Hi All,

The Sunday 22nd July Meeting was held in the Cardians Courtyard.

Started at 11.15am

Present were Peter R, Ken & Sam, John & Joy, Di and Amanda.

Firstly, Ken advised that in the last meeting notes his offer of a ‘ride to Dubbo’ should have read a ‘ride to Gunnedah’. The note taker responsible was suitably embarrassed and apologetic.

Then began discussions around the co-op details – fees, membership and ABN. Radha’s email was considered, and her suggestion of no additional discount for volunteers at the co-op was agreed. Also agreed was Radha’s suggestion of $25 joining fee and $11 membership (The $25 to include the first year’s membership).

John & Joy offered to pay for the paint for the co-op – “since it will be stuck to our walls”. Peter R and Radha asked that it be at least low VOC if not natural/organic paint, and that the group would cover the difference in cost if it was a problem. Agreed. Volunteers to bring brushes and/or roller/trays.

Joy suggested that the Public Liability which covers all their properties (e.g. the proposed co-op building) may apply if a token rent ($1) was paid by the co-op to use the building. She will check with her Insurers, and also enquire about the cost of separate Liability Insurance if that is not the case.

After considering Peter T’s email it was agreed to proceed with the group as an unincorporated entity with a non-legal constitution, and go ahead and obtain an ABN. Joy will follow up.

We need to agree on a name for our group for the ABN application. ‘Transition Coonabarabran’ was passed over today in favour of Ken & Sam’s suggestion of ‘Good Life Coonabarabran’ which they felt had good connotations – was more descriptive of the overall objective. Peter R then proposed to add underneath the words ‘A Transition Town Initiative’, so that we have something like

Good Life Coonabarabran

A Transition Town Initiative.

as a name for our group. It was also proposed that the Chicken Coop name be dropped and the co-op shop be called ‘Good Life Coonabarabran’. Any further suggestions regarding these proposals should be emailed to the group quickly so that a final decision can be reached.

And any ideas for a logo are invited.

Next Meeting will be held at the co-op shop site (at 26 Timor St, basically opposite Circle Secondhand) on Sunday 29th July at 2pm, to finalise the the details for the working bee on the 11th August.

Meeting closed 12.20pm.

Those present then adjourned to inspect the building we will be using for our unofficial unincorporated Co-op.

Peter R.


Hi Peter

After reading your email, I felt a little uncomfortable with your interpretation of some of the things we discussed today.

For example your comments that; ‘Transition Coonabarabran’ was passed over today in favour of Ken & Sam’s suggestion of ‘Good Life Coonabarabran’ which they felt had good connotations – was more descriptive of the overall objective’, does not entirely fit with my recollection of this discussion.

When Samantha made this suggestion, it was John who brought it too the attention of those present and it appeared to be well received. I was not particularly fussed either way, but did comment that positive descriptors that allude to flourishing and sustainable communities, would be beneficial.

The last thing Sam and I would want is to be seen to be trying to force our views/opinions on others.

I think it is also important to point out that those present discussed the need to have more funds available for setup costs than is likely to be available through the joining fee. Therefore it was proposed that those so inclined, could be ‘enablers’, providing, within their means and inclination, extra funds to ensure the ‘project’ has the stuff it needs to commence operation.
I think it was suggested that ‘enablers’ could be reimbursed over time from any ‘profits’ made by the ‘Coop’




Hi All,

I’ve had further helpful feedback about my last meeting notes, this time from Joy. It seems that Ken and Sam and not Joy are going to have a look at coming up with a contract and rules regarding membership so that we could meet the requirements for the ABN.

And as in Ken’s email below, I didn’t mention that we are looking for extra start up capital from “enablers” (ie those who can afford to put in extra money to get things up and running). It should be pointed out that, in the event of the co-op not continuing, this money may not be recovered but that the plan would be to pay this extra money back from the small profits generated by sales.

I’m beginning to get the feeling that I was at a different meeting to everyone else – some sort of alternate reality.

More likely it would seem I’m not so good at listening to and participating in the current discussion, while simultaneously writing down accurate notes about the previous discussion.

Perhaps the best news for everyone is that note taking at our meeting is meant to proceed on a rotational basis amongst the members, and so I won’t be bringing my pencil and paper to any meetings for the immediate future.

Peter R.


Meeting started at 11.15am, at the Jolli Cauli.

Present were Peter R., John & Joy D., Sam & Ken B., Karen & her dad John P.

