The creation of a Faerie Sanctuary here in Australia has been a dream, for many years, of those having experienced the bonds created during the initial visits to the US in 1979/80 and the first gatherings in Australia in the early 80s and also the ongoing relationships within the faerie community. This dream of having a home to share our lives together as faeries has become a reality after lots of hard work, many meetings and much fey magic.
As a community we identify with the ideals of the radical faeries- that this piece of the earth is a focus for and provides sanctuary for its residents who are stewards of that land and members of the extended community of radical faeries, their friends and family. We moved onto the property in April 2002, and since then have been busy fixing-up and adding to accommodation, clearing weeds and planting gardens, orchards and rainforest. At times it feels like there is a mountain of things to do but we are balancing work with enjoying the beauty and magic of it all. Phase, Teacosy, Anand, Griffyn, Spidercutie and Chameleon live on the property as full-time residents and stewards.
The faerie sanctuary is always open to new residents and as a community we want to grow gradually. Getting to know future residents during visits, in living and working together on the land is an important step. We have many visitors, both locally and from overseas. Their love, support and hard work has been crucial in creating a magical “home”. After over a decade the feybourhood is steadily growing. We welcome you to visit short or longer term this sacred piece of the earth and share in this dream of faerie community and become part of its magic.
ABOUT THE LAND
The property is 54 hectares(134 acres) of rolling re-growth rainforests and more open land about 20min north-west of Nimbin, Northern N.S.W. There are several walks on the property: one taking you along a terrace to the back paddock, another walk to the south takes you down to Hanging Rock Creek for a dip in its cool waters. Wallabies, goannas, bandicoots, possums and snakes, and a wide variety of small and large birds inhabit the land. There is a 2-bedroom house with large verandahs with marvellous views to the north & west including the Border Ranges National Park. There is an old cow bales containing Thelmas Drag Boutique and a number of cabins and vans which have been converted to living spaces for the residents and visitors. There is also the old piggery, which is undergoing renovations to become a multipurpose space. We are working on a land use plan for the sanctuary, incorporating rainforest regeneration and permaculture ideals. These plans include more living space for both residents and visitors (some has been built), an expanded kitchen, multi function studio, bathhouse (now built and functioning), large composting toilet (now built and functioning), a sauna and meditation space,…many things. We have a few fruit orchards and several very productive veggie gardens and large combined chook runs/enclosed veggie gardens. Among some of the flora we have been blessed with are several adult avocado trees, macadamias, citrus and mulberry trees and now have an exciting sub-tropial orchard poking up through the cetaria grass. We have propagated enough seedlings to plant a rainforest which we have started to do, and could use more help
Faeries have been around forever. For Europeans, faeries were of the old religion co-opted or chased into the woods by Christianity, becoming the little people. Sounds familiar? Many queers identify with the fictionalised faerie as well as the otherness that faerie evokes. In 1979 an inaugural Spiritual Conference for Radical Fairies in the Arizona desert was held, luckily attended by one of us. Since then faeries and their friends have been gathering in that name.Faeries gather together to explore the pathways leading to our spiritual essence, to find out who we are as queer people. Most of us grew up in nuclear families. The feeling of being outside the norm was for many painful and gave many of us no choice but to develop the understanding of an outsider. Our erotic inclinations release most of us from our duties of child rearing. Without a map we have had the chance to re-invent our lives by extending our passions in art, nature, play, work, fantasy and magic. We are gifted with difference. Radical Faeries gather around the idea that this has been going on for thousands of years in all cultures around the world. We embrace the natural world as we embrace our own sacred natures. Faeries gather in natural settings for spiritual retreats that may go for several days. Activities include camping, vegetarian feasts, rituals, walks, drumming, dance, costume, drag, stories…One of the central events is the heart circle, where we pass a talking stick and share our life stories, hopes, fears and visions. Over the years, faeries have gathered for circles in cities and rural spaces throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. There are a number of faerie sanctuaries in the northern hemisphere that have been set up to provide retreat and gathering space. This has now also become a reality on this land here in Australia.
COME AND VISIT
We are an intentional community open to visitors, so please feel free to come and visit and share in the spirit of the Radical Faeries. Just ring or write to us ahead of time and let us know when to expect you. We are open to short and long term visits internships and woofing. We would like to have the chance to spend some time living together with you initially prior to offering a longer-term visit or internship. We are particularly open to new residents. This is a gradual process for the community, depending on space and resources; we are looking at growing in a gradual and organic way, not wanting to rush things. The best way to become a resident is to come as a visitor so we can get to know each other and take it from there. After visiting for a while and getting to know us and the land if you think you might want to become a resident ask us for a copy of our entry and exit document “Boarding Starship Dodgey”! Any time of the year is a good time to visit. If possible bring a tent and bedding as indoor space is limited. The winters can be cool at night and depending on availability there may be indoor space. The summers can be hot and wet.
To help cover costs we do ask for between $10 and $25 per day depending on ability to pay. This covers all food and the basics. Woofing is also available – let us know if your interested. As well we are open to donations to help improve the facilities of the sanctuary. We also encourage financial support for the Top of the Garden, the legal entity that owns the property collectively. Supporting memberships begin at $50 a year. This will go towards improving the facilities.
Please do not bring any pets to the sanctuary. We are a wildlife sanctuary. If you are travelling with your dog or cat and want to visit we can give you details of local boarding kennels.
