NEW staff Accommodation

Published: 21 March 2013 - Into Council we go

All things considered we are excited to be able to report that we have successfully lodged the BA with council. Lizz has done wonders to collate all the various pieces of data required to enable council to approve the thing.

It seems funny to me that with all their technology and staff they still require us to do their photocopying for them and submit 3 copies of everything and 4 of some others. Still I suppose it keeps the printers in business.

Our profound thanks go out to  Rob Peagram, Alison Orr, John Zhang, Dennis Edwards, Emma Scragg, Shaun O'Donnell,  Ray (the fire guy), Jo Grodecki & Richard for all thier help in putting all this together. We now await council's response on what we have missed.

Published: 18 March 2013 - Straw Bale on the go

Progress is slow on the straw bale accommodation at whiptail but after a year of delays we are close to putting in the paperwork to council for approval.

I hope I am not jinxing things as I write but, Emma is on the last drawings and hopes to be finished and have final architectural by the 6th March. 

We have certificates for grey water and composting toilet that we can submit to council. John Zhang is almost finished the engineering details and I have hopes that he will be ready by wednesday as well. (Which will be a big effort as he was in hospital a few weeks ago. We hear he is on the mend but not 100% as yet. Get well soon John).

I have done the initial Quantity survey, Which Rob will look over for me and I am working on the critical path of events. It will be interesting to see what Rob makes of my path of events.

As for a timeline I have a number of people who have put up their hand to be involved in the project and you have not been forgotten. As soon as I can put some dates on things I will be putting out a blast to those people to confirm levels of interest and commitment and we will see what we are up to.

At this stage we are hopping to start excavations at the end of March and then formwork and concreting April so check your calendars and stay tuned.

By Justin Hills


Wild Mountains is building an accommodation building at Whiptail. Justin and Lizz are excited to be managing this project on behalf of the trust. These pages are Justin’s attempt to give a portal for you all to see what is happening and how you can be involved.

The concept is to build a sustainable dwelling, without a mortgage for around $500/m2. From our travels, Lizz and I have seen many ways to achieve this and all of them involved an element of lateral thinking. Recurring elements were, using recycled, reclaimed and waste materials, smart design, sweat equity, volunteer labour, generosity and open communication.

With all this in mind the plan is to build with Straw Bale (itself a waste product) and we have engaged the services of Emma Scragg as architect and Rob Pegram as overseeing builder. Building on previous straw bale experience I have just completed a five day workshop with Huff ‘n’ Puff in Ganmain NSW on the technical and practical aspects of straw bale design and building (see article).

We have set out to create a culture of gratitude around this project and are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of the Wild Mountains Organisation.

I hope to be able to keep you informed through this website about what is happening, what is next, as well as a wish-list of materials and services, so that those who wish to be involved and help out can easily see where we are at and what we need to keep the project moving. I intend to update the site as often as things change and hope that you will enjoy keeping an eye on it to see where you can help. I hope that you enjoy the ride and that it is informative as well as entertaining.

Stay tuned,

Justin (& Lizz) Hills.
Wild Mountains Volunteers.