John P started the ball rolling with a discussion around the possibility of enlisting the Council’s help in collecting firewood from Council open spaces – this firewood then being supplied to those who are unable to source it for themselves.

Next, Cas (in absentee) presented her list of bulk goods, with quantities, which she orders on a regular basis. After some discussion, Joy suggested everyone email their lists, as a start to understanding what quantities the proposed Chicken Coop would be dealing with. Peter R volunteered to assemble these lists, as they arrive, into a master list.

This lead into a discussion about the need of an ABN – Yes/No? And then a talk about Liability Insurance for the proposed Chicken Coop store/shop.

And how to handle the finances of the Coop. Peter R suggested maybe just a cash tin to start with, and reimbursing anyone who would offer to use their credit card to pay our suppliers when ordering was necessary. Joy suggested a talk with the Credit Union re a cheque account/banking, and offered to talk with them in this regard.

John D then indicated that the Chicken Coop proposed store/shed should be available early August to begin any work necessary to get it into shape.

Then followed more discussion on the Chicken Coop, concerning membership fees. John D suggested a $50 membership, pointing out that one can of paint needed for the storage/shop renovation would cost $50, besides the storage bins and other bits and pieces that will surely be needed. And so a decent amount of membership/donation/loan money will be required to get the show up and running.

Karen talked about remembering the groups core values – regarding the Chicken Coop, to provide quality goods and products.

Some points for further discussion and resolution:

1. Volunteers who work at the Coop on the days it is open would get some sort of incentive – perhaps a more generous discount on the day for any purchases.

2. Coop needs to add a small margin to goods it supplies to cover its ongoing costs.

3. Members buy from the Coop at a better price than non-members.

4. Liability Insurance – can we be covered under some other group/organisation/Council ?

Ken B advised that he goes to Dubbo every week and can offer a lift.

Next meeting to be at Cardians at 11am on Sunday 29th July.

Meeting closed at 12.20pm       Peter R

Hello all,

Welcome to new people on the list: Aliya & Crow; and Karen.

Here are the notes from the Transition Coonabarabran meeting held at Joy and Johns Sunday 24th June 2012. [I wrote the notes as a ‘mind map’ which seemed to work well, so sorry I have not kept them in that format.] Radha, Laura, John and Peter T met outside the Jolly Cauli as arranged at 11 am. We then accepted an invitation to meet at Joy and John’s and on the way we had a look at their offered food storage space in the building opposite the RTA. Present at the meeting were Joy, John, Radha, Laura, Aliya, Crow, Karen and Peter T. We finished about 1 pm.

We decided to discuss how to make a start on the food co-op and any related community-supported agriculture. We talked about various aspects of this project and here are the ideas we considered most important:
Standards and Values: meeting our needs; simplicity; low demand on individuals; organic; low food miles; support local produce; fair trade.
Initial Products: drygoods will be the initial focus because of easy storage. We will try for: wheat grain; other grains; various flours; pastas; legumes; dry fruit; etc. Possible suppliers include: Demeter; The Good Food Warehouse; Wholefood Central; Santos; Bellata Gold.
Transport to Coonabarabran: A number of people (eg John, Crow) regularly travel away and can bring goods back to Coonabarabran to reduce transport costs.
Space: Joy and John offered the vermin-free food storage room in the building at 26 Timor Street. This offer is for no charge and with no long-term guarantee. Those present thought that having a space away from anyone’s house is a good idea and we accepted this kind offer.
Regular Activity: We decided that the co-op should have limited hours of access, being 10 am to noon every Saturday except this change to Sunday for the last Sunday of each month (market day).
Roster: There will be a roster of 2 people on duty each opening day. There is a need for rosters to cover ordering duties and money duties.
Containers: We are appealing for everyone to see what we can donate or loan long-term. Then we will see what else we might need to look for.
Possible Change Over Time: Just a few ideas were discusssed to show the potential: meeting on opening day; a meal together; a place to bring produce for bartering, trading and giving between individuals; a work exchange especially looking after gardens, chooks and rabbits; consumer-supported agriculture; regular bulk buying; opportunistic bulk buying; bulk buying fruit trees; bulk buying solar panels.
Providing a Venue for Producers: This might develop into organised community-supported agriculture with regular ordering, but even from an early stage, we can put out the word that every week at this place there is a likely group of buyers of quality local produce if any local producer wants to take a chance and turn up with their, eg: organic veges; fruit; poultry; rabbits; fish; meat. They just might get a sale.
Risks: growing too big; getting too complicated; straining relationships.
Money: We believe that many suppliers will require us to have a ABN. There is a need for a joining fee that is sufficient to give us some initial buying ability. There is a need for members to pay a small margin over the purchase cost of goods. We will probably need an account at the credit union.
Name: It is not possible to have the word ‘co-op’ unless we are registered under the Co-op Act. The suggestion so far is ‘The Chicken Coop’.
Target Opening Day: Saturday 1st September. John and Joy will get stuff out of the room before then and we will have a working bee or two.
Tasks Before Next Meeting: Radha will look at the ABN issue and especially see how an unincorporated community group can get an ABN. Joy will talk with Radha and Cas and others and start to put together a list of suppliers and their products. Peter T will circulate meeting notes. Joy and John will work out a date for us to be able to take possession of the food storage room.
Issues for Next Meeting: Decide on priority products and suppliers; plan the necessary administration, money matters and rosters; look at issues about the storage space; set date for working bee.
Next meeting is, because it is the second Saturday of the month, 11 am on Saturday 14th July 2012.
Meet at the Jolly Cauli and I suggest we stay there (So Amanda doesn’t get lost). I have heard there may be a request to put the time back to noon but until that is discussed and agreed, it is set for 11 am.
Yours in excitement and conviviality,
Peter T

