We are honoured to live in a powerful place. Our tribal elders, the Wurundjeri people, hunted and camped on Mt. Toolebewong in the summer for eons. We thank them for their knowledge and the care they have taken of this land and we work to be responsive to their wisdom. Moora Moora Cooperative Community secured this land in 1974.
One of Healesville’s well-known guesthouses, Nyora, was developed in the 1890s and was destroyed by the Black Friday bushfires of 1939. In 1949, The Lodge, a large brick family home was built, from which operated a seed potato farm and hobby farm fattening cattle. The Lodge became our community centre and we began to farm cattle sheep and poultryand cut hay for our own animals and for sale. All the while developing our community and building our dwellings.
Moora Moora Cooperative Community consists of 245 hectaresheld in common. 700 metres above sea level and with a yearly rainfall of 1075 millimetres. The climate is cool temperate with occasional snow in winter. Members own shares and have rights to build, and to farm in a way that cares for the land.
On our mountaintop plateau are 40 hectares of undulating grass pastures. Most land is cleared in this area, except for smallforested areas, one of which surrounds a natural clear spring supplying the property with year-round water. The spring flows down a gully into a small dam, very popular in the summer months. Walking the winding driveway into the community centre leads to about half an acre of historical English gardens surrounding the Lodge.
We work hard to minimise our impact on the complex ecosystems, whilst striving to live a more sustainable life, striking balance between preservation of the natural ecosystem and agricultural and horticultural farming.
We protect our native Flora and Fauna by exclusion of dogs and cats and have signed a conservation covenant with Trust for Nature, which covers our forested land and our sanctuary site for honouring past Moora Moora members.
We draw on nature’s resources as much as possible, particularly solar energy and wind power. Our community has always been ’off grid’ and self sufficient in power and water.
We have many paddocks fenced and available for farming cattle, poultry, horses, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs, with activity in these areas fluctuating with members’ interests. Some members keep bees.
Over the years our dam has been regularly stocked with trout, and yabbies are abundant.
We have a deer-fenced horticultural area available for members’ use. Our Climate Emergency Group is developing crops for MM in one section, and members grow pinot grape vines and raspberry and blueberries respectively. Berries grow very well on the mountain. Some of this hort patch is currently leased to our neighbours from Timbarra Farm to augment their organic market garden.
Stone pine trees hedge the horticultural area, and the silviculture project boasts other food producing crops. Ancient chestnut trees complement more recent hazelnut, walnut trees, and apple orchards. With the impacts of climate change the vision is to expand our food production focussing more on food security. Many of us want to become close to self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit, grown organically and bio-dynamically.
We have a changing landscape over the altitudinal landscape from Wet Scloerophyll forests, to dry Messmate dominated forests, full of ferns, tea tree and diverse native species. We are blessed to have an abundance of Lyrebirds, Wombats, Birdlife, Leadbeaters Possums, and many more species we are keen to protect.
We have a beautiful eco-trail that we maintain for bushwalking and meditation.
We have a Land Management Committee that involves many portfolio areas, these include: Weed Control, Feral Animal Control, Forest Ecology, Fire Management, Agricultural Area, Water Health and Infrastructure, Horticulture Production, Machinery and Equipment. While we have a land manager and assistant land manager, we require involvement and energy from all residents at Moora Moora to address all these portfolio areas, so that we can manage the land in the best possible way.
Some of the major challenges we need to address include:
- Managing pest invasions and protecting the forest and its wild life. In particular our Holly infestation from the 1890s, and how to find alternatives to Round Up as a management tool. Also we have a Deer, Rabbits and Foxes to manage.
- Increasing our food security in an increasingly unstable climate for a community with a diverse diet. Ferals could be a source together with farm animals mixed with plant crops!
- How to manage productively common land that incorporates a diversity of capacities and desires?
We knuckle down at monthly workdays and farm users workdays to try to keep these challenges at a ‘workable’ level.
Trust For Nature covenant launch
This webinar tells the story of Moora Moora’s journey to create a conservation covenant over our forest.