Photo 2002 - Click to enlarge
What is Gondwana Sanctuary?
Gondwana Sanctuary has been in existence since 1987. It is a residential community situated on 40 hectares of land at Tyagarah, near Byron Bay on the sub-tropical east coast of Australia.
Gondwana Sanctuary as a community attempts to manifest an vision of community and spiritual life. We hold regular meditations, community meals, working bees, landcare rehaibilitation projects, and other community events and projects. If you are inspired by eastern spiritual traditions, meditation, vipassana, yoga, advaita, Papaji, sustainable development, permaculture, bush regeneration, Amma, 5 Rythms, NVC, Watsu, gardening, contact dance, yoga, or just long walks on the beach, then you are likely to find people here who share your enthusiasms.
There are eleven residential lots in Gondwana Sanctuary, of which ten are owned by individuals, or pairs of individuals (14 shareholders altogether). The eleventh lot, which contains our community house, is owned jointly by the proprietors of the other ten lots. A twelfth lot, the community lot, consisting of the remainder of the Gondwana Sanctuary property (about 80% of the total land area), is also owned jointly. Facilities on Gondwana Sanctuary include a meditation hall, TV room, games area, laundry, etc, all of which are available to residents.
Gondwana Sanctuary is no longer a young community. The average age of the Gondwana Sanctuary shareholders is now almost seventy. In addition to the shareholders there are approximately 15 guests and long-term residents, with average age maybe forty, who either live in the Community House, or in one of the residential dwellings.
Decisions about the running of Gondwana Sanctuary are made by the Gondwana Sanctuary shareholders as described below. Ideally, though by no means always in practice, community decisions are made by consensus.
All the dwellings at Gondwana Sanctuary lie on a ridge on the Prestons Road side (eastern side) of the Gondwana Sanctuary property. In the above satellite photograph, Prestons Lane is the road shown running vertically past the Gondwana Main House. Note that the road shown as Black Rock Road is now known as Grays Lane - this connects at its western end with the Pacific Highway. Grays Lane is subject to flooding, and on occasions Gondwana Sanctuary is cut off from the rest of the world for several days at a time.
For an account of our early history, see the History of Gondwana.
Weekly Community Meal
A community meal (two or three course vegetarian) is held at the Gondwana Community House on most Wednesday evenings, starting at 6:30 pm in winter and 7:00 pm in summer. All friends of Gondwana Sanctuary are welcome to come. It is best to phone the Community House on the day (phone number on Contacts) page, to check whether the community meal is happening. There is a nominal charge.
Sharing one of these weekly meals can be a great start in finding out about Gondwana Sanctuary, if you have an interest in participating in any way in the Gondwana community.
Short term accommodation is sometimes available at Gondwana Sanctuary. If you are interested, please see our Accommodation page. Please note that Gondwana is not able to offer accommodation in exchange for work - please help us by not asking.
Directions to Gondwana
For directions to Gondwana, and a map of the area, please see the Directions page.
Byron Bay, the nearest town to Gondwana Sanctuary, is a popular seaside resort situated on the extreme eastern tip of mainland Australia. It is located just off the Pacific Highway, 800 kms north of Sydney, and 160 kms south of Brisbane.
Byron Bay has a population of about 10,000 (and considerably more in the holiday season). Byron Shire, which consists of Byron Bay plus a number of other towns and villages, has a population of about 30,000. The average summer temperature is 27°C, and the average winter temperature 22°C. Average annual rainfall is about 1,700mm.
Byron is an eclectic place with a great variety of local activities, and lifestyles from the hippie to the yuppie. There are many fine beaches, an unspoilt landscape, and numerous tourist activities in the area. The local Byron area is also well known for its artistic community, the healing arts, alternative therapies and for spiritual teachers of all kinds.
For information about Byron, see the websites:
Landcare and Wildlife
Gondwana Sanctuary is an active wildlife sanctuary, having restored what was cattle pasture to a flourishing natural environment. There has been over the life of the community an extensive program of environmental repair and regeneration. The majority of the Gondwana community lot (which consists of roughly 80% of the total Gondwana land area), is being progressively revegetated. See the Landcare and Wildlife Page for more information.
There is a great deal of wildlife on Gondwana Sanctuary - mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, including a number of regionally significant and vulnerable species. Our wildlife includes koalas, wallabies, echidnas, flying foxes, bandicoots, and a wide variety of birdlife. Because of this extensive wildlife, cats, dogs and poisons are not permitted on Gondwana property.
Gondwana Legal Information
After our land site was bought from the Hancock family in 1987, the Byron Shire Council approved the property as a Multiple Occupancy development, and dwellings were subsequently built on each of the Multiple Occupancy blocks.
In 2011, Gondwana Sanctuary was registered as a Community Title property, with official designation the Gondwana Sanctuary Neighbourhood Association. There are eleven residential lots in the Neighbourhood Association, of which ten are owned by individuals, or pairs of individuals (14 persons altogether). The eleventh lot, which contains our community house, is owned jointly by the proprietors of the other ten lots through a company structure.
A twelfth lot, the community lot, consisting of the remainder of the Gondwana property (about 80% of the total land area), is also owned jointly as part of the community title legal structure.
This change from Multiple Occupancy to Community Title offers an improved legal structure for Gondwana, in particular the separate land titles for each residential lot.
The residential lots are each approximately 2,500 to 4,300 square metres, and are clustered on a ridge at the east end of the property. Eighty percent of the land, the community centre lot, and the buildings on these, are used communally.
Decisions about the running of Gondwana are made by the residential lot proprietors, under a constitution codified in NSW Community Title legislation, a Neighbourhood Management Statement, a company constitution and other documents.
Availability of Lots and Houses
The maximum number of residential lots at Gondwana Sanctuary permitted by our local council has now been reached. Occasionally an existing lot becomes available for purchase. Currently there is one lot with house which is quite likely to become available in the medium term - you are very welcome to make enquiries or register your interest here.