Letter to Council

18 June 2012

The General Manager

Warrumbungle Shire Council

PO Box 191


Dear Sir


We wish to comment on the draft Operational Plan and Delivery Program on behalf of Transition Coonabarabran, a newly-formed group of residents who are passionate about the future of Coonabarabran as a resilient, sustainable community.

Whilst it was pleasing to see that Council has identified issues such as encouraging sustainable living, community involvement in maintaining the natural environment, ensuring local availability of products and services, mitigating the negative environmental impacts of local mining and extractive activities and promoting a vibrant arts and cultural life for community well-being, we consider that Council has not gone far enough in outlining the actions it proposes to take to implement solutions for those issues.  In other words, it seems that while Council’s vision for the Shire is expansive and far-reaching, the actions it intends to undertake are limited in their scope and application and do not appear to be well-correlated to the priorities identified.

For example:

  1. Council has identified that “The long-term impacts of climate change on our region should be monitored and strategies developed to minimise their negative effects” as a priority, however the actions proposed appear to be limited to things such as remediating the Castlereagh River Bank at Neilson Park and auditing Council’s plant and energy use and reducing energy costs (presumably just meaning within Council).  There do not appear to be any community-based initiatives other than a general motherhood statement of “develop and implement an educational and participation program for sustainable living and monitor and reduce Council’s carbon footprint.”  How does Council intend to develop and implement such a program?
  2. Council has identified as a priority the need to be proactive in providing community advocacy to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of local mining and extractive activities.  Council’s proposed action however seems to be limited to such things as continuing membership and participation in Mining Related Councils and facilitating the dissemination of information and community opinion in relation to local extractive industries.  Considering that mining is one of the most important issues facing the region in terms of environmental and physical health and well-being and the future sustainability of the community, it is disappointing to see Council failing to adopt more of a leadership position, particularly after stating that Council would not support mining in the area.
  3. Council has also identified “Local natural water resources including waterway aquifers to remain unpolluted” as a priority, which we wholeheartedly support, and has stated that the corresponding action is to advocate for the protection of waterway aquifer systems.  The indicator of progress that Council proposes however in relation to that identified priority and action is to ensure sewerage treatment plants do not compromise the natural water system.  Whilst this is certainly important, we consider that Council is not acknowledging or taking steps to address the possible devastating effects that coal seam gas mining could have on the local underground aquifers.  Again, Council’s position not to support mining in the area is applauded but we consider the draft Delivery Program does not reflect the actions necessary to support that position.

We recognise Council is limited in its ability to influence the ultimate decision regarding mining in the area.  However, as Council has identified the need to minimise the negative impacts on our natural environment as a priority, we would like to see it adopt more proactive actions to facilitate this outcome and uphold the spirit of Council’s Charter concerning the promotion of the principles of ecologically sustainable development and the long term and cumulative effects of Council’s decisions.

There also appear to be a number of items in the budget that are open for questioning, such as:

  1. Council has allocated $80,000 per annum for “Community Development”.  What does that entail?
  2. Council has allocated $35,000 for capital projects at Coonabarabran Waste Depot.  What are the capital projects that are envisaged?  Do they include projects to increase things such as recycling, composting etc?

