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Re: GSBN:An Australian "Odd"essy

Dear GSBNers...

During the last 24 hours we've moved from -15 to +5 degrees celsius.
This means that there is now connection through the digital pipeline. 
I want to use this opportunity to join in on Chris Magwood's quick report.

It was a truly amazing experience. It was full on, intense, well organized, packed with good people, professionally rewarding, and absolutely worth travelling so long for.

Thank you John.



Chris Magwood cmagwood@... wrote:
> Hello GSBNers,
> As many of you generously donated funds toward my flight
> costs for going to
> Australia, I thought I'd give you a quick report on the
> conference. Much
> more detailed coverage is forthcoming in TLS#41, but I
> didn't want you all
> to have to wait that long...
> As you've doubtlessly heard, the conference was quite a
> success. There were
> over 100 participants, with about 40 of those being
> international guests.
> The Aussie contingent was a good mix of seasoned pros,
> owner-builders, and
> hopeful owner-builders.
> The Spirit of John Glassford set the tone for the entire
> affair, which
> means it managed to be laid back and "No worries, mate" and
> yet still have
> a positive forward momentum.
> Our conference days were split, with the mornings involving
> a bus ride from
> the Charles Sturt campus in Wagga Wagga to glorious Ganmain
> (home of the
> infamous Ganmain pies (have you digested yours yet, Lars?))
> and a 3-hour
> flurry of building activity on the Hall of Conciliation. It
> was quite
> something to see a building set upon by 100+ eager workers!
> What could have
> been pure chaotic mess managed to be pure chaotic
> accomplishment. In the
> mere 20 hours available to work on the building, we managed
> to go from an
> unprepared gravel bed to a finished structure (well, pretty
> darn close to
> finished... there are carvings on the doors!). The idea of
> creating a
> building during a conference was a stroke of pure genius. As
> we all know,
> there is no better way to creat an immediate and strong
> community spirit
> than to build with one another, and this was certainly the
> case in Ganmain.
> Upon arriving back in Wagga, the Straw Wolf gave the tired
> and dirty
> participants no time for rest. We dove right into the
> presentation of
> papers, which extended over three sessions from
> mid-afternoon until
> mid-evening. The presentations were grouped according to
> loose themes,
> including Owner/builders, Engineering, Materials,
> Architectural, and
> Sustainability. A full list of speakers and summaries will
> be in TLS#41.
> Keynote speakers included David Eisenberg and Bruce King
> who, as usual,
> wowed the crowd with their trademark insights and humility!
> Joyce Coppinger and I spent a lot of our time promoting The
> Last Straw via
> a table in the refreshments area. It was encouraging to see
> how well-known
> and highly regarded The Last Straw is among bale enthusiasts
> from all over
> the world. At the same time, it was a bit discouraging to
> note how few
> people are actually subscribers! I think this is a common
> problem TLS needs
> to address, and Joyce and I spent a lot of time discussing
> strategies for
> increasing our subscriber base with potential subscribers.
> As a result, we
> are putting a lot of effort into offering electronic
> subscriptions as soon
> as possible (with the help of Bill on the technical front).
> The cost of
> overseas subscriptions was the most frequently-cited reason
> for people not
> subscribing, so we hope that eliminating printing and
> mailing costs will
> mean we can offer the same content at a lower price (and
> save a bunch of
> trees, too!).
> As with any conference, the main highlight is the
> opportunity to meet
> people and network, and this was certainly the case in Oz.
> For me,
> personally, it was an opportunity to connect with many
> regular contributors
> to TLS and put a face to a name, as well as an opportunity
> to cajole and
> harrass a whole new contingent of potential TLS
> contributors. In order to
> maximize my time at the conference, I made the mistake of
> trying to stay up
> at night at least as late as David Eisenberg, which meant I
> was averaging
> about 3 hours of sleep, but it was all for a good cause!
> To feel like a member of a thriving, exciting international
> community meant
> I came home rejuvenated and excited about all this bale
> stuff, and I think
> most of the participants felt the same way. I'm glad I got
> the opportunity
> to go, and I'd like to offer a deep and heartfelt tip of the
> hat to John
> and Susan, whose efforts and personalities made the whole
> thing "click".
> Cheers,
> Chris
> ***************************
> Chris Magwood / Camel's Back Straw Bale Construction
> http://www.strawhomes.ca
> Interested in bale building? Have you subscribed to
> The Last Straw Journal?
> You should!
>  http://www.strawhomes.com
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Lars Keller
Friland 12 B
8410 R¿nde