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Background. 2

Gathering at Geoff and Norma Guest’s Farm 1992. 4

Developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Drug and Substance Abuse Therapeutic Communities Gathering. 4

The Rapid Creek Village Project 6

Government Interest In the Rapid Creek Project 10

The Asia Pacific Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Waters Women’s Gathering Celebration In NE Australia – 1994. 11

Connexion and Un-Inma Involvement In Manoora Urban Renewal Project 16

The Peckham Experiment Into Health Ecology. 19

Letters of Support Follow.. 22

Prof Rex Haigh. 23

Emeritus Professor Stuart Hill 24

Professor Violeta Bautista. 25

David Holmgren. 26

Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering. 27






o   1992 Developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Drug and Substance Abuse Therapeutic Communities Gathering.

Themes: Lowering Drug Abuse’ and ‘Therapeutic Community as Alternatives to Criminal and Psychiatric Incarceration’.

o   1993 Relational Mediation Gathering Celebration at Lake Tinaroo in the Atherton Tablelands attended by remote area Aboriginal women and children

o   1994 ‘Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Women’s Gathering Celebration’ on the Atherton Tablelands with the dual themes, ‘Stopping Family Violence’ and ‘Exploring Humane Alternatives to Criminal and Psychiatric Incarceration’.

o   1993-1994 The Rapid Creek Project in Darwin

o   1994 the Star of the Sea Gathering in Townsville,

o   1998-1999 Manoora Urban Renewal Program

o   Professor Violetta Bautista’s Action Research on Children’s Resilience

o   Professor Rex Haig’s Action Research on Enabling Environments in the U.K.


Gathering at Geoff and Norma Guest’s Farm 1992

Developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Drug and Substance Abuse                                            Therapeutic Communities Gathering


The above Gathering is an exemplar of Community Mutual Help n. The Themes were: Lowering Drug Abuse’ and ‘Therapeutic Community as Alternatives to Criminal and Psychiatric Incarceration’.

Prime Minister Keating and Graham Richardson the Federal Health Minister heard about this Gathering at Norma and Geoff’s place and were very keen to fund the community networks associated with that Gathering. These Community Networks refused to take the money. This segment introduces why the Government of the day wanted to give money, and why the Community firmly refused to take money they sorely needed.

A paper was written in 1993 in response to this request from the Australian Federal Government’s Rural Health Support Education and Training (RHSET), a section of the Federal Health Department to a Community Grassroots Action (CGA) network called UN-INMA[1] for this network to send in an application for funding. It is understood that Prime Minister Paul Keating and Health Minister Graham Richardson:

o   Had heard of UN-INMA Programs in Remote Area Communities in the Australia Top End

o   Were keen to support their wider application, and

o   Had requested RHSET to contact UN-INMA to inform them:

o   That funding would be made available and

o   How to apply for funds.


The UN-INMA Program’s themes and processes were using holistic mutual-help in:


o   Stopping:

o   Family Violence

o   Inter-Generational Dysfunction

o   Self-Harm and Harm to Others

o   Civil Disobedience and Criminality

o   Inter-Cultural Conflict

o   Re-socializing people who had disconnected from self and others

o   Restoring and Sustaining Biological, Psychological, Emotional, and Social Wellbeing

There were serious community concerns that accepting government funding would inevitably compromise Community Grassroots Action. Over fifty questions were to be answered in the application form. Over 70% of the questions were not applicable as all questions assumed Government Way was to be used. Community Grassroots Action uses very different ways. There were sustained instances of mismatching.

The concern was that Government way would collapse Community Grassroots Action. The 1993 Discussion Paper was carefully worded in setting out the Community Networks’ concerns. Dr Les Spencer connected with UN-INMA met with the Head of RHSET and Head of Programs, Head of Policy and another senior department planner in Canberra. RHSET people said that they were prepared to ‘bend all of their rules’ to accommodate community concerns. The visitor encouraged a discussion in depth on the issues raised in the discussion paper. At the end of this discussion it was agreed by all present that as at 1994:



o   The Federal Government had no framework for interfacing with Community Grassroots Action


o   There were major differences between the Ways used by Government and Community Grassroots Action



o   While RHSET was prepared to bend their rules, Community Grassroots Action way would be inevitably compromised and collapsed by Government Way


o   RHSET people stated that the Community Grassroots Action Way specified in the discussion paper was at least 25 years ahead of its time




Written Feb 1994, Updated April 2014 & Mar 2017.


