Transition Town Margaret River

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Presentation – introducing Transition Margaret River

By Karen Majer

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Transition Margaret River is a grass-roots community group, part of the worldwide Transition Network.

It’s a community-led local approach to creating a more sustainable, resilient, happier society in the face of challenges in today’s world, especially climate change, economic uncertainty and unsustainable resource use.

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We formed in 2012, recognising the need for a group to tackle the issues of becoming a more sustainable community. Transition provided a good model of a positive local approach.

At that stage there were several organisations focusing on specific issues. Over the years, more activities started up, and we took on a networking function, supporting other groups and providing the big-picture story.

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Over the years, more activities started up, and we took on a networking function, supporting other groups and providing the big-picture story.

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We see Transition as an inspiration and a catalyst for our community to move towards being more supportive and resilient, and living in greater harmony with our natural resources.

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Our ages range from teens to nineties. Occupations include farmers, academics, professionals, tradies, local business owners and employees, vignerons, artists, teachers, students, retirees – – -.

We are intercultural.

We have no formal membership, no fees, and everyone is welcome.

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Many of us have qualifications – what you see is just a sample – but you don’t need degrees.

All of us bring skills and life experiences that make up a rich community of people with a common passion for a better future.

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Our range of skills enables a broad spread of activities, including practical projects, training and communications, so everyone can play a valued role.

Our community reach is wide – we have over 780 people on our Newsletter circulation and an active Facebook page.

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Our diverse interests are catered for by a wide range of volunteering opportunities from cake baking to engaging kids in recycled craft activities, gardening, running events, representing the community on Shire Committees – and many more. Again, there’s something for everyone.

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We have about 50 active volunteers, maybe more – there are so many projects that it’s hard to keep track. More than 20 of them are on the organising ‘hub’. We have a flexible, non-hierarchical, structure with no Steering Committee. Common threads among the reasons people join in are a feeling of belonging, nurturing, hope, and actually getting things done.

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Our focus is holistic, and again that provides a huge range of opportunities for people to engage in their special interests.

We hold regular community events. The annual ‘Love where you live’ Sustainability Pavilion at the Margaret River Ag Show give the educators and crafty folk lots of scope.

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Underpinning everything is SHARING – including information, ideas and discussion at our films, meetings and sustainability seminars. Everyone is welcome on Saturday mornings at the Open Community Coffee Club at the Margaret River Organic Garden. And the donations for cake and coffee are our major income source.

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A focus on food also gives us plenty of opportunity for sharing gardening skills and swapping produce at our weekly “garden produce shares”, as well as promoting best practice including regenerative agriculture and permaculture.

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Each year we adopt a theme in addition to our wider activities. Waste was our focus in 2017. In 2018 it was energy and in 2019 “The Water Connection”.

We promote local community initiatives such as Cape to Cape Plastic Free, Boomerang Bags, and beach clean-ups.

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We’re non-political but we make our voices heard on important issues like renewable energy, and we are proud that the idea for Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy originated at a Transition-Shire community workshop.

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The 2019 theme The Water Connection included four seminars, displays, practical skills training, a water theme for our Ag Show Pavilion and culminated in a community-wide Project Snapshot event attended by 60 people in November. The event was jointly hosted with Nature Conservation’s Giant Light Steps Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

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We promote sustainable transport options. The electric cars are always a draw-card at our Show Pavilion.

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Several of our seminars have linked with Margaret River’s amazing creative community to discuss poetry and art. It’s an important part of being a resilient community.

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TMR contributes to local planning through submissions on Council plans, attending forums and representation on Council Committees.

Helping people to “live lightly” involves changing values and practices, so local models like the Witchcliffe Ecovillage and involving media celebs like Josh Byrne are important.

Transition Margaret 27.11-page-020Climate change is a core issue for our community to be resilient in the future. We’ve held several marches, events, community workshops and films, and we support Climate Action Augusta Margaret River.


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Peace and social justice are core values.

Two Margaret River Peace Weekends, in association with the Medical Association for Prevention of War and Amnesty, have been consciousness-raising and fun.

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A new initiative was born at our annual planning get-together in 2019.  It clearly struck a chord and now eight groups have been formed to progress areas of interest.

It’s an example of how Transition can evolve and respond to community needs.

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Our theme for 2020 of local-is-more has been developed together with the Shire and Chamber of Commerce. The vision is that our community embraces a culture of buy local, source local, grow, create, share and recycle for a more resilient community in the Augusta-Margaret River region

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You’ve probably picked up that almost all our activities are founded on partnerships, for example Sustainability Seminars are held in partnership with Curtin Uni and the Shire. The Shire is a supporter through funding as well as collaborative events and we thank them for that.

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When it comes down to it, I think most people volunteer because they enjoy the activity, want to belong, and feel they are doing a good thing.

We emphasise community building, celebrating and having FUN!

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Planning for Transition Margaret River in 2020

By Ken Dyer

On Saturday 18th January a couple of dozen people gathered in the chapel of the Community Centre on a rather warm afternoon to suggest, discuss, dissect and hopefully come to some consensus on ideas which would most effectively further Margaret River’s Transition in 2020 and beyond. The meeting was convened by Karen Majer and led by Torsten Henschel. Many thanks to both of them for the thought and time they put into organising, preparing for and running the meeting.

The formal outcomes of the meeting have been admirably summarised and circulated by Karen and are attached below for  those who would like all the details.

18 Jan 2020

I want briefly to describe how we got to the choices we made and agreed upon.

Torsten first asked us for the specific ideas which we individually thought might be included in any program of actions. But he asked that these ideas be presented to us verbally and in brief written form organised as answers to 5 questions which he posed to us.

