Our Site – A Sense of Place The 7.4 hectare site at 711 Old Warburton Rd, Wesburn, a poultry farm in a previous life, is a lovely rural and bush landscape setting. There are some great established heritage gardens, substantial buildings including an old farm house, and the frames of two massive chicken sheds. There is huge potential and opportunity for creative development of this site. For the first couple of years working groups and volunteers worked tirelessly to clean up the site and renovate the old farm house for use as the interim site-centre. Already many hundreds of hours of volunteer time have been put into maintenance and preparation of the old farm house, turning weedy grass into lawns and establishing demonstration gardens. Yarra Ranges Council upgraded the existing toilets and have built us a beautiful new wheelchair accessible toilet. Eastern health Indigenous groups have built our Indigenous Reconciliation Conversation Fire Pit, and our Koori Cubby. Many schools- mostly Healesville High School have built our Earthbag Cubby. Artists Sioux Dollman and other community members built our wonderful Pizza oven. Other projects on site include the Musical Cubby, a rainforest garden display, a playground, new pizza oven and other interesting features mostly built by Cire Community School Students. We have recently built a larger carpark to support our expansion. We have space for more co-locating businesses and welcome initiative proposals that match our ethics and vision for the site.
The Coop is our classroom in one of the chicken sheds. This space is used by ECOSS to host groups and events, and is also available for the community to hire for various events. It was built by ECOSS Committee and Volunteers, and is a fabulous resource for the whole community. Some of the wonderful events that occur annually in the Coop include: The Recycled Fashion Parade, West African Immersion, Climate Information Nights, Bush Dances, Art Exhibitions, Musical Concerts, Fundraisers. Weekly it is utilised by Wesley United Disabilities groups.
We host a large Community Garden, managed by our volunteers. We collect the Vipassana Centre compost and turn it into goodness for our garden. Different user groups occupy certain plots, they take the harvest, and ECOSS volunteers collect and cook the produce for sale at our events. We demonstrate new ideas where we can, hosting Wicking Beds, and a Permaculture Design Keyhole Garden, and a Herb Garden. We receive guidance and support from Permaculture Yarra Valley. We have a Heritage Fruit Tree Orchard in with our chooks- who are old varieties of chooks. We have a native nursery and polytunnel, and 2 large edibles polytunnels. Currently one of the Polytunnels is hosting the Bee Happy Garden project, whereby Ruby-Jane is propagating Bee Friendly Species to sell as box sets.
We have a beautiful dam which collects much of the water on site filtered through our swale Bio-filtration plant planted by Cire Community School year 9 students. The terrestrial area has been revegetated, and soon we will revegetate the aquatic are with school groups. The plan is to take responsibility for cleaning and collecting water on site. With a vision to eventually collect all our onsite water. We have built a frog bog– with some financial support from Upper Yarra Garden Club. This has been maintained- and fence has been constructed by Cire school year 7 group. We host Melbourne Water Frog Census, and aim to data collect and contribute to the Frog Census project.
Community Pottery Studio Yarra Valley have built a community Pottery studio in one of the chicken sheds. They run Wheel throwing and hand building classes regularly, and contribute to the Education Program at ECOSS. Silvertine Bio-Dynamic Market Garden have created a beautiful nourished market garden down the back of the site, with Farm Gate sales on Fridays. They participate in our Education Program. Tonantzin Mexican Chocolate House; are currently converting the old Arts building into their chocolate factory and cellar door sales. This exciting new addition to ECOSS will also join in our Education Program. They honour their Mexican roots and also host a Native Mexican Traditional Sweat Lodge down the back. Warburton Environment, have their office in the Cottage at ECOSS. Karina Doughty the President of Warburton Environment is also on the Committee of Management. Upper Yarra Landcare, also have an office in the Cottage, contributing to our Environment Hub. Beans and Bananas food Coop, pack vegetables fortnightly outside the Coop, distributing to the local community. They purchase locally grown produce including from Silvertine. Yarra Valley Bee Group, meet once per month in the Coop. They host observation hives at ECOSS, and also participate in our Education Program. Tiny Houses 2 Go, Build Tiny Houses in the lower Chicken Shed at ECOSS. They’re interested in providing social housing, and small footprint living. TC Tiny; is our newest Co-locator, also building Tiny Houses in the lower Chicken shed at ECOSS. Natural Building Centre; Tom Neil hosts traditional Chair Bodging workshops nearby the dam, but also hosts Natural building workshops occasionally including Hemp Crete, Straw Bale building and Fire Safe Building.