Pandanus Springs

 

Pandanus Springs is located within Solar Village, a communally managed property of 120 ha divided into 13 blocks, located approximately 35 km south-east of Darwin. Formed in 1979, Solar Village experiments with new and resilient modes of living off-grid. Landowners have preserved the natural vegetation in undisturbed condition. There is little clearing, some garden beds, and cats and dogs are not kept. Since the last of the annual fires in 1979, the goal of fire exclusion has largely been achieved.

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 and 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.

There are presently three dwellings, all are extremely humble, complimentary to outback living expectations. Many grand places for those seeking solitude and camping options are found within Solar Village, which features rainforest along the creek line, an adjacent flood plain with large trees, a levee of jungle thicket reaching up slope to a tropical woodland healthy with mid and lower story, all which are home to rare and wonderful flora and fauna.

Environmental campaigner Colin Strider (known as Strider) founded Solar Village. Strider helped many campaigns and causes, including the establishment of the Northern Territory Environment Centre, anti-nuclear campaigner for Australian Conservation Foundation, independent candidate and unofficial shadow minister for the environment, a radical free thinker and prolific writer. From 1975 he took daily observations and keep detailed notes in an almanac. Later in life he used blogs and social media before passing away December 2015. His life’s original 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 and distributes information consistent with the themes of Strider’s 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.

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