Survive and Thrive in Place


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Four-night gathering: 7pm Thurs 8 Dec–10am Mon 12 Dec 2022//$700 including meals and accommodation

Moora Moora Cooperative Community, Mt Toolebewong (approx. 1.5hrs from Melbourne)

Contact: Learning Centre Coordinator Gabby Higgins –

Our current crisis requires a total shift in our thinking. To survive and thrive, we must understand ourselves to be inextricably connected to all of nature.”

Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, The Future We Choose

About This Event

Come on a discovery of Country, culture and community. Join other caring individuals in a meeting of minds to craft together a map where we can survive and thrive in place. This four-night workshop will explore more deeply what we can become outside the captive domestication of modern societies that are destroying our ecosystems and our capabilities to be fully alive.  

What can I expect? 

Join with up to 15 others to connect to the more than human mountain top community, to explore how we can live a more sustainable, community focused life. The program has a mix of time spent indoors and in the forest. The four-night program also includes forest regeneration activities and a night sleeping solo in the forest. 

Moora Moora’s powerful nature-scape on top of Mt Toolebewong and our nearly 50 years of living in intentional community provides a powerful context for this event.

What do we mean by Community?

We are part of the great interdependent living cycles of our planetary home. We are, in reality, accountable to all beings; and in these relationships we are formed and held – we become!

Come and explore how we might live in accord with these relationships. We’ll need to face a truth that may frighten us and find ways to learn, evolve and flourish…to draw up and tend the tremble of new shoots of our dedication, love and care to craft them anew. It’s time to re-learn that the basis of community is mutually reciprocal, interdependent relating with each other and the more than human world. 

Join in sharing about communities that regenerate and network, that evolve in response to what happens around them. Communities that scan the future to meet its challenges and opportunities. Communities that are on the path to a shared future worthy of bequeathing to the coming generations.

Why is this important?

The Sixth Great Extinction grinds inexorably and shamefully onward. Alienated from earth, humans are hooked on the tails of multiple epidemics. We navigated the storm of Covid in a disparate fleet of leaky boats to luxury yachts, flimsy rafts and cruise ships, in a sea of confusion, despair and outrage. We are ravaged by loneliness and mental ill-health, while ever more trapped in oppressive systems.

In spite of the warnings and the ominous signs, we’re slipping over the brink. Stark choices stare us in the face. We’re forced to find the courage to explore creative and even subversive possibilities. 

In these times we need sorrow, solace and soul to sustain us. We need each other and the more than human world – community!

Imagination is the key to change – we cannot work towards abstract concepts – humans need to be able to imagine realistic grounded futures so we’ll begin the process of exploring what might work in visioning and building a sustaining and sustainable future.

The Gathering

Let’s call back a way of being that starts from the premise of ‘the gift of together’. Wombats, wallabies, snakes, worms, trees, grasses, microscopic bugs, eagles and lyrebirds may be encountered as we share in community. Leaning up against the trunk of a mountain grey gum perhaps, we’ll sense a pulse that is content with being in place.  

This is a time to connect and plan greater interdependence.  As we learn, we are stretched beyond the limits of what we can be or do on our own. Others hold up a mirror to us and hold us accountable, as we in turn, provide this reflection for them. It is only through this process that the potential of each can be realised. And therefore, it is through this same process that communities develop the transformations synergies required to thrive and regenerate.

We believe that it is vital that we learn how to work with multiple ways of knowing and being – intuitive approaches, dialogue, active participation, embodied learning as well as our usual cognitive approaches and critical thinking. Part of our exploration will focus on being fully present and in our bodies; building awareness of what we truly feel and think.

Who Is It For?

This exploration is for those who know that we are in trouble and want to gather with others to find nourishment. To resolve to find other ways of living, knowing, being, doing, perceiving and relating. Above all, it is for those who are ready to take on the response-ability to care and to create a legacy for future generations – one that is worth having! It is for those of us who hold a deep and abiding love for this miracle of a planet. For those who will make the commitment to engage and be heart-full, who will step out beyond the unquestioned known into the beyond. For those who accept that there is no magic portal but that each of us are world makers.

We are offering limited full or partially funded places in the workshops to those involved in environmental activism. Interested? Send us a couple of paragraphs on your environmental story via email to  Applications close 31 November 2022.

Thanks to the support of the NED Foundation, Moora Moora has been able to develop and offer this gathering.

Participants will need to bring equipment for camping open to the elements such as a swag, tarp, sleeping bag, mosquito netting and mat.

The workshop will be fully catered for a range of dietary requirements. 

