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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Exploring Mt Toolebewong




Mt Toolebewong is a peak at the western end of the Donna Buang Massif, 55 km east of Melbourne.

It is within the Yarra Ranges National Park, overlooking the wine growing areas of the Yarra Valley.

The summit is at 744 m, snow covered in winter.

Up to the 1920s, the mountain was heavily logged, and a timber tramway carried logs to the Lilydale-Warburton railway, at the settlement of Woori Yallock.

The muncipality of Mt Toolebewong is unique, dominated by the Moora Moora cooperative residential community.

This is an enclave, made up of a diverse group of about 50 adults and 20 children. These people have deliberately chosen to live together in six small hamlets located on a beautiful co-operatively owned 245 hectare property on the mountain.

Convential residential properties on large blocks surround the Cooperative.

In the community, power is generated locally by wind generators and solar arrays - there is no connection to the States's electricity supply grid.

Earth Heart, the Moora Moora Sustainable Festival, is an annual event, attracting hundreds of visitors, and supported by the Yarra Ranges Shire.

Moora Moora is a participant in the 'Willing Workers on Organic Farms' (WWOOF) scheme. International and Australian members of the WWOOF scheme are welcome to stay at Moora Moora as guest workers. They have an opportunity to work with members and residents of the community, to experience and observe the lifestyle, and to enjoy the Australian bush environment. WWOOFs stay in the spacious community Lodge with all amenities such as TV, radio, hot showers, cooking facilities and warm fires. The tennis court, trampoline and swimming dam are enjoyed in leisure time.

Typically WWOOFs work with members in their gardens and vegetable plots and in collecting firewood. They also assist with maintenance work on the co-op farm and facilities such as roads, water supplies, buildings and forest walking trails.

Main access to Mt Toolebewong is via an unsealed, steep, narrow, winding forest road, branching off from the Don Rd, south of the town of Healesville.

I visited this interesting place on March 10, 2008 - the views from the high points across the Yarra Valley towards Melbourne and beyond are outstanding.

It appears that forest hiking trails exist near the Cooperative and nearby Lodge, but these were not located, and commercial maps do not show them.

Further information about Moora Moora is at
http://mooramoora.org/index.htm

Please see my Photos of ths trip

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