By all means read on…….. but if you were thinking of buying, I’m afraid you’re too late.
When I built this place, never in a million years did I ever think we would sell it. Just yesterday, a permaculture friend (who lives in Black Mountain – see below) asked me why were we selling after doing all that work? I only had one reply to that, my ageing body no longer tolerates the heat…… I start struggling when the mercury hits 27 degrees. She thought it was odd, she told me she was sad to see Summer ending…. whilst I’m glad to see the back of it! So if you like Queensland’s hot weather, come buy a piece of Paradise. I want to live in Tasmania. POSITION They say there are only three criteria for picking somewhere to live: position, position, position! COORAN is in the Noosa Hinterland area. It’s Noosa Shire’s best kept secret. Just 30 minutes from Noosa, famous for its National Park, beaches, fishing, sailing, surf and surfing, restaurants, and laid back living, it’s truly affordable real estate. There isn’t one single traffic light here – but you’ll have to learn to use roundabouts, which I personally think are great!
Cooran’s main street
Cooran has its own small shop/Post Office (owned by our neighbours), a hairdresser, a restaurant/takeaway, a brand new business selling organic seedlings, and a large hall – where monthly quality music concerts are held – and it’s serviced by buses and trains. It also has its own primary school, all within walking/cycling distance. Just five minutes down the road by car is Pomona where you’ll find doctors, an IGA supermarket, shops, restaurants, a [great] hardware store, landscaping supplies, a cinema, two petrol stations, an excellent car mechanic, and I could go on. Less than ten minutes further down the road is Cooroy, like Pomona only bigger. There are two High Schools, one in Pomona and one in Cooroy. There’s a school bus service to take students there from Cooran. There is also a bus service to the Noosa Pengari Steiner School operating from Pomona just 6 or 7 minutes away. Central Queensland University has a hub at Noosaville where my wife was studying. Alternatively, you can shop in Gympie where some things are cheaper. They have great local Sunday markets where I buy all my vegetable seedlings which are top quality. It’s the same distance away as Noosa… (more Farmers markets) but there are traffic lights! Cooran to Brisbane is a two hour drive, or two and a half hours by train. There are two daily trains between Brisbane and Cooran. More if you’re prepared to drive to Cooroy or Nambour. OUR BLOCK Our land covers approximately 1.5 acres. It is part of an estate, for want of a better word, that consists of 1 to 5 acre blocks subdivided from the original dairy farm which existed here until about 1990. The road past our place is a dead end, with perhaps another 25 houses further up the road. It’s generally very quiet, we never lock the place, and nothing’s ever disappeared! As a community, we look out for each other, and help looking after friends’ animals when they need to go away for a few days. It all started as a totally blank lawn, and I suggest you visit this page where you can get another idea of what the property looks like.. bearing in mind in never ceases to change…. High and dry and out of all flooding, 95m above sea level. The original [German] farmer who subdivided his 130 acres has personally told me he never sprayed, and hoed all weeds by hand! So while it’s not registered organic…. it is. The land slopes gently to the West and South. The soil is pretty good, and wherever I’m growing food, it has been substantially improved with loads of goat and chicken poo and compost. Whatever you plant here just leaps out of the ground! Rainfall is normally 1200mm a year. The whole block has been designed to Permaculture principles, with greywater recycling (which we use to water and produce our own mulch), animals for manures, milk, meat and eggs. There’s a 200m² vegetable garden which in the past has produced (and still does in season!) Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Corn, Peas, Beans, Beetroots, Carrots, Artichokes, Capsicums, Chillies, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Sorrel, Lettuce, Tahitian Spinach, English Spinach, and I’m sure I’ve left something out……. oh yes, ginger and turmeric, and of course herbs galore. And of course loads of Comfrey, Arrowroot, and Cassava, the Permaculture stalwarts….
Zone 1, seen from the roof
A NOTE ON PERMACULTURE We have had people here inspecting the place and obviously had no idea of what Permaculture is all about. Permaculture is NOT gardening. If you are unsure about what Permaculture is all about, I suggest you read this….
Permaculture Food Forest
If you’re after manicured gardens and beautiful lawns, this is not the place for you, and that’s because neither are sustainable. The first rule of Permaculture is Thou shalt not mow. Soon enough, there will not be enough fuel to mow. How will you cope with six foot high grass everywhere unless you get rid of it and transition to edible zero waste landscapes? We emulate nature, we don’t fight it… it’s a losing battle anyway.
