Peter – this massive, slightly stubborn, always adorable Harvard graduate, one cylinder man-engine – has built a true accomplishment in a very remote bush location. He is regularly visited by international artists, environmentalists, thinkers, poets, and wayward travelers. He is frequently interviewed, video-taped, and written about concerning his artistic site-specific work and building of Windgrove. This recent short video from a series about Tasmania is perfect. It is simply Peter talking directly about his work. Check it out.
However, Peter is a long time deep friend of mine for over 30 years and I wanted to see him, the individual. I want the back story as much as the front story. This photo of his complex at Roaring Beach speaks volumes to me. Click “Continue Reading” to get a short description of what this photo illustrates. Click the photo to see the details.
First off, the whole thing is built so it can’t be seen from the beach. The occasional surfer, beach comber, or boater, doesn’t know that anything is here. He does not impact on others’ view. You can see the Peace Bus that Peter purchased when he bought the land. He drove it out here, parked it, and lived in it for 8 years without electricity, water, toilets, or phone. During this time he built an outdoor woodworking studio and eventually decks, house, saunas, baths, etc. He planted 9,000 trees by hand. You can see his solar panels that he uses to power everything. A shipping container holds the batteries. All his water comes from collecting rainwater off the roof (As I write this he is currently scampering around on the roof cleaning it in case it rains. Oh, did I say he turns 70 in 6 months?). He has close to 10 huge water tanks and has put in 5 dams. Brush fires are a huge problem and everyone keeps ponds of water ready to fight fire. It doesn’t freeze here, so pipes and hoses are everywhere connecting water to everything. He has 3 petrol powered pumps and 3 more electric generators. Out here, to survive, you pretty much have to improvise and do everything yourself.
The large low flat roofed grey structure is his garden – entirely covered to keep possums out. In front of the Peace Bus you can see his geodesic-like domes to protect his blueberries. And of course, Peter being Peter, off to the far far left is one of the best and most well-constructed tennis courts on the planet.