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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Thank a volunteer

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River hosts the annual Thank a Volunteer celebration as an opportunity to recognise and thank the volunteers who work across 230 active local volunteer organisations in the Augusta Margaret River Shire. 
Lynda Donovan (second from left) was recognised as the Volunteer of the Year for her work with River Angels, the cancer charity she established five years ago.  (Photo Deb Chambers)

Three members of our Transition Margaret River network received a Certificate of Appreciation at the Shire’s annual Thank a Volunteer celebration at the HEART on 10 December 2020.

From left: Jane Hilton, Karen Majer, Lyn Serventy Photo Alice Love, MR Camera Club

Shire President Ian Earl read a summary of the information provided in each nomination form.


Jane has volunteered her time to help with the Margaret River Library courtyard garden.

Jane has shared her expertise in designing the garden that has become a delight to all who visit. Jane attends to the garden on a weekly basis and shares her knowledge and skills with the local community.  

Thank you, Jane for your service.


Karen is an active volunteer for Transition MR, AMR Community Alliance, Owl Friendly Margaret River, Climate Action, Giant Light Steps and Nannas for Native Forests.

Karen ongoing work in connecting and motivating the local community to work together for a more connected and sustainable life is to be congratulated.

Karen’s passion, drive, experience, knowledge and skills applied with her friendly, positive and energetic nature make her an inspirational role model.

Thank you, Karen for your service.


For four decades Lyn has served the community of the Augusta Margaret River Shire.

Lyn has a long list of volunteering experiences (too many to mention tonight) including two periods as a Councillor and two years as Deputy Shire President in the Augusta Margaret River Shire.

Her volunteering includes action on issues of importance to the local community including environment, education, planning for the future of the Shire, sustainability and renewable energy.

Above all Lyn is compassionate, caring and committed. The local community is blessed to have her support in building a more resilient, sustainable and caring community.

Thank you, Lyn for your service.

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Death and dying matters: 2020 report

Dear DDM Members
I hope you all got through the Covid-19 Lock-down period intact.  It took some getting used to and in many ways it became a good opportunity to slow right down,  be less busy and reflect.

Looking back,  it seems an age since we held our last DDM Community Meeting at the Church Gallery in February this year where we innocently and enthusiastically announced our plans for the year ahead.   As you know, meetings large and small were put on hold indefinitely.  During those weeks we connected via the Diary in the Time of Covid-19 where we discovered our members’ hidden talents and skills.  Thanks to all who braved it and shared their stories, dreams, poetry and pictures.  
Once the strict lockdown period had eased we set about formalising our structure as a logical next step. We joined ConnectGroups as an affiliate member and unincorporated association.  The benefits of membership are that we can obtain advice and mentoring as we progress and develop,   We  can avail of  training to cover such aspects as governance and succession planning, web presence etc.  Additionally we are eligable to apply for necessary funding, administered by ConnectGroups.   We are featured on their  websites and directory for contact by their membership.  To join it was necessary for us to  appoint an interim board:  

Chair: Mary Flynn,  Vice-Chair:  Anita Haywood, Treasurer: Greg Skyles, Acting Secretary: April Jenkins as well as two Committee members.

These  appointments effective until February 2021 when we will hold our AGM and you the membership can nominate and vote for the member of your choice to fill each position. Additionally, our  new  Events Coordinator:  Paul Barlow has been busy.  

In April DDM members  chose our logo as designed  by Chris Young,  DDM member, and Artist whose exhibition “Eight: the Shift” was featured at The Heart for several months this year and currently at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.  

Following feedback from the survey we sent to members it was clear that you wanted more publicity about DDM to be widely available and also to be able to receive hard copies of information normally available online.  Lance Brandes  of the group:  Be Prepared … for peace of mind and Kym Walker of Choices you have at time of death can provide you with paperwork and information sheets  in hard copy about any aspect you wish to know about.

RIP Café has been held monthly on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 1:00pm -2:30pm at the MR Community Centre and quarterly (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec) on 2nd Friday of the month at 1:00pm in Augusta at the Uniting Church Hall.

