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Julia, Mike and Otis



Straw bale has impressive insulation qualities and can be rendered to enhance bushfire resilience - but don't fall into the trap of thinking it's cheaper or easier than more conventional materials initially!


That's the message from an inspiring family in Kinglake that have overcome tremendous odds in building their gorgeous and very sustainable new home.


Julia was pregnant with Otis at the time of the bushfires so his arrival on the scene is as inspiring as the new home they have built with love.


Mike and Julia were about to move into their first home just as Black Saturday hit.


With Otis on the way, they secured finance and developed the vision for their new home with inspiring resilience.


It incorporates piers from the Waterfront, recycled timber steps, solar hot water and solar photovoltaic panels.


Their lovely sense of artistic design balances with the sustainability features - but it was not easy to achieve.


Watch the video to learn how they patiently delivered on their vision using teams of volunteers at crucial points.


The effort was worth it for this magnificent home.

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The best way to learn about rebuilding more sustainably is from people who have done it already!


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Julia, Mike and Otis talk to Green Cross Australia's CEO Mara Bun about their straw bale home and rebuilding in a more sustainable way post Black Saturday.

Kristen was keen to support the women of Flowerdale after the bushfires, to build morale and have fun in the thick of so many challenges - teaching women to use chainsaws safely is a key way Flowerdale is building resilience.


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