Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)


13 November 2011

By Leigh Duxson, Woden See-Change

What a large and enthusiastic group of people arrived for the OBFT at Andrew and Tracy’s house in Mawson (at least 25) last Sunday and what an impressive range of items to see.

Andrew handed out the three page summary of their house and garden and we sat around the fire pit entertaining area at the front under the shade of a large eucalypt whilst he explained what the house and garden had been like and how they had changed it in the six years they have been living there.

And what changes; with Andrew in charge of infrastructure and Tracy in charge of plantings the site has been transformed.  The front garden is beautiful with semi enclosed raised vegetable beds, flower beds, espaliered fruit trees on an open wire fence supported by vertical sleepers with paths and the reclaimed Canberra red brick entertaining area. Plus some more fruit trees around the side and rear.  At the rear there were also new wire structures ready for fruiting vines and down the bottom of the garden chickens were roaming in their fenced off area.

With an 11,000 litre water tank, grey water, storm water soaks, french drain and a pond to support the garden and an automatic watering system to water it, the growth is impressive.  The land is designed to ensure virtually all rainwater is collected and used on site.

The house sadly faces east/west with few northern windows but has been well insulated and sealed including timber framed double glazed windows (with low e coating and Argon gas fill).  This has substantially reduced their energy bill and made the house very comfortable to live in.  The wall insulation has also significantly reduced their summer heat build up and a grape growing on the western wall together with a window shade will also help to improve summer performance.  A fan over their bed will be added this summer to further aid cooling in summer evenings.

Their internal changes include a kitchen using a recycled timber benchtop and sink.

Andrew and Tracy are living a sustainable life in every way they can and are enjoying the experience. Thank you for showing us your home.

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government