Burial Option Anita Haywood confirms that the Natural Burial Ground for Augusta Margaret River is to be located at the Karridale Cemetery, as indicated by the Augusta Margaret River Shire.    There is still much to be done before this is formally announced as the region’s natural burial ground.   However it is a positive indication that matters are proceeding favourably.

Cowaramup Coffin Club is temporarily inactive due to the retirement of it Instructor/Mentor Kevan Gray for health reasons.  Kevan has been an an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the Coffin Club Crew and helped three of us to complete our natural untreated pine caskets – currently being used for very sensible undertakings!  Cowaramup Coffin Club also made some coffins for emergency use in the community.   Peter Clews has agreed to bring the matter of continuing to offer the Coffin Club in 2021 to the Committee of the Cowaramup Mens’ Shed in January. 

This month we held our first public event, presented by the Margaret River Library and hosted by DDM.  It was a well attended evening, generating wide interest, particularly about Advance Care Planning.   The Library plans to hold a future event in 2021.

We are now online-  our website is still under construction but it’s a start!  Check us out at:   Thanks to Greg Skyles for his expertise.  We also produced a limited number of DDM Brochures; layout, design and photography thanks to  Chris Young; and editing to Paul and Greg.

Please note for your diary for 2021:     Our first Death & Dying Matters Community Get-Together:
Venue:  Church Gallery,   Margaret River Community Centre

When: Saturday 6 February 2021 3 pm – 4:30 pm Refreshments provided

Finally,  Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all our members and may 2021 bring health, peace and happy times!  We are looking forward to seeing you in February!  
Warmest wishes, Mary

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Augusta Margaret River Community Alliance


A community-led move aims to create a more resilient and locally-focused community as we come out of COVID-19 restrictions.

At the beginning of the “lockdown”, a small group began ZOOM conversations. “What good things do we want to take forward from the COVID period as we return to more usual ways of living and interacting? What vision do we have for the “new normal”? How can our community recover and become more resilient in the future, able to withstand disruptions such as economic downturn, tourism fluctuations, further coronavirus outbreaks, natural disasters and impacts of climate change?

The group was comprised of people with connections to a number of local community volunteer groups and with diverse backgrounds spanning economics, environment, health and all aspects of sustainability.

They realised the current crisis offers an opportunity to build resilience and create change for the better. They also recognised that volunteers play a large part in community strength and that many groups are struggling with limited resources, burnout and lack of coordination.

A small community workshop, limited by COVID restrictions on gathering, was held on 22 May 2020 to bring together expertise in economics, business, tourism, environment, sustainability, health, fitness, mental health, arts, climate change, energy, social and cultural, and local governance and resilience.

The purpose was to discuss and work towards a joint vision for the “new normal” and develop practical initiatives for COVID-19 recovery and transition to resilience for the Augusta Margaret River community. 

As a result, the group formed a fledgling new alliance, the Augusta Margaret River Community Alliance (AMR CA), to bring together volunteer groups, community organisations and members dedicated to creating a more resilient community.

As a first step, and with a tight five-day timeline driven by the desire to present a proposal to the AMR Shire Council to coincide with budget deliberations, the workshop members agreed on a vision and series of recommendations.


The vision of a resilient Augusta Margaret River is a community that has the capacity to withstand crises and has the necessary perspective and strengths to recover and grow from adversity. This is a community that can create positive change, adapt and thrive when change is forced upon us, a healthy, fair, connected community supported by a healthy natural environment that provides a safe haven for people and nature.

Community resilience is not sustainable if it serves only us, and only now; future generations, and the interrelated ecosystems on which we all depend, are also taken into account. 

A key part of the vision is a fair, locally-focused, circular and sustainable economy in the widest sense, with water, energy and food security, climate resilience, creation of secure and meaningful local jobs while improving the environment, and with local money that circulates many times within the community to sustain and multiply its economic impact.


Recommendations for community development “post COVID” were a first step in securing that vision. They included a Community Resilience fund to strengthen community groups and networks, and build community capacity. The fund can support initiatives linked to food security, regenerative agriculture, cooperatives, localism, volunteer support, business mentoring, entrepreneur incubator, health, fairness and inclusiveness, and others as relevant and evolving in building a resilient community.