An exemplar Project is the Rapid Creek Project. The Larrakia locality Gurambai (Rapid Creek) is both a suburban region and a unique urban-based watershed and creek system within the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. Connexion and Family Nexus in association with intercultural people of the Rapid Creek Community, are developing (1994) a micro-project to nurture well-being socio-emotionally, economically and environmentally. This initiative is drawing upon the constructive cultural diversity of the community for expansion of productive economic opportunities afforded by Darwin’s proximity to East Asia. Grassroots and long-grass family action is exploring the resolution of socio-emotional issues like domestic violence, suicide, substance abuse and keeping family members out of criminal justice and mental institutions. As well, the aim is to skill families in well-being areas such as relational mediating, intercultural healing action and developing grassroots policy based on consensually evaluated and validated community action (refer other file notes on these themes). Ideas are exploring Aboriginal and multicultural healing cultural arts action and festivals. Action is weaving together linked themes. This bottom-up project extends to involving the local community in taking care of all aspects of the Rapid Creek catchment area. The Project is resonant with the concept of Integrated Local Area Planning (refer Social Strategies for the Northern Territory - A Strategic Workshop, April 1993: Office of Northern Development). Preliminary exploring is beginning with Long-Grass Aboriginal bodies and communities, local government, Greening Australia, as well as religious, welfare, health, artistic, multicultural and educational groups.





Rapid Creek is one of the few (and perhaps the only) intact urban-based watershed system left in Australia. It embraces semi arid dry lands, paperbark communities, eucalyptus woodlands, pandanus and grasslands, monsoon rainforest, as well as wetlands and mangroves.



Paperbark and pandanus beside Rapid Creek


The Rapid Creek catchment area provides extensive habitat for local flora and fauna.


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Rapid Creek Mangroves – Fish spawning environment


The local community also uses Rapid Creek as a beautiful leisure environment.


Many parallel projects are coming together. They include practical rehabilitation of flora and fauna by the Friends of Rapid Creek and active planning by the Darwin City Council and Greening Australia. The more human nurturing family oriented activities are focused around the Rapid Creek Water Gardens and nearby Village shopping centre. This is where the oldest market in Darwin is held in the car park and walkways on Sunday.



Rapid_Creek_flooding_2008.jpg Rapid Creek flood 2008








The Rapid Creek market has a strong Intercultural Tradition with colourful stalls being run by people from many ethnic and cultural backgrounds including aboriginals and people from Papua New Guinea and other Asian Pacific and European countries.  


A number of grassroots nurturing well-being groups are being attracted to operate from this centre. All of the above action is developing a strong sense of community. It is villaging within the city. In helping to remove impediments to social, environmental, and economic wellbeing in Darwin, the Rapid Creek Village Project is developing a micromodel perhaps with global applicability and with specific relevance in developing Darwin as Australia's northern link to East Asia.





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Prime Minister Keating’s Deputy, Brian Howe (1991–1995) became interested in the Rapid Creek Project as a Model for exploring cooperative action between the very different cultures operating within the Federal Government Department of Local Government (Road Funding for Local Government), the Territory Government, Darwin Council, other Local Councils and Aboriginal Land Councils. The Head of the Federal Government Department of Local Government invited Dr Les Spencer to Canberra in 1994 for a briefing on the Rapid Creek Projects processes supporting cooperation between diverse cultures.


The Asia Pacific Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Waters Women’s Gathering Celebration in NE Australia – 1994

The Asia Pacific Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Waters Women’s Gathering Celebration at Lake Tinaroo in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland in June 1994 is another Precursor.

Neville was continually scanning the World for relevant Conferences that he could use by creating the possibility of having a local small gathering as a preparatory, parallel, or follow-on conference, or gathering. In 1992, Neville had noticed that the UN was holding a Small Island Development Conference in the Caribbean in June 1994.

