Pandanus Springs property has three dwellings; these are humble but consistent with outback living needs off-grid. It is one of 13 blocks located within Solar Village, a communally-managed property of 120 ha located approximately 35 km south-east of Darwin.
There are great places for those seeking solitude and camping options accessible within Solar Village, with rainforest along the creek line, an adjacent flood plain with large trees, a levee of jungle thicket reaching up the slope to a tropical woodland healthy with mid and lower storey, all which are home to rare and wonderful flora and fauna.
Formed in 1979, Solar Village experiments with new and resilient modes of living off-grid. Landowners here have preserved the natural vegetation in undisturbed condition. There is little clearing, some garden beds, and no cats or dogs. Since the last of the annual fires in 1979, the goal of fire exclusion has largely been achieved.
Fire is a major factor in the Top End. Annual rainfall average is 1695 mm, approximately 90% of which falls in the wet season (November to April). As the dry season commences, a massive curing of the savanna grassland begins, and much of the Top End is burnt by annual grass fires. In a rehabilitative effort at Solar Village, a fire exclusion experiment was initiated. Fires are suppressed, weeds managed while very little native planting or watering has taken place; a rigorous experiment of natural recruitment. Numerous scientific studies have taken place at Solar Village, some of which have underpinned further research that have contributed to the new industries such as carbon abatement and ecosystem services.
Solar Village was founded by a renowned environmental campaigner known only as Strider. He helped many campaigns and causes, including the establishment of the Northern Territory Environment Centre, was an anti-nuclear campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, an independent candidate and unofficial shadow minister for the environment, a radical free thinker and a prolific writer. From 1975 Strider took daily observations and kept detailed notes in an almanac. Later in life he used blogs and social media. Strider passed away December 2015. His lifetime’s written work is held by the Northern Territory Library. His legacy will live on in Sunshower Communications Library at Solar Village, which holds other collected works, distributes information consistent with the themes of his work, hosts events and meetings, and provides a valuable space where people can visit, stay, create and connect with this important ecological and aesthetic landscape.