We greatly appreciate the time Council has taken to invite and consider submissions from the community and the fact it has identified the need for ongoing community involvement in implementing the Operational Plan.  There do not however appear to be any steps identified regarding how that ongoing community involvement is to be carried out.

It also appears that, contrary to the statement in the draft Strategic Plan that it would define Council’s priorities and goals and provide a clear linkage between strategies and plans at all levels, the draft Operational Plan often does not deliver on those objectives.

We respectfully submit that more consideration be given to aligning Council’s proposed activities with the issues identified as priorities in accordance with the vision and objectives of the local community and that Council ensures continuing ongoing community involvement in carrying out those activities.  We welcome the opportunity to work with Council in ensuring the future of the Warrumbungle Shire as a sustainable, healthy and vibrant community.

Yours faithfully,

Joy O’Farrell and Kim O’Donnell

on behalf of Transition Coonabarabran


PLEASE NOTE: We have received a reply from Council dated July 11th. If you would like a pdf copy of this reply emailed to you, please contact transitioncoonabarabran@live.com.au


Hello all,

Here are the notes from the Transition Coonabarabran meeting held at Cardians Coffee Lounge on Saturday 9th June 2012. We gathered outside The Jolly Cauli as arranged at 11 am and walked to Cardians. Present were Joy, John, Kim, Pete R and Peter T. We finished at 12-40pm.

SBS had a feature in their Town series on 8th June about Totnes, the town in Devon, England that started the Transition Town movement. This is available, seems to be for another 4 days, at http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/157/Town-With-Nicholas-Crane

We discussed the focus of the last meeting being the decision to interact with the town vision formulated from workshops conducted by Council last year. We agreed with the offer from Kim and Joy to write a letter on behalf of the group to Council as a response to the draft town vision, priorities and proposed activities. Our main feeling about the draft is that the priorities seem to capture the feeling of the citizen meetings but the proposed activities fail to convince that these priorities will be acted on. We think there is a need for a long-term effort to change the culture of Council. This might involve ongoing citizen-Council dialogue around various themes. It would be good to have initially small and gradually increasing budgets for these citizen groups to be able to allocate.

We discussed our awareness that not all our members may be keen on this engagement with Council but those present saw it as just one of several types of community action that might help us make the social transition to sustainability.

Kim and Joy will prepare a draft letter and circulate it for comment before sending to Council on 18th June. [this was done]

We discussed the idea of a short regular item in the Coonabarabran Times to explain what Transition Coonabarabran is. Kim will discuss this with paper staff.

Next meeting is 11 am on Market Sunday, 24th June. I suggest the newly reopened Jolly Cauli.

Peace and love,

Peter T.

Greetings All

Here is a summary of the last Transition Coonabarabran meeting held at the Community Technology Centre – http://coonabarabran.com/ctc/ on Friday evening, May 25th.

Meeting Report – May 25th

There were 7 people present at the meeting.

After opening the meeting, we had a quick ‘go round’ as usual.

After the go round, we examined some of the points expressed in more detail.

One of the ideas discussed was about the possibility of a Meeting Centre – a designated place, (a centre for association) for the Transition group to meet and share on an ongoing basis. There was some discussion about possible locations and how that might unfold.

Another topic discussed was the council. For instance, there is the 20 yr strategic development plan in the library at the moment and perhaps this is a good opportunity to check it out and read through the draft for the proposed changes and possibly work together to create a letter for council of our views on this. The general gist is that there are people in the group who feel it is important to go through official council channels in order to effect transition to a more sustainable lifestyle for our community. There are also people in the group who are interested in a more grass-roots level approach, so perhaps a balance can be struck so that people can work together in small groups with what interests them, while maintaining our ‘whole’ connection with the Transition group. Perhaps news from smaller groups can then be brought to meetings to update the rest of the group?

For instance, someone in our group is currently lobbying the council to put measures in place for the safe disposal of CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights). Now that we know this, others who also feel passionate about this can offer support and also become involved if they wish, thus adding weight to the issue. If someone feels interested they could post a blog on the wordpress site to inform us all about the reasons why these lights need safe disposal options.  Perhaps there are other issues which come under the category of ‘Waste’ which could be looked into. If there are others interested in this, perhaps a group could be formed to work specifically on this and then report back to the rest of the group.