Neville and Les talked about presuming that there was local Aboriginal and Islander energy to host a follow-on gathering to that Caribbean Conference. Neville and I wrote a letter using vague trance-like terms:

Ideas are evolving for the gathering of Small Island Coastal and Estuarine peoples for the coming together as a follow-on Gathering Celebration to the UN Small Island Development Conference in the Caribbean and ……

The attached Report provides an overview of that Gathering Celebration.


Report to the United Nations
Human Rights Commission

The Asia Pacific Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Waters People 
Gathering Celebration in NE Australia - 1994

 Written 1994. Last updated April 2014, and Mar 2017.

Dr Yeomans and Dr Les Spencer drafted a number of letters that was sent to many international governance and other bodies overseas. The letters stated words to the following effect

Ideas are emerging for a Gathering Celebration of Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Aboriginal and Islander women and resonant others from across Australia for exploring humane caring alternatives to criminal and psychiatric incarceration, for soften substance abuse, and for stopping family violence using Aboriginal and Island themes-based open-agenda Way and so word is going out to the international community for funding support.

Some months later a letter arrived from United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva that they were sending money. The above mentioned gathering celebration was staged from 6-13 June 1994 at the Barrabadeen Scout Camp in Far North Queensland.


The Gathering used the lower half of the larger Peninsula above

The venue was magnificent. The area for the caring, sharing, learning gathering was set in a warm serene atmosphere surrounded by the waters of Lake Tinaroo. There was dormitory style accommodation provided for our older women and camping facilities for others.

The view from the Highway up to the Tablelands.





Approximately 500 people came together from all parts of Australia to join in the gathering celebration on wellbeing action at a grassroots level. It was also set up as a real reconciliation process bringing black and white together to share and learn from differences and to understand ways to continue a healing process.

Aboriginal women attended from Broome, One Arm Point, Djargin, Ceduna, Darnley Island, Cape York, Innisfail, Tully, Cairns and surrounding districts. Non ATSI people also travelled long distances.



Cathedral Tree not far from the Gathering


Due to being unable to acquire additional funds it was impossible to bring those participants from the following South Pacific regions:

o    Port Moresby PNG

o    West Sepik PNG

o    Solomon Islands

o    Tonga

o    New Caledonia

o    Malaysia

o    Indonesia

o    Japan

o    Taiwan

o    Vietnam

This was a great disappointment in the sense of real inter-cultural sharing learning; a lot of organising and telephoning without any funds other than personal.

The individual input and teamwork really pulled the festival together as UN funds did not arrive until the last working day before the gathering began.

Down-to-Earth (Vic) and the Australian Council of churches came to our aid with short term loans. Unfortunately these also arrived just before the beginning of the Gathering, adding to pressure.


A brief overview of the happenings of each day of the week is set out below:

Monday 6 June 1994

o    Settling in and orientation

o    Cairns and district Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Coop Workshop

o    Welcoming new arrivals

o    Networking

o    Discussion of lost relatives

o    Introduction to NLP

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance

Tuesday 7 June

o    Morning sharing

o    Office of the Status of Women Workshop

o    Discussions on Beijing Women's Conference 1995

o    Discussions on Small Islands Conference

o    Discussions on Montreal Conference

o    Networking

o    The importance of NLP Therapy among Indigenous People

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance

Wednesday 8 June

o    Morning prayer - cancer patient

o    Morning sharing gathering

o    Visit to Tablelands Women's Resource Centre

o    Sharing of Information

o    Networking

o    Visit to White Rock - Reconciling living relations

o    Discussion on international healing gatherings being held in the region

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance

Thursday 9 June

o    Morning Sharing - speaking from the heart

o    Women's discussion

o    Men's discussion

o    Sharing discussion

o    Networking

o    Alternatives to psychiatric and correctional services

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance

Friday 10 June

o    Morning Sharing

o    Networking

o    Sweat Lodge (8 hour process)

o    Intercultural circle dancing

o    Shopping - social interaction - Local area visits

o    Canoeing, fishing walking

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance

Saturday 11 June

o    Morning sharing

o    Networking

o    Preparation of Food for Kup Murri (traditional Island under-ground cooking)

