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Gondwana Sanctuary is a residential community located near Byron Bay on the sub-tropical east coast of Australia. It is situated two kilometres from Tyagarah beach with wonderful views from east to west of Cape Byron and Mount Warning.
Gondwana is a mature community with a well-defined vision of community and spiritual life. Its inspiration derives from a variety of eastern spiritual traditions, and in particular from Osho and his vision of love, meditation, celebration and awakening.
We hold meditations, working bees, community meals, and other community events. We have an openness to personal and spiritual growth as a core value, and endeavour to achieve a harmonious balance between the individual and the community. Community decisions are to a large extent made by consensus. For most community members, it is probably true to say that their personal lives, interests and careers have increased in importance over the twenty-three years of the community, but the community life of Gondwana Sanctuary remains a constant presence and inspiration.
Gondwana is an active wildlife sanctuary, the residents having restored what was cattle pasture to a flourishing natural environment. There has been over the life of the community an extensive program of environmental repair and regeneration, and the majority of the total land area is being progressively revegetated.
Gondwana currently has 14 shareholders - that is, community members who own a dwelling on one of the 10 residential sites. The average age of the shareholders is now over sixty. In addition, there are approximately 15 guests and long-term residents, who tend to be younger, and who either live in the Community House, or in one of the residential dwellings.
19 July 2011 - Community Title
As of this date, Gondwana Sanctuary is now registered as a Community Title property, and its official title is now the Gondwana Sanctuary Neighbourhood Association.
This change from Multiple Occupancy to Community Title offers an improved legal structure for Gondwana, including separate land titles for each dwelling site which will enable us to raise mortgages on dwelling sites. We have been working towards this for over ten years now, so greet this final registration with a great sense of relief (as well as a great feeling of exhaustion).
26 June 2011 - Jann, the Mountain Man
Jann, a resident at Gondwana for much of the last few years, suffered a stroke on Wednesday,
the 22nd June, and passed away on Sunday the 26th June in the loving presence of his partner, Yuti, and a number of his closest friends.
His friends from Gondwana and from elsewhere in Byron Shire, gathered in the Gondwana meditation hall on the following Sunday to celebrate his life and spiritual journey. Jann's philosophy was to "harmonise with the planet, to share with family and community, to create and enjoy spontaneity, love and humour."
We all send our deepest sympathy to Yuti and his mother, brother, sister and other relatives.
Jann Whiting Subiaco
Born January 9 th 1944 - died June 26 th 2011
Born Jan Bowen Whiting, he later added the name of his birthplace Subiaco, a suburb of Perth , W.A., where his Australian mother Joyce Adderley Bowen had met his American father, Billy Jones Whiting, a submariner in the U.S. Navy, recuperating from a war wound from a battle in the Pacific arena. He left Australia with his family when he was one year old moving through various U.S. naval bases including Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, and San Diego. His love for surfing was born at the age of six at Hawaii 's famous Makaha beach. Here in early childhood the artist in Jann was stirred starting with pictures of the brightly coloured fishes. His parents gave him his first Brownie camera when he was eleven. He photographed everything he could "while chasing rattlesnakes and lizards through the cactus filled canyons" above his East San Diego home.
He entered San Diego State University as a maths major but soon realized "while working on the square root of a minus one" in an advanced trigonometry class that "it was all illusion". He changed to Fine Art with Art History as part of the curriculum. "The world came together in a discernible pattern before my eyes; whereas everything before had been facts and dates, having little relevance." This further stimulated his skills as an artist, photographer, stonemason, builder and carpenter; and his lust for travel to enjoy and photograph the many cultures of the world.
His welcome skills as a chef commenced as an assistant cook in a kibbutzim in southern Galilee, and on an oil rig in the East Timor Sea . While managing a kitchen in Rancho Santa Fe at the Wishing Well Hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Kiros Foundation was holding seminars, being an extension of Esalen in Big Sur. Jann's expansive spiritual and philosophical journey was enriched by encounters with Fritz Pearls, the father of Gestalt Therapy, Alan Watts who introduced the notion of Zen-consciousness to the West, and Carl Rogers with his Positive Reinforcement Group Centred Therapy.