Please note:

Moora Moora is located a bushfire-prone area. In hot weather – typically late December to late March – the area may be subject to levels of fire warnings and restrictions such as total fire bans. Under very severe and dangerous conditions we may be required to evacuate all visitors from the property and mountain. We expect all visitors to respect the relevant fire restrictions or rules that are in place at the time. If your group is affected by these arrangements, refunds will be provided. Moora Moora Learning Centre programs will be cancelled on days declared Extreme or Catastrophic by the Country Fire Association.  

Who Are We?

Join our team from Moora Moora Cooperative Community, an off grid community since 1974. And join Mount Toolebewong’s community of freshwater springs, mountain top forest and grass lands, lyrebirds, wombats and more. We seek to learn from the first peoples; from the past and calling upon our ancestors as we explore relational systems, community, wilding, deep adaptation and regenerative practices.

Thrive to survive facilitators

Peter Cock 

“We can offer respite to eco activists – a place to create alternative stories of living in community.” – Peter

Peter is a co-designer and founder of Moora Moora, established in 1974. His work has included teaching ecopsychology, conserver society, entering the ecological world, warriorship, social and sacred ecology. Working in an academic role, with strong creative thinking and verbal skills, while struggling with dyslexia, equipped Peter to see limitations as an encouragement to cooperate. His approach to facilitated learning is focused on designing processes for direct experience and reflection within Country and with a small human group of participants.

Yin Paradies

“We need to interrupt the devastating impacts of modern society and engage in practical decolonial actions.” – Yin

Yin Paradies is an Aboriginal-Asian-Anglo Australian of the Wakaya people from the Gulf of Carpentaria and a current resident at Moora Moora. He is Professor of Race Relations at Deakin university where he conducts research on the health, social and economic effects of racism as well as anti-racism theory, policy and practice across diverse settings, including online, in workplaces, schools, universities, housing, the arts, and health. He also teaches and undertakes research in Indigenous knowledges.

Yin is a climate and ecological activist who is deeply committed to understanding and interrupting the devastating impacts of modernity, including the need to relinquish debt, property, institutions and nation states. He instead seeks meaningful mutuality of becoming and embodied kinship with all life through transformed ways of knowing, being and doing that are grounded in wisdom, humility, respect and generosity. He engages in an ethos of down-shifted collective sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, frugality, direct democracy and radical localisation.

Lesley Shuttleworth

“I never talk about community as human; it is always in the context of the more than human community” Lesley

Lesley Shuttleworth’s earliest memories are embedded in the community life of her family farm in rural South Africa learning to speak English, isiZulu and the natural world. Watching dragonflies flit across the water of the little river, listening to water tumble over rocks and slide into slow pools, croaking frogs, whisper winds and rustling grasses, summer cicadas, the bark of an occasional bushbuck.  This early experience made living in the web of life a reality that was simply there, with no real need of explanation.  The cycles of birth, living and dying were all around.

Lesley has always loved the notion that to live is to learn and to learn is to live.  When she was studying for a Masters in Sustainability and Social Change, she encountered the notion that to learn is to ‘get it under the soles of our feet’ and she more deeply appreciated the experiential nature of life.  It seems to Lesley that the fullest experience of the world (in its natural wild state) may be our purpose and that honing our senses and capabilities is the path that can lead us back home and allow us to be fully alive. 

Sean O’Sullivan

“It’s important to make space for reflection and discussion…in order to respond to our ecological crisis together wisely.” – Sean 

Sean O’Sullivan is an elder and director of Moora Moora, who cares deeply about the cooperative community’s moral compass and how decisions are made.  Sean’s employment experience includes roles as Lecturer in Information Technology at Swinburne University, Mathematics and Information Technology teacher at RMIT and Outer Eastern College of TAFE and Technical Assistant at the Government Aircraft Factory.

Sean holds an Associate Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering  from RMIT, a Bachelor of Arts from Latrobe University and a Diploma of Education from SCV Hawthorn.

A long term resident of Moora Moora, Sean is widely read in the areas of Science, Contemporary Politics and Environmental Politics (including climate change, deep ecology, ecologically spirituality).

Gabrielle Higgins

“We urgently need to be still. Sit with a tree, do nothing but see and feel for a while…it will help.” – Gabby

Gabby is a poet and bookbinder, with a focus on mind-body connection and creativity as mindfulness methodologies. She is a Moora Moora member, who believes that, while we can create as individuals, we can create more in community.

Her work experience includes over a decade as a yoga and dance instructor and community engagement facilitation.  She holds a Masters of Strategic Public Relations from the University of Sydney, with a focus on deliberative democracy. Her creative and embodied work is supported by a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies from Victoria University, where she choreographed pieces examining social issues in an embodied way.  

How Can I Find Out More?

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Dec 08 2022


All Day



More Info

Moora Moora


Moora Moora
109 Moora Road, Mount Toolebewong