We are a 1 1/2hr drive inland from Byron Bay, 900km north of Sydney and 200km south ofBrisbane. We can send you a map if you are driving here. Public transport (plane, rail & bus) information is on the net. If you are arriving by bus, plane or train, let us know in advance and we may be able to pick you up. We ask for a pick up fee to help cover petrol costs. The closest bus stops are, coming from the north – Murwillumbah or the south- Lismore. For trains its Kyogle and airports, Lismore, Ballina/Byron or Coolangatta / Gold Coast. If you want to keep in touch then subscribe to our occasional newsletter “Fey Raves” or be on our Faeriegram email list – contact us with your details. But for the latest info read all about the sanctuary and radical fairies on our Ozfaeries website. We also have a facebook presence. Search for Ozfaeries. We are happy to receive donations large and small, gifts of goods and services, to help realise our collective vision of the sanctuary. We are magically supported by the immediate and extended faerie community and could not exist without the generosity and faith of the faerie community and friends.
The Faerie Sanctuary
“Faeryland” P O Box 704
Cawongla, N.S.W. 2474
02 6689 7070
To email us CLICK BELOW
GENERAL VISITOR INFORMATION Welcome to the radical faerie community. The purpose of this information sheet is to introduce you to how the community works and allow you to feel part of what is happening here. Please don’t hesitate to ask any of the residents or longer-term visitors any questions you may have. We want you to feel welcome and be as much a part of this community as you can. BLESSED BE the ozfaerie tribe
Where to Sleep We encourage visitors to set up their tent if they have one as we have limited indoor space. Ask a resident about camping areas. When camping we ask that no fire pits are set in the camping areas or outdoor fires of any sort. Please leave camping areas as you found them. There are indoor sleeping spaces in the main house, the tree hut, the two caravans, the roost and the piggery. Check with a resident about availability of these spaces. We have a number of spare mattresses available plus extra linen and blankets. Meals & Shopping Generally, we help ourselves for breakfast and lunch. We all share a vegetararian dinner together in the evening. A 15 minute dinner bell is rung and another just before serving. Before eating we hold hands to connect with each other in silence. If you have special dietary needs let us know in advance. Add things to the shopping list if it you notice it has runout. If you are going out and feel like shopping, ask if we need anything. Helping Out While staying here at the community we ask you to help out with the day to day chores including helping to prepare a meal. There are always jobs needing to be done around the community. Some tasks require guidance, other can be done independently. The list of projects and the information about the job will let you know what needs doing, where the tools are, if the job requires assistance and who would be the best person to ask about it and/or work with. We are not all about work but helping out doing things that are needed raises the energy and makes the community a happening place. Showers There is an indoor and outdoor shower. Both have hot water. At all times we ask you to minimise your use of water and use the liquid soap provided as this is friendly for our grey water system & the gardens where it ends up. There is a large solar hot water system that works well in fine weather but during periods without sun our hot water may cool down and the power switched on. Money/Phone/NetWe ask $10 /$20 per day (waged/unwaged) to cover food and running costs of the sanctuary. This is a minimal amount and any extra donation would help towards improving the facilities. Your $ can be left in the large pink jar at the beginning of your stay. If you use the phone please write ALL calls down in the phone log and leave the money in the jar after each call. Please pay for your calls as you make them. If using the computer leave the dosh in the separate computer jar. Ask a resident for help to connect. Water All our water is from the one Spring– fresh, clear and excellent for drinking. There is a filtered tap at the kitchen sink. Please ensure taps are turned off in the house and gardens. Let us know if you see a leak. Toilet The main composting toilet is located on the left hand side heading down toward the cow bales from the main house. There is both a squat toilet and a seat cubicle. Sprinkle sawdust in the hole after use. We ask you not to wee in the toilet if possible. There is a wee bottle in the toilet that can be emptied in the small hand basin next to the basin where you wash your hands. When weeing please go well away from the buildings and paths – at least 3 metres. Our fabulous composting toilet is happy the less wee it sees – which means it smells sweet, instead of putrid! Meetings/ Community sharings Every Thursday we have a meeting, alternating each week with a family meeting about running the community and a community sharing the other week. The family meetings are about projects that are happening, announcements, events, money matters, visitors, etc. It is a good opportunity to share your intentions of staying for an extended visit. The community sharing is an opportunity to get to know each other, give value to each of our experiences and enter our hearts space as a group. The support we share is more about listening and sharing than about giving advice. There are other meetings that happen including a land planning once every three months. We encourage visitors to join us at any of the meetings to simply listen and/or share ideas and feelings Tools – Equipment & Dragorama Most tools are stored in the toolshed next to the Roost. It’s best to check with a resident before using power/motorised equipment. As you would expect to hear, when finished with using any tools please return them to their homes in the toolshed at the end of each day. Give them a clean if they’d gotten a bit grubby. Like the tools, please return drag to the shed and hang for easy access next time. If something is broken or not working let a resident know. Fire & Smoking If smoking, please keep all butts and discard them in the plastic bag in the kitchen or butt box on the front deck. Smoking isn’t allowed inside any of the buildings or on the house verandah. When using the ashtrays please empty them when you can. Be aware at all times of the risk of bushfires. Bushfire DangersAnytime but especially in summer be very mindful of candles, sparklers, cigarettes and mosquito coils. Never leave them unattended. No fires in the open without checking with residents. If you see a fire report it immediately-ring the bell furiously at the back door if necessary. Grab a hose.