o    Intercultural circle dancing

o    Musical Workshop - Traditional and contemporary arts

o    Sharing Food of Kup Murri with Eddie Mabo Junior

o    Cultural Artistry - Dance, tumbling, acrobatics, fire stick twirling and dancing, drumming

o    Fire circles and storytelling

Sunday 12 June

o    Morning Sharing

o    Feedback

o    Networking

o    Further feedback on the UN Small Island Conference held in the Caribbean

o    BAMA Healing Centre Visit

o    NLP Workshops

o    Fire circles and storytelling

o    Drumming, music and dance


Monday 13 June

o    Feedback and debriefing

o    networking

o    final farewells

As participants departed much empowered from the weeklong Festival Gathering the feedback was overwhelming and the rapport seemed set for a life time.

We are extremely grateful to you for enabling us to stage such a Gathering for the first time in Australia.



Another Precursor Project to the Master Plan was the Manoora Urban Renewal Project.

In October 2004 Connexion funded David Cruise, a Down To Earth director (accompanied by his son Matthew who paid his own way) to visit Geoff and Norma Guest at Petford (Geoff is another Consultant supporting the Master Plan) and visited Mareja Bin Juda (now deceased) and her Manoora Project in Cairns. This project like some other INMA praxis engaged in cooperative action with State and Local Government. Resonant with the Rapid Creek Project in Darwin, Mareja worked closely with the Queensland State Government, the Cairns City council as well as the local Aboriginal and Islander Community of the suburb of Manoora in Cairns in a large scale whole community urban renewal project.



Photo of Mareja Bin Juda at Manoora – D. Cruise’s Archives – Used with Permission

Mareja (now deceased) enabled many in the Manoora Aboriginal and Islander Community to engage in mutual help in supporting the urban renewal project. Ten years earlier Mareja had taken a 60-seater busload of women and children from Manoora for the NCADA funded gathering at Geoff and Norma Guest’s Healing Farm at Petford (discussed in Chapter Eleven). Mareja was able to refer back to that Petford experience in mobilizing these women in the urban renewal project.


For the Project Mareja energized a group of Aboriginal and Islander women (some elderly) in doing day and night voluntary safety audits of streets, footpaths, pathways, lighting and other potential hazards. Mareja also energized Aboriginal and Islander youth to prepare a Transport Revamp Project Report that the Cairns Council stated was equal to a professional report; this report was used by the council in its deliberations. 


David Cruise and Dr Les Spencer videoed Mareja at the Project talking about how she encouraged involvement:


See this tree. This is like the Project. I am way out here on the end of this branch. The branch is the Cairns council. The other branches are all them government mob, and you are the roots down here in the earth. And the whole Project is evolving through all of you mob and you can draw upon all this tree’s energy and make it all grow how you want in your place


Mareja with community and Project backing created a process whereby each family could decide how they wanted the money allotted in upgrading their public housing property; some wanted carports, others opted for covered verandas for breezeways and outdoor shade, and others wanted palms and other garden shrubs (this is resonant with Fraser House patients being asked their views on Sydney landscaping).



Prior to this Project, one large housing complex in Manoora was virtually without any greenery and extremely hot in the tropical summer and a place of civil disobedience. This complex was turned into a beautiful ‘resort’ like atmosphere with many large palms and tropical plants, shade areas and lawns with sprinkler systems.



The Project supplied the trees, plants and equipment to dig holes and move earth.


The local residents supplied the voluntary labour to plant and maintain the greenery. Mareja told Dr Les Spencer in 2003 that along with the habitat, the sociocultural tone of the place was turned around completely in twelve months with the crime rates significantly lower.




Example of House Upgrade                                                          Photo from D. Cruise’s Archives



The Housing Complex After Supported Community Self-Help Action - Photo from D. Cruise’s Archives 


This housing renewal project is resonant with the Enabling Environments energy in the UK that Dr Rex Haig is linked with (Rex is another Consultant supporting the evolving of the Master Plan. The local community decided what they wanted to do about a dark park in their area that was unsafe. They decided that the tops of the trees be floodlit at night by using hidden soft green lights facing upwards. Now the whole park is like an enchanted forest at night.




