Past and Future Possibilities



A Collection commenced from Jan. 1991 gathering writings from the 1960s and 1970s onwards. Updated Oct. 2014.



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Adapted Collection of writings from the 1960s onwards. Latest Update Oct. 2014


This Section contains a set of papers and monographs on ConFest, an alternative living camp-out conference festival that commenced in S.E. Australia in 1976 and continues to this day.


ConFest by Night


Its community processes explore how to work together well.

Typically between 3,000 and 5,000 people of all ages attend. Up to 870 workshops and many happenings and events occur over the 5 or 7 days. Adult tickets are Aus$100 plus two hours contribution and $1 for children 15 years and under. All events, workshops, and other happenings are put on free by volunteers.

A core group linked to the Down To Earth Cooperative ensure that a site is available, with cleaning drinking and showering water, pit toilets, paths and roads and a market.

This non-profit Conference Festival always runs on a considerable surplus and the energy collective is financially robust.

Happenings during ConFest are not preplanned. It is an emergent self-organising process.


Twilight at ConFest

The above two photos are from the ConFest Internet Site.

One theme is ‘exploring alternative ways of living well together with each other and mother earth’.

ConFest is viewed by many as an exemplary global model of a grassroots volunteer mutual-help festival.

ConFest is a vibrant generator of possibilities for thriving global futures




Pre-ConFest Speech by Dr Jim Cairns        

Manifesto from the First ConFest – Cotter River 1976       

Founding History of Social Transforming Action

The Evolving of the First ConFest

ConFest Precursors

Wellbeing Action Using Festivals, Gatherings and Other Happenings     

Festival One - Watsons Bay Festival

Festival Two – Paddington Festival

Festival Three - Centennial Park Festival          

Festival Four - Campbelltown Festival   

Festival Five – The Aquarius Festival

The Evolving of the First ConFest

Introducing ConFest        

Self-Organising Systems        

Evolving ConFest Sites

Some Reflecting On the Experience of Appraising Sites for DTE ConFest in the 1990s and the Processes Used in ConFest Site Layout

Workshops at ConFest

ConFest Energisers     

On Being Safe At ConFest     

Group Processes          


Energising Conferencing at ConFest

On All Coffee Break Conferencing


confest all coffee break conf.jpg

                         All Coffee Break Conferencing at ConFest


ConFest and Global Futures

The Total Care Foundation’s Role in the Early Festivals  

Surviving Well in a Dominant World - Gatherings in North East NSW 1971-1973              

Fraser House as Precursor to ConFest          

Fraser House as Precursor to ConFest        

The Take-Off Point for the Next Cultural Synthesis

The Take-Off Point for the Next Cultural Synthesis

Evolving Transforming Relational Networks           

On Global Reform

Realising Human Potential


Some additional material is in the PDF version


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