Project wrap-up, and Vale Tony Nicholas

This blog exists as a record of this project, that existed from 2008 to 2011. It documents the how and why of retrofit modifications made to these public buildings, the building of the community wood-fired oven, and also some of the events that were run.

Many people contributed and participated, but the contribution of Tony Nicholas deserves particular mention. Tony was an active committee member who later served as Chair of the project through to completion. Tony brought his experience and enthusiasm for home energy efficiency retrofitting, and among his practical contributions he introduced us to heat reflective paint, was active with data logging of temperatures in the various buildings to monitor their performance, and interviewed tradespeople about what they learned through working on the retrofit.  Already in his eighties, he was up and down ladders mounting data logging thermometers, climbing up on the roof, anywhere he needed to be.
Tony Nicholas with solar installer Matt, March 2010

As project Chair Tony was impressive for his easy, light-hearted and enthusiastic style that ensured we met formal accountability requirements without these ever seeming like the primary aim. His focus and energy were always directed toward doing the best possible job of the task at hand. It was remarkable to have a project Chair who undermined the formality of meetings with humour and anecdotes, that were in fact relevant.  But it was only through talking to his daughter Sarah in 2014 that I learned he had done something like that wherever he worked.

Tony died at home in Violet Town in October 2014, with his family around him.

David Arnold

Eco Buildings, food and forestry in a small country town

Walking tours and site visits

Groups can arrange to visit the retrofitted community buildings to see the works described on this blog. We also sometimes conduct village walking tours, which include the retrofitted community buildings, wood-fired oven, community forest, energy efficient homes, and Murrnong Permaculture Farm. 
To discuss a possible group visit, contact David Arnold 03 5798 1679,, or Robin Landvogt, 03 5798 1735,  [Tours of Murrnong Permaculture Farm are held more often, contact David directly about these.] Below are the details of a previous village walking tour.

Walking Tour, 11am to 3pm, Sunday August 21st 2011

The tour advertised as part of the Festival of Design on Sunday 24th July has booked out. This event on Sunday 21st August has the same format. Bookings/ enquiries to, ph 03 5798 1679

Come for a tour of Violet Town sustainability initiatives with local permaculture designer and teacher David Arnold, and see how much even a small rural community can achieve in just a few years.
Visit the energy efficiency retrofit of the community buildings, a volunteer-driven creek restoration project, two energy efficient houses, the Violet Town Community Forest, and Murrnong Permaculture Farm, all by easy walking from the centre of town and the train station. For each element of the tour, David, and the householders visited, will discuss how they interact with their house/ building/ forest/farm to achieve energy efficiency, productivity, and a high standard of amenity. A lunch of local produce is included with the tour.
To live more sustainably we need to observe and interact with our environment. We need to actively manage our own houses, our shared public buildings, our public open spaces, our food supply, and in Violet Town they are even providing for their own forestry products.
The design strategies discussed all require some active management, are evolving and changing over time, and are responsive to changing circumstances.

Tour starts at Violet Town Community Complex, 37 Cowslip St, Violet Town, 11am.

For train travellers we will fit in with the Vline service that arrives at 11.09, and have you back in time to catch the 2.41.

$30/ adults, $15/ children Bookings/ enquiries to, 03 5798 1679
Presented by Violet Town Action Group.