The recommendations also included practical steps to recovery through a small loan scheme for renewable energy, mobilising the Shire’s environmental fund reserves to undertake environmental restoration and enable more jobs and training in this area. Other proposals involve supporting the development of social housing, a local currency and a scheme to disperse small grants to individual artists and art collectives/ collaborations to engage with the broader community as a social response of re-connection, resilience and healing post COVID-19 restrictions.


The Augusta Margaret River Community Alliance is now Incorporated with Liability Insurance, ready to take the next steps. These include setting up an administrative and membership structure and wider involvement in developing the Alliance and broad community involvement in the vision and steps to redesign our future for the better.


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Live Local Month November 2020

A LOCAL-IS-More celebration of all things local in the Augusta Margaret River Region


Caro bannister’s card making




Scott Wise and Gary Burke


Ilya Hastings, Brewhouse
Janine Carter, Voyager Estate
Gene Hardy, Cape to Cape Tours
Gene Hardy accepts an Owl Friendly HERO award from Boyd Wykes




Dr Stephanie Godrich ECU
Dr Laura Stocker (L) with speakers Jo Wren and Kate Tarrant (Lower Blackwood LCDC) and Dr Stephanie Godrich
Sally Hays, Community Pantry


Wadandi Cultural Custodian Zac Webb with participants

OWL FRIENDLY MARGARET RIVER REGION – Locals caring for local wildlife seminar at the HEART

Dr Mike Lohr
Dr Boyd Wykes


Yen Hawkes, Margaret River Asian Eats
Suzanne, Janny, Julie, Vincent
Making Chaircrows
Britta (R) and
Julie – yummy Asian noodles!
and one from the aussies!!!


Zac, Toni and Wayne Webb
Ann and the Nannas for Native Forests
Melina and Anu
Boyd – Owl Friendly Margaret River Region
Nannas for Native Forests sing the Nannas Anthem

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Just Home Margaret River awarded funding for homelessness work

Media Release: For immediate publication

18 September 2020

Just Home Margaret River Inc has been awarded a grant of $180,000 from The Ian Potter Foundation for its work to address homelessness in the Augusta-Margaret River region. The funding will be used over the next three years to implement a Housing Information and Referral Service, engage with relevant South West agencies to support AMR community members, implement a life skills training program, and develop strategic partnerships to facilitate the development of social housing in the region. The Ian Potter Foundation grant is complemented by other funding from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and local community groups.

Dr Naomi Godden, Chair of Just Home Margaret River, said, “Just Home is very thankful to The Ian Potter Foundation for supporting our work. Homelessness and housing stress are serious and prevalent issues in our community, and are worsened by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding enables us to keep our doors open and work with our community, partners and stakeholders to address and prevent homelessness”.

The grant is awarded following the success of Just Home’s Housing Advocacy Project 2017-2023. During this project, Just Home provided information, referrals and advocacy support to more than 100 community members and their families experiencing homelessness or at high risk of homelessness. Many of these community members improved their housing situation with Just Home’s support.   

Just Home is currently recruiting a part-time skilled Coordinator with a commitment to housing justice to steer the organisation through this next phase. People who are interested in this role can apply via Seek at this link –

About Just Home Margaret River Inc: Just Home Margaret River Inc. is a grassroots volunteer-led movement for housing justice based on Wardandi Boodja in the Augusta-Margaret River local government area (total population 14,500). Just Home is led by community members with current or previous experience of homelessness, in partnership with community members concerned about social injustice. People with lived experience of homelessness, family and domestic violence, and poverty are involved in every decision that we make and every action that we undertake.

About The Ian Potter Foundation: The Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s major philanthropic foundations. The Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working to benefit the community across a wide range of sectors including the arts, medical research, public health research, early childhood development, community wellbeing and environmental science. The Ian Potter Foundation aims to support and promote a healthy, vibrant, fair and sustainable Australia.


For more information, please contact Just Home Margaret River Chair, Dr Naomi Godden, 0407 776 815.