Sunrise over Mt Cooroora
We have views of three volcanic plugs, Mt Pinbarren to the East, Mt Cooroora to the South, and Mt Cooran to the South West. The aerial photo above shows we have added a small shed parallel to the boundary to the right of the house, and more solar panels have been added to the W roof . All the fruit trees are considerably larger now. You can see two water tanks, one at each end of the house. I’m planning to add a third tank at the North end of the shed to drought proof the garden… THE HOUSE (click all photos to enlarge) Mon Abri is a unique house. You won’t find anything remotely like it, anywhere.
Because of its resource saving features, we won a Glossy Award for the design way back in 2007. I like to think it’s also Australia’s most energy efficient house. Prove me wrong, I’ll cop it on the chin……. we are very very proud of our effort here….. and if you need convincing it’s not hard to get it all wrong, even with the best of intents, watch this.
Sunset at beer o’clock on the deck
Mon Abri Floorplan
It’s a split level design with just seven steps between downstairs, the living space, and upstairs, where all the bedrooms are, and the bathroom and toilet. It’s 145m² in area, plus a veranda and large 25m² deck at the rear overlooking the view, and another veranda at the front; it has four bedrooms, or if you prefer three plus an office. The bathroom has a double corner bath, a shower, a bidet and a hand basin. The toilet (composting) has its own separate handbasin… and is unique in that it opens to the outside as well as the inside, a most handy feature when gardening…..
Tiling in living area
North Point at the front door
The living area is tiled with Terracotta, in a French Provincial style. Pretty well everyone who walks in is blown away by the character of the place…. no one has ever said they didn’t like it! The entire house is tiled (except the kitchen which has a cork floor for comfort), and tiled with creative flair at that……
Glenda being a Ceramic Artist, has put a lot of effort in making sure no floor was boring! There’s even a mosaic of a Black Cockatoo (the emblem of the Glossy Awards) outside the bathroom, which itself is finished in turquoise Balinese river stones…. has to be seen it to be believed..
The kitchen is entirely “hand made”, with not a sign of chip board or MDF board to offgas nasties for you to breathe. In fact there are none in the whole house……. And the food garden is right outside for quick access. Unless you really really object to our hyper efficient fridge, it comes with the house. We cook on a five burner gas
Walk in pantry
cooktop, and the AGA……. which holds a certain place of pride here… the kitchen is the stereotypical “country style”, and it has a walk-in pantry to store the home brew and preserves with a light that comes on automatically when you walk in….. It’s the kitchen I’ve always wanted, and I will build another one just like it in Tasmania. The kitchen now also has an addition… our treasured cob oven which we intend to use in Summer so that we can still bake bread and pizzas, and cook roasts without heating up the house.
All the ceilings are raked pine, and mini orb corrugated iron has been tastefully used as features in the kitchen and bathroom to give it that “Queensland feel”…. and it’s so easy to keep clean too. The windows are either louvres or recycled casement windows from old Queenslanders to maximise ventilation, a must in this climate. An explanation of the house’s solar passive design can be found here.
Entrance to bathroom
Mon Abri has three bedrooms. The Master Bedroom is 3.6m wide by 4.8m long and easily accommodates a king sized bed. It has excellent ventilation with windows on the North and South sides, and its own door to the outside, which are fitted with curtains and pelmets to keep the heat out in Summer, and in during Winter…. It is also just steps away from the toilet and bathroom. The other two bedrooms have queen size beds, and are also both fitted with curtains and pelmets, as well as ceiling fans. They both have built in wardrobes, and one has its own door to the outside. All the bedrooms are wonderfully warm in Winter and cool in Summer as they all have substantial thermal mass with Gympie Block walls and turquoise tiles to match the decor….
Night time view from the Master Bedroom…. I never tire of this aspect last thing before going to sleep!
The house tank has never run out, and is in fact half full as I write this. With 45,000 L of garden water, I estimate it would be possible to keep zone 1 watered even if it didn’t rain for six months at all. The house is plumbed to what must be the most ecologically sustainable drainage system, described in detail at this page on this blog.
The asking price has now been reduced to $425,000. This is a bit more than what other houses around here might cost (though our neighbour just put their unsustainable house on the market for $550,000!), but we are selling an established self sufficient lifestyle, and besides none of them offer potentially cost free living. Apart from the $1000 a year rates, with simple commonsense management, anyone living here would have zero electricity bills (in fact an income), zero water bills, and zero sewerage bills…… The house also comes with a year’s supply of firewood. Bear in mind we also plan to move as little of our stuff as possible to Tasmania… it is a long way! So we are prepared to throw in all the furniture as part of the cost. This page is work in progress. As I make more finishing touches, I will update it with fresh photos, so if you are interested or know someone who might be, return soon to see what else is new. To contact me re buying Mon Abri, email me at damnthematrix at riseup dot net. My mobile is 0447 500 566. Seriously interested buyers only please, no tyre kickers.