First.  What was our idea? Briefly describe it, naming organisations which would be involved  and what they, and therefore we, we would have to do.

Second. Why was our idea important? What benefits would it deliver to our community?

Third. How would it get done? Boots on the ground, pens on the paper, computers at the ready, sort of answers .

Fourth. How long would it take? Was it a ‘one off’ or a ‘continuing for a long time’ sort of idea.

Fifth. Who would lead it and ensure it got done?

When we’d each had our little say on our idea, the written version was deposited in the middle of our circle; for no particular reason we could discern at the time.

After a break to stretch, quench thirsts etc. and valuable informal conversations, we returned to work. On our chairs we found 3 pieces of paper on each of which were temporarily stuck 2 coloured spots – 2 red, 2 blue and 2 green – obviously suitable for markers.

Now we were asked to affix these spots to the papers on which were the written descriptions of the projects. Which projects did we really ‘like’ in the sense that we would be most happy to participate and ensure the success of amongst those in front of the others? Two of our red stickers were to be attached: either both on one or one on each of two of the projects on the floor in front of us. (I suppose the option of not attaching either of our stickers in this or the other two opportunities to ‘vote’ was available; but no one enquired)

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Then, which of the projects did we think were ‘doable’? Here we were asked  to identify the project or projects which wouldn’t entail to much fundraising, require too specific a set of skills and/or knowledge, wouldn’t take too much of our individual time and effort, or drag on too long. Two blue stickers available for our votes here.

And finally which project(s) did we think would have the most ‘impact’ on our community. We were left with our two appropriately coloured Green spots for this vote. A lot of guesswork here – although careful evaluation might be a more tactful description.

Now it was just a question of collecting up the papers and counting the dots of the respective colours.

This careful process and its overall emphases might be considered the most important part of the proceedings, but the actual results would be very useful to Karen and the team most involved in Transition Town. (And this, after all  was the principal reason for the meeting.)

So, the most important (or likeable) ideas?

Two ideas were First equal

(a)  “Get involved expo/festival at the HEART as a showcase and celebration of community groups and invitation to find a ‘fit’ and get involved”.

(b) “Improve the community connection to, and appreciation of, locally grown food – awareness campaign, meet-the-producer events, workshops”.

Which of the projects were most ‘doable’?

Another win, this time alone, for local food production.

It was mentioned in discussion that community gardens and community kitchens – both to provide food and teach how it can be prepared – already exist and/or have plans and ideas for further growth and development

The project likely to have the most impact on our community?

A hands down win for the proposal that we:

Advocate for local government generally to have rights in respect of (i) native forestry; (ii) mineral, oil and gas exploration and production; (iii) management of surface and groundwater.

At the moment State Government has all the power and can overrule anything Local Government requires. That this would be a very difficult and very long term project with probably rather low chance of significant success was apparent because nobody either ‘liked’ this idea or thought it was easily ‘doable’.

What’s next? Well lots. But one immediate thing we can all do is make submissions on the draft Climate Action Plan which the AMR Shire has developed. It is currently on the Shire’s web site and they are seeking community submissions on it.  If we do nothing but individually read and think about this proposed Plan and respond that we approve, have one or more suggestions to make, and will support its implementation, we will have contributed usefully.

Ken Dyer

Committee member of MRREC and AMRCCE

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Transition Margaret River 2020 Workshop Invitation

Dear Transitioner
We are coming together at the Chapel, Margaret River Community Centre on Saturday 18 January 2020 for a 1pm start. The workshop will be facilitated and the purpose and intended outcomes are for you to bring your ideas for TMR to focus on during 2020, and beyond.
Please Kindly register your attendance for the workshop via Eventbrite so that we can know you’re coming:
Before the workshop, please prepare yourself as follows.
Please engage personally with the questions:
What do I feel TMR can and should be doing during the year, within our stated purpose of ‘Building resilience, sustainability and community in the Margaret River region’also specifically considering the context of our current grant from the Shire ’to make it local’? 
Once you have an or some ideas, please prepare each idea as follows, to bring along to the workshop. This is important so that we can spend our time productively and so that all our ideas , and more, can be considered:
  • On a blank A5 size paper (half Foolscap or A4), clearly write about your idea:
    • What? Describe your idea in 2 lines or less
    • Why? Why you feel this is important, in 3 lines or less
    • How? What will need doing, what resources are required, in 4 lines or less
    • When? How long will it take to complete, or how long will a first stage or two take (in longer term ideas), in 2 lines maximum
    • Who? Who will lead this, who will we need to deliver the idea in 2020, in 2-3 lines
  • Please write clearly – all our ideas will be put up for all of us to see and work with. If you want to send them to Torsten for printing out, please do so by Thursday ( Below is a template.
  • Please stick to the above 5 questions and spacing in terms of format, so each idea is easy to workshop. It can be challenging to crystallise big ideas into this, so take your time and have a go. You can bring as many ideas as you like. Speak to friends and fellow Transitioners if you like, but there is no need to. Ideas can be anything from practical or administrative type ideas to ‘way out there’.
  • Have fun!
  • Please bring them with you, ready to be displayed and shared!
See you Saturday.
Kindly, Torsten and Karen.
Dr Torsten Henschel
Coaching, Facilitation & Leadership Development

Real Wisdom
P: +61 45 736 9599


My Idea for TMR in 2020                                                Name:

What? Describe your idea in 2 lines or less


Why? Why you feel this is important, in 3 lines or less



How? What will need doing, what resources are required, in 4 lines or less



When? How long will it take to complete, or how long will a first stage or two take (in longer term ideas), in 2 lines maximum