Upon graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Fine Arts, his travels kicked in with two surfing friends in a Kombi south through Mexico to Central America , enjoying the sea and photographing. The journey was also "a revelation to worldliness" when he realized that Central America was "a looming disaster with regards to US right wing politics." He saw and experienced things that made him realize that he no longer wanted to live in the US . This was 1969. After four years of travelling, Jann arrived at Darwin, N.T. in 1973.
By now Jann had become a professional photographer, travel guide, and cook. He was particularly drawn to the mystical grandeur of Nature, and the Human Condition in his intimate studies of everyday people in their cultural settings. His travels as a photographer covered the Americas, Europe, North Africa, the Levant, the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and most points east including Burma, China, and Japan, generally travelling rough.
Jann contributed to Tracks Surfing Magazine, Simply Living, Well Being, and the UNESCO-funded Smile Book. He received an award for 'Dick Smith - Antarctica Expedition'. Jann's ethics as a photographer were impeccable; insisting on a Cultural Release clause, whereby he promised to reimburse "100% of any income received from a photograph's usage" should the subject claim misrepresentation in any way.
Jann was based in the Northern Beaches of Sydney in the late eighties, where he married a dancer and mermaid impersonator Joy Manzi-Fe. They divorced in December 1988. Jann moved to Northern NSW in the early nineties, and built his own home in Burringbar.
Jann was 6ft. 4 inches tall, an 'A' Grade Tennis player, horse rider, bushwalker, sailor, yoga devotee, and musician with his guitar and flute. Jann's philosophy was to "harmonize with the planet, to share with family and community, to create and enjoy spontaneity, love and humour."
This he certainly did.
He is survived by his partner Yuti, his Mother Joyce A. Whiting, Brother Jerry Bowen Whiting, and Sister, Pamela J. Whiting-Broeder, married to Eric J. Broeder; Niece Chamomile Meadow, Nephews Cameron and Bowen Whiting; and Aunt Valerie Pennells of Umina Beach, N.S.W.
1 Nov 2010 - A Love Song
Manjula and Paripurn have produced a beautiful little film about the old historical Gondwana.
See Gondwana - A Love Song.
17 Aug 2010 - Voices of Gondwana
Check out Bodhi's compilation Voices of Gondwana on YouTube. This was filmed at Gondwana Sanctuary, and features many members of the community.
22 Jan 2010 - Dru Yoga classes with Yuti
Yuti has recommenced Dru Yoga classes at Gondwana. The classes are held in the Gondwana Meditation Hall, and Yuti is happy at any time to share her love and knowledge of this beautiful sadhana.
For more about Dru Yoga (Stillness in Motion), see here. For class times see the Meditation page.
10 May 2009 - Milli Flies Free
Milli, a long time resident at Gondwana, died on this day, as a result of a tragic accident on the Pacific Highway close to Grays Lane.
IT WAS the most abrupt of deaths for the most peaceful of souls.
Milli O’Nair was killed tragically and instantly on Sunday morning when a young driver hit her bicycle with the rental truck he was driving.
“She was just such a beautiful lady, full of life and doing such great work,” her housemate of three years, Bodha, said.
Friends talked of Milli’s work as a non-violent communication trainer and relationship mediator who was invited across Australia to work with groups, couples and individuals.
She delighted in laughter and in sharing her talents as a laughter yoga practitioner and as a fairy and face painter at local markets and kids’ parties.
“She was a visionary. She had big visions for a peaceful world.”
(www.northernstar.com.au - 12/05/2009)
Please visit the tribute site for Milli to share your messages, wishes, stories and photos.
There is also an NVC Community blog devoted to Milli's work with NVC.
29 April 2008 - Gondwana Calendar of Events
A calendar of Gondwana Events is now available on this website, thanks to Aparimit - see Calendar.
18 Jan 2008 - 21st Birthday Reunion
Gondwana celebrated its 21st birthday with a weekend reunion event. This was highly successful with many previous community shareholders and residents present. Photographs of this event can be found on our Photo Album page.
15 Jan 2008 - Community Title
Byron Shire Council recently approved our development application to convert Gondwana from a Multiple Occupancy development to a Community Title development.
This change to Community Title offers an improved legal structure for Gondwana, including separate land titles for each dwelling site which will enable us to raise mortgages on dwelling sites. We have been working towards this for many years now, so greet this approval with a great sense of relief. There are still a number of consent conditions of the approval which we need to implement, so it is still a little early to bring out the champagne, but it is still an important milestone on this particular journey.