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Make Love not War..

You and I, we are simple things

Oh, simple things we are

Feel the sun and all the joy it brings

To the simple things we are

Water rushing from a spring

Is the simple thing we are

Growing up in a commune and being a member of our little community had it’s own pros and cons. Living closely with people from all different backgrounds can be just as wonderful as it is challenging; I was not only raised by many adults for a year, but also raised and taught by my peers. But growing up in a commune was, for me; the best possible parenting I could have had. Communes were not exactly abundant in the 70s, but there were a few, and the one we ended up living in was extraordinary. My parents didn't set out that summer trip to Queensland with the intention to end up living in such a community, as with my father, things just happened. He was the most social person l had ever met, he would say hello, and talk to anyone. He was always interested in people and wanted to know all about them and what made them tick.

We had been on holiday in far north Queensland camping, being one with nature and visiting my Aunt Mavis who had decided to move north, to get away from the cold Melbourne winters. On our way back down the coast, we decided to stop in Murwillumbah as there was a popular Artisans market on the weekends, and that was something my parents always liked to visit. As always, my father was enjoying himself; talking to the locals, and had struck up a conversation with an older man named Atticus, who went on to tell my father that he and his wife Jasmine lived just out of town on 10 acres of land in a small community, called Harmony. They invited us to share a meal and see how they live, my father agreed. We headed off in our Kombi to visit. After a hearty meal of rice and curry around an open fire, Atticus said we were welcome to stay and experience life with them and of course my father and mother agreed. The following twelve months were some of the best times of our lives. We settled in comfortably, we had our own bungalow, simple, sparse but yet cosy. There were around twelve dwellings, all with about 2-4 people in each. Some young people, some older, some with children, others without. People from the USA, England, Australia and beyond. No matter where people ventured from, one thing we all had in common: a new way of life, a peaceful, harmonious existence being one with nature and each other. Everyone had a designated job, we all contributed to our peaceful utopia. Mine at the time was gathering eggs, and feeding Nora and Jessie, the resident cows. My father tended the vegetable gardens and as my mother loved baking, she ended up spending lots of time in our communal kitchen. Meal times were wonderful, with laughter, discussions about the day, sometimes passionate conversations about politics, commercialism, they criticised middle class values, and were against war, Vietnam was definitely still a sore point. We would sing songs from Dylan, Baez the Beatles, the Proclaimers were not around yet. We would dance, many had guitars and harmonicas, there was no place you would rather be. The weather was always warm and sunny, the nights balmy, clear starry skies you could ask for nothing more. Everyone got along, we all worked together to make the lives of each other all that it could be.

In our commune, there was always something to explore, and we, as children, were lucky enough to do a lot of that exploration on our own. The entire community was a safe space in which we could play, grow, and use our imaginations. Every morning, I would wake up, run over to a friend’s house, decide what game we were going to play that day, dress up, and treat each day like it was our last. Our mothers wouldn’t see us home until dinner. Through unsupervised play, we gained independence, creativity, as well as rooted communication skills.

To many, the word ‘commune’ evokes a smoky den of drug-addled hippies who all sleep with each other, but it was not like that, it was a group of people, men, women, and children who chose to live a simple carefree life, self sufficient and definitely not main stream.

Co-housing is all about nonviolent communication, consensus based decision making, and generally pitching in, we cultivated a community where families were happy to collaborate, share, and grow together. As children, we always felt safe as well as encouraged to explore and figure things out on our own.

We were a close-knit and strangely traditional bunch of hippies, we bought our clothes at jumble sales, and ate an awful lot of brown rice. Too much. I hate the stuff now. We grew our own vegetables, had a few cows and even a goat, chickens galore and basically were living a peaceful, simple, harmonious existence .

Our elders advocated non-violence and love, their mantra being “Make love, not war,” They promoted openness and tolerance as alternatives to the restrictions and regimentation they saw in middle-class society. My family stayed at Harmony for almost a year, we were blessed to have met and shared our lives with such beautiful people, a time that shaped me into the person I am today.

Although I missed some of the aspects of communal living when we left, I was pleased to be in the privacy of my own home once again, though both my parents missed the farm and the other friends they had made.

If given the opportunity, would I raise my children in a commune? Absolutely. In the end, the pros outweigh the cons. I feel incredibly grateful that I experienced the childhood I did; being raised by a group of wonderful free-thinking and kind individuals. Our village provided me with a great sense of love, shelter, and what we all seek: community and connection. I learned how to empathise and walk in someone else’s shoes, and show love and compassion for my fellow man.

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Sep 25, 2023

How wonderful your stories are entertaining 🤗


Aug 21, 2023

Brilliant ... Amazing story !


Aug 21, 2023

No mung beans kitty ? Great yarn 🤗


Aug 21, 2023

What an amazing family adventure and way of life. You have had the best education anyone could have. You had mainstream and worldly experiences to teach you in life.

Once again I was enthralled in your latest blog. Keep up the amazing job 👍👍👍

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