The Floodlit Park by Day

Photo from D. Cruise’s Archives





Strife in the park has dropped markedly. In the process, disadvantaged Aboriginal and Islander people found their voice. They gained group and community competencies and strengthened family and friend support networks.




In 1993 Neville, Terry Widders and Les Spencer wrote the paper Government and Facilitating Grass Roots Action. A quote:

In this paper the term 'grassroots' is used in the sense of 'the common folk'. Often the people involved have never engaged in socio-cultural action before - have never been on a committee, exercised any problem solving effectiveness or dreamt that they could have an effect.


The Peckham Experiment into Health Ecology

An Old Study with Modern Implications


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The Peckham Experiment was conducted at the Pioneer Health Centre, in a part of London called Peckham, in a period just before and just after WWII.  Despite differences between societies then and now, I consider that much may be learned from this ground-breaking experiment into health. 

Both the Centre and the Experiment were initiated by Dr. Scott Williamson and his wife Dr. Innes Pearse to discover the “causes of health”.  They had conducted health surveys in London and were disturbed to find firstly that only 10% of the population had no detectable disorders, secondly that 80% of those with disorders were unaware of their condition, and thirdly that although medical intervention may alleviate some of these conditions, they did not significantly alter these above statistics.  They regarded themselves as “biologists” rather than medical researchers in their pursuit of the causes of health. 

With money from the Nuffield Foundation they were able to build and in 1935 open the Centre, which was designed to meet the recreational, communal and health needs of the local population, who paid a small weekly family membership fee to be have access to the resources of this ‘Club’.  In exchange for this, they agreed to their activities and health status being monitored by the doctors. For further notes on the design of the Centre see Peck (1980).

Throughout the 15-year period during which the Centre functioned in this way, over 1,000 families used it and it received over 10,000 visitors a year.  Eight books (see especially Stallibrass 1989, “Being Me and Also Us”) have been written and two films have been made about the Peckham Experiment. Many of those associated with it believe that it is the most important experiment in health that has ever been conducted, and that if the lessons learned were implemented around the world today the gains in health and wellbeing would be enormous. 

The description of the experiment and its findings are summarised in the following dot-points.

o   Over 1,000 families (up to 550 at any one time).

o   Access to a range of facilities (pool, gym etc.).

o   Glass walls (all activity areas visually accessible).

o   Free to choose activities (but recorded).

o   Minimal supervision.

o   Organic cafeteria (linked to farm).

o   Annual ‘health’ audit as a family (where you ‘stand’).

o   Access to essential information (talks, referrals, networking, interest-groups, gossip etc.).


o   No marriage breakdowns.

o   No bullying and only one accident.

o   Low interest and participation in competitive games.

o   High-level collaboration and joint projects.

o   High skill acquisition.

o   Improved health and wellbeing.

o   Increased creativity.



o   Supportive environment.

o   Freedom to be spontaneous.

o   Non-judgemental feedback.

o   Supportive vs intrusive/manipulative staff.

o   Support during narrow windows of change (puberty, forming primary relationships, pregnancy, birth etc.).


Health: (a process)

o   Contagious.

o   Spontaneity.

o   Facility for mutual synthesis with others and the environment


All of its numerous important discoveries coalesced around the central concept that health is a process (not a product) that requires freedom and opportunity to experience being in a relationship of mutual synthesis with the environment.  Health is thus emergent from acts of spontaneity.  What the Centre provided was a context and an approach to activity enablement that supported and facilitated such freedom, experience and spontaneity.  Indeed, in such an environment, they found that health became ‘contagious’.  Of particular importance was the preparation for and subsequent caring for an addition to a family. 

These findings have relevance to every area – personal, social and environmental – where health and wellbeing are desired goals.  Sadly most health practitioners remain unaware of the Peckham findings and are still constrained by the limited possibilities of the traditional ‘medical model’.  Thus, the opportunity to make the conditions for health universally available remains as a challenge to those willing to dare to apply and further develop the findings of Williamson and Pearse and their colleagues in Peckham.  The Pioneer Health Centre Ltd. (Hon.Sec. Lisa Curtice – LJCurtice@aol.com) still exists and continues to be committed to furthering this goal.


