By Christine Farrugia and Scott Goldie
The weekend of Friday 5th to Sunday 7th September 2014 saw approximately seventy Strawbale enthusiasts converge on Adelaide, Australia for the inaugural Ausbale Strawbale Building Conference. It was the gathering of an interesting group of people in a very special venue. Attendees included architects, engineers, builders, homeowners and people with strawbale building as a common passion.
The venue for first two days was at the purpose built St Paul’s Lutheran Church Strawbale Hall in Ferryden Park, South Australia. It was a community build overseen by the current Pastor Bryce Clarke. It is an absolute testimony to what a community can achieve when they come together! Bryce has said “the hall works very well for them.” The hall is used by Fred’s van (providing meals to the less privileged), outreach programs, and Disabilities SA, to name a few.
The programme was full to the brim with presentations about a vast array of subjects; from the health benefits of building with straw, to the many types of renders available, to the different types of timber work usable, to issues that may arise and how to fix them. The myriad of topics made the conference appealing to both the experts and the dilettantes present. After a day jam-packed with the various talks, Friday and Saturday concluded with 2 documentaries by Heidi Snell about the advancement of straw bale building in Germany.
On Sunday, the participants visited Christie’s Walk, an urban village development in the Adelaide CBD, which combines ecologically sustainable and community enhancing principles. The second house tour for the day was a magnificent strawbale house in the Adelaide beachside suburb of Brighton.
The conference promoted networking between strawbale enthusiasts of all levels of experience, from all over Australia and New Zealand. For many, it was a place to share their knowledge and experience and for others it was the perfect venue to fine-tune ideas for future designs. To find out more about the weekend and any other events coming up visit www.strawbuildingconference.tumblr.com or their Facebook page (Strawbale Building Conference SA 2014).
The weekend was well received by all participants who were very receptive to all the information presented over the weekend. The committee acknowledges and thanks the sponsors, presenters and attendees who contributed to make the weekend a success.
The conference also hosted the Ausbale AGM which saw a passing of the guard with Ian Redfern (NZ) handing over the reigns to incoming President Lance Kairl (SA). Many representatives across Australia and New Zealand were also voted in. For more information on Ausbale including membership enquiries please visit the website www.ausbale.org.
Ausbale is currently in the process of organising an international strawbale building conference which will take place in New Zealand in 2016, for more information as it progresses visit http://www.strawbuildconference.co.nz/ or search for their facebook page (ISBC NZ 2016).