We travelled to the far flung regional town of Coonamble recently on invitation by the local Wailwaan Aboriginal community, to investigate the feasibility of holding an earthbag workshop out there – with view to build more and more earthbag structures in the future.
We arrived in the evening after a long 6 hr drive north west through some beautiful parts of Australia and were welcomed by a small corroboree involving many local children who were practicing for a big night coming up.
Exploring the site the next day, which lies by a dry creek bed, we discussed the opportunities for the site and also went on some expeditions to look for the right sort of soil to use. The reason for this was the soil was fine down by the river but would be quite an effort to get it up the embankment with just a wheelbarrow.
We took away some jars of soil samples to understand where had the best ratio of sand to clay and identified a good local site that free fill could be gathered from.
We also discussed using the local reeds and other materials to make a version of wattle and daub, which would be a great technique to teach and a lot of fun for the whole community to build from.
Venturing home we travelled through the wilderness of the Pillaga – an outstanding landscape not to be missed.
It was a very informative trip ‘out back’ and we left with many new friends. Keep posted for upcoming workshop dates!