Barlow, K. 1988. Recognising Health. Kenneth Barlow, 24 Paddington St., London W1M 4DR. 142 pp.

Pearse, I.H 1979. The Quality of Life: The Peckham Approach to Human Ethology. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh. 194 pp.

Pearse, I.H. & L.H. Crocker 1943. The Peckham Experiment: A Study of the livings Structure of Society. Allen & Unwin, London (rpr. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh; 1985). 333 pp.


Pearse, I.H. & G.S. Willamson 1931. The Case for Action. Faber & Faber, London (rpr. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh; 1985). 162 pp.

Peck, A.J.A. 1980. The Vision Splendid: Agoric Planning. Three Sisters Books, P.O. Box 2506, Harare, Zimbabwe. 98 pp.

Scott-Samuel, A. (ed.) 1992. Total Participation, Total Health: Re-inventing the Peckham Health Centre for the 1990s. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh. 48 pp. [http://www.gseu.org.uk/people/scott.htm]

Stallibrass, A. 1974. The Self-Respecting Child. Thames & Hudson, London (rpr. Penguin 1978, Warner 1979, Addison-Wesley 1989). 341 pp.

Stallibrass, A. 1989. Being Me and Also Us: Lessons from the Peckham Experiment. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh. 275 pp.

Williamson, G.S. & I.H. Pearse 1938. Biologists in Search of Material. Faber & Faber, London (rpr. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh; 1985). 107 pp.

Williamson, G.S. & I.H. Pearse 1965. Science, Synthesis and Sanity: An Enquiry into the Nature of Living. (rpr. Scottish Academic, Edinburgh, 1986). 352 pp.

See also the following web sites:

http://www.thephf.org.uk;  http://www.open2.net/modernity/3_6.htm;    http://www.coopergraham.supanet.com/HDBeacon.html; http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search2?coll_id=4607&inst_id=20;  http://www.ru.org/stalib.htm; http://www.concordvideo.co.uk/me95m10.html;    http://www.healthyliving.org.uk/project.htm; http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/olfahack/speke1.htm;    http://www.communiversity.org.uk/page8.html;


http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199697/ldhansrd/vo961119/text/61119-12.htm; http://www.therapeuticcommunities.org/journal-nofoundation.htm


Notes by: Professor Stuart B. Hill, Foundation Chair of Social Ecology & Head of Program, School of Education (includes previous School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning), University of Western Sydney (Kingswood Campus), Locked Bag 1797, PENRITH SOUTH DC NSW 1797, AUSTRALIA






I would like to write and offer our support for Enabling Environments and Community methods being used in the above Program supporting return to wellness in both Environments and Communities. There is excellent fit between our various entities listed on the left and similar and resonant ways of the European Australasia East Asia Oceania Regions. The concept of bringing all these transformative ways together in one global showcase is inspired

As a result of twelve years work in Enabling Environments in the UK, Europe, and further afield (including Australasia), we have found that the best definition of the work is by identifying the values upon which it is based.

We would be very interested in the extent to which our ‘values-based standards’ could be used as a benchmark of rigour and quality in this proposed Macro Program. We are also developing a quality award for ‘emotionally intelligent’ psychosocial environments (the “Enabling Environments Award”) and would be keen to pilot its use in this Program setting.

In the event that this collaboration is not practicable or possible, we would wish the Thriving Futures proposals the very best of good fortune in Being a Global Model helping to mend lives and environments severely affected by pollution.

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Prof Rex Haigh MA (Cantab) BM BCh (Oxon) FRCPsych Memb Inst GA – Nottingham University

Consultant Psychiatrist, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Project Lead, Positive Environments, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Chair, Growing Better Lives, Community Interest Company

Senior Fellow, Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham University



        EE logo

        Community of Communities






Further information:






Further References:



Emeritus Professor Stuart Hill

Foundation Chair of Social Ecology – University of Western Sydney



I write and offer support for The Thriving Futures Program – green cities, environmental remediation, and deep social ecology methods supporting return to wellness in polluted Environments and Communities. The Thriving Futures Program draws upon ecological and social ecological pioneers in extending understandings of fast-tracking what takes nature 1000s of years to achieve. I have worked closely with Program Developers over the past ten years. I highly commend their work.

