Late in 2000, three friends (Brenda Conochie, Rob Gulley and Rachael Roberts) decided a shopfront community environment centre was needed in Perth – a campaign centre and eco-products store to support the community’s efforts to live in a way that respects our environment and future generations. We gathered others to form a community association for this purpose. With underwriting by the ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation), we leased a former fish & chip shop plus house and backyard, in the heart of Maylands, only 150m from the train station, and 8 minutes from the city. Generous well-wishers helped with the private commercial rent, and the first furnishings and office equipment. We had a big launch party in March 2001, with guests of honour Peter Garrett (then Midnight Oil front man), Judy Edwards (then Minister for the Environment) and a Noongar elder who has since passed away.
From 2002-mid 2004, funding from WA’s SEDO (Sustainable Energy Development Office) & the AGO (Australian Greenhouse Office’s) Cool Communities program helped us retrofit the shop and house – and for a series of workshops on energy efficiency, which was to become our main focus.
From seed we collected along the river, we grew thousands of she-oaks, paperbarks and rushes, and planted them out on the eroded Maylands foreshore. We composted tonnes of scraps from the Fruit&Veg just down the lane. We taught composting, wormfarming and bokashi to hundreds of folks, we hosted teaching students; and gave talks to dozens of community groups on sustainable living……..