We also discussed possible ways of getting others involved in the Transition group. One idea which seems to appeal is a regular snippet in the local paper which points people to our new website – https://transitioncoonabarabran.wordpress.com/  If people go to the website and follow the blog they can begin the process of participating in the Transition group, they will receive all the blogs and updates of meetings and when/where meetings will be held.  The snippet could be something simple which piques people’s interest such as tips on sustainable lifestyle, gardening tips, or just questions, such as ‘Transition Coonabarabran? What is it?”.

The topic of whether to continue with meetings was also discussed and we eventually came to the conclusion that we would like to continue with the meetings, but on a fortnightly basis instead of weekly and during the day instead of the night. Although the CTC has been a wonderful place to initiate the process of our meetings, we feel it would be more enjoyable, especially in the winter, to meet in the cosiness of a café instead.

We decided it would be good to meet on the Market Sunday and also on the Second Saturday of the month at a pre-designated café at 11am (unless otherwise specified).

Therefore, the next meeting is to be held on Saturday, June 9th at the Jolly Cauli Café at 11am. We hope to see you there!

WordPress Site

If you would like to participate in the Skills Register, Goods & Services Register or the Transport Network, please email the details to transitioncoonabarabran@live.com.au

In order to have access to see this information, you need to have the password. This can be obtained by sending an email with a brief description of why you would like to be involved to the above email address. This allows for us all to participate and share in this local community network without having our personal details broadcast publicly on the internet. Otherwise, if you know of a better way, please leave a comment.

I would also like to remind everyone that there are two books on the Transition movement in the local library – one is called The Transition Handbook which is the first book, and the other is called The Transition Companion which was published late last year. Both books are written by Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition movement.

Radha (current Transition Coonabarabran WordPress Administrator)

Greetings All

Transition Coonabarabran is now an official Muller Initiative!

According to the Transition Network website, as of May 1st, 2o12 there are 420 Official Initiatives and 545 Muller Inititatives in over 34 countries. If you would like to see the current details for our Transition Coonabarabran Initiative, here is the link – http://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives/coonabarabran

There have been 7 Transition Coonabarabran meetings so far – the first being held on March 23rd and the last was held on May 18th. We have had various numbers of participation at each meeting, from 8 people to 3 people. As of yet, there is no official core group, however this is expected to be settled within the next few weeks.

During these meetings we have explored our general thoughts and feelings around Transition, getting to know each other better, communication, transport, creating sub-committees, creating a local skills register and a local products register, workshops, publicity (or not), sharing information, integrating with and raising awareness of other groups within the community, meeting structure and methods for keeping others ‘in-the-loop’, area of focus – local community or wider region, deciding on a project to work on, the possibility beginning a food co-op, previous experience with a food co-op in Coonabarabran, various co-op methods, ways to encourage healthy eating within the general community, shared market stall for selling produce, a bulk buying group, getting clear about our collective vision, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and an Energy Exchange System such as LETS….

As a result of this initial exploration phase of Transition Coonabarabran, we have zeroed in on a few points of focus. These are:

  1. Creating a Vision Statement which encapsulates ‘what do we want to see’ and ‘how do we get there’. Eg: We wish to create a thriving, resilient community that people feel a part of. We create this by drawing on the strengths and skills present in the community.
  2. Creating a Skills Register which we can build on and distribute among the Transition Network/Vine. This involves creating a list of ‘Skills I Have’ and a list of ‘Skills I Want’ This enables us to draw on the wisdom and skills already existing within our local community, as well as finding out what people are interested to learn and which skills they would like to build.  
  3. Food Co-Operative/CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)/Bulk Buying group – working on this as our first project.

If you are coming to the meetings, these topics are the general focus for the time being.

If you are not able to make it to the meeting/s, you can still participate by:

  • Following this blog.
  • Registering to become a Contributor of this blog (so you can participate by posting your thoughts,  relevant articles, notices, announcements and information)
  • Helping us to define the Transition Vision for Coonabarabran (what is the future you would like to see & what steps do you think we could take to get there).
  • Fill out the Local Skills & Products Register.
  • Think about if/how you would like to be involved with the Food Co-Op/CSA/Buying Group project – eg: are you interested to participate? Do you know of others who are growing local (preferably organic) food whom we could contact? What sort of foods would you like to purchase?
  • Let others know about this emerging Transition Coonabarabran Network/Grapevine.

The next meeting will be from 6.30pm to 8pm on Friday, May 25th. This may be our last scheduled meeting for the time being but if you wish to be kept ‘in the loop’ so to speak, so you know when future meetings are held, then please subscribe to this blog.

Thank you.

Radha (on behalf of Transition Coonabarabran)