Emeritus Professor Stuart Hill



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Professor Violeta Bautista 

Clinical Psychologist    Psychology Department - University of Philippines, Quezon, Philippines


THRIVING FUTURES PROGRAM (Keyline and Cultural Keyline)

I have worked and co-facilitated workshops and gatherings with people of the Macro Program in both the Philippines and Australia. These have covered areas of clinical, social and community psychology and clinical sociology. The Thriving Futures Program is a World pioneer in community psychiatric practice, grassroots wellbeing mutual support action, as well as being innovative in evolving psychosocial emergency response networks. The Program’s linking of thriving nature and thriving human nature is very resonant with Filipino way.

I have experienced personally the potency of the Programs large group (200) work, witnessed the sensitive and profound psychotherapy and experienced the extended community networking the Thriving Futures Program has played a significant role in evolving. A number of my work colleagues at the University have worked alongside Thriving Futures Program people in various contexts through the SE Asia Oceania Australasia Region and have provided strong support for this work. I am familiar with ‘Cultural Keyline’. This model may be used as a framework for working well with complex inter-connected inter-related, and inter-dependent social phenomena.

Professor Violeta Bautista


David Holmgren – Cofounder of Permaculture

HOLMGREN DESIGN SERVICES                                                          


16 Fourteenth St, Hepburn Victoria. 3461

Phone: 03 53483636

Email: info@holmgren.com.au

Web site: www.holmgren.com.au.               

The source of Permaculture vision and innovation


Statement of Support


The properties known as Yobarnie and Nevallan at North Richmond represent heritage sites of local, national and international heritage significance. Despite years of neglect, the Keyline systems implemented by P.A. Yeomans in the 1950’s and 1960’s are still largely intact and functional.


In the research work that I did with Bill Mollison in the 1970’s developing the Permaculture concept, we identified the Keyline system of landscape analysis, soil development and water harvesting developed by P.A. Yeomans as the only example (in the world) of modern functional landscape design that provided a precursor to Permaculture as ecologically functional landscape design. The teaching of Keyline within Permaculture Design Courses has spread the awareness and application of Keyline around the world over the last 25 years beyond that achieved by the extensive documentation in books, film and other media by Yeomans in the 1950’s and 60’s. The North Richmond properties featured strongly in all of that teaching and documentation and as a consequence have iconic status that should be celebrated as national landscape treasures. While awareness of the importance of these heritage sites within the local and general community might not be great, within the global networks of ecological sustainable land and water use, these properties are icons of international importance. They should immediately be given the highest protection as national heritage sites because this is where P.A. Yeomans actually developed the Keyline system.


Any development on these sites should conserve, maintain and utilize the Keyline water harvesting and management system as a basis for any settlement pattern. Any development that destroyed the Keyline system would be vandalism that would reflect badly on the N.S.W. planning system and more generally on Australians’ understanding and respect for the greatest work of one of our ecological pioneers.



David Holmgren, Co-originator of the Permaculture concept


3rd, March 2009

Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering

Another Precursor to the Master Plan is the Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering. Dr Neville Yeomans organized local Aboriginal and Islander women around Atherton to host the Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering in November 1993, held at Lake Tinaroo near Atherton on the Atherton Tablelands. A number of Aboriginal nurturer women did a round trip of 6,318 kms from Yirrkala in Northern Territory and other remote communities in the Top End and participated in co-learning at this Gathering. Mediation Therapy was a key theme. The following photo was taken at the Gathering.


Neville with the Yirrkala Women and Children – From M. Roberts’ Archives – Used with Permission





Laceweb Homepage

E-Book Respectfully Resocializing – Going Down the Rabbit Hole


Revisiting Government and Facilitating Grassroots Action 


Enabling – Enabling others to Engage in Mutual-Help for Community Wellbeing


Enriching Community Resilience


Recognising and Evolving Local-lateral Links Between Various Support Processes 


Glocal Villager Wellbeing Action Using Festivals, Gatherings And Other Happenings





[1] Refer reference to UN-INMA in Yeomans, N. (1980). From the Outback. International Journal of Therapeutic Vol 1, Issue 1.