about 25 years ago and now that’s just a teaching space or event space called the Octagon.”

Mr Morris runs a business, teaching and communicating about renewable energy.

“It’s mostly for electricians, electrical engineers and electrical inspectors about how to install solar battery systems,” he said.

The whole property in Moora Moora is off-grid and Mr Morris oversees all power systems in the community with two more electricians.

“It’s never been connected to the utility grid. We make our own power and store it,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Morris came to Moora Moora about 23 years ago

“One of the reasons I joined the Co-Op with my ex-partner was to raise kids because it’s a great place for kids to grow in a natural environment with lots of interconnection with other people in the Co-Operative.

“It’s almost like you’ve got 30 sets of parents because everyone’s looking out for your kids.”

Moora Moora has a rigorous membership process which takes about one or two years to become a member.

“Then you buy a share in the Co-Operative, so we own the property together,” Mr Morris said.

The open day is from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 27 April for free.

“There’ll be some talks about the history of renewable energy here from some of the early members and how things have changed in a way it reflects how sustainability has become more achievable because of reduced cost of things like solar panels,” Mr Morris said.

Anyone interested is encouraged to turn up on the day without pre-booking.

The location is 109 Moora Road, Mount Toolebewong.