Commonground Co-operative

Basic Information
Commonground is an Intentional Social Change community established in the early eighties. The founders were a small group of social activists exploring their best collective contribution to the creation of a just, nonviolent and sustainable world.
Year founded: 
Community size: 
10 to 20


Yellow Box Road
Seymour, VIC
See map: Google Maps
General Information
Commonground founding members worked in the Community Sector and had been involved in a range of Social Action groups addressing various social issues of the time. Most such groups were poorly resourced and struggled to work at their optimum effectiveness. In contrast, well funded organizations had access to greater services to support them and opportunities for reflective time out, training, consultation, facilitation and other resources.

It was decided to provide a resource in the country to directly support groups and organizations working, (broadly speaking), for nonviolent social change. The intention was to help such groups maximize their particular social change endeavors.

In parallel to the idea of developing a resource centre and support services for the community sector and social change movement was a growing interest in the contribution of Intentional Communities to Social Change. We felt that, for the sake of the planet, humans needed to learn how to live more co-operatively and lightly on the land and to share their resources. We decided to live as an Intentional Community while developing the Social Change resource services.

The 95 acre property near Seymour was bought and the legal entity of Commonground established in 1984. With much passion and idealism, a great deal of naïve optimism, and not much else we began creating the realities of our vision.

We raised funds from many sources and built a 102 s building for use by both residents and guests, grappled with the complexities of living in community, raised our children together, ran the Commonground venue and facilitated a wide range of workshops and training - no trouble at all!

It has been, and continues to be an incredible journey.

Vision: A just, nonviolent and sustainable world based on collaborative processes.

1. To place Commonground’s resources at the service of creating our Vision.
2. To develop a vibrant Intentional Community.
3. To work collaboratively in order to maximise the impact of our endeavours.
Contact Information
Contact person name: 

Phil Bourne

Phone number: 

(03) 5793 8257

Physical Details
Area of land: 
30-40 hectares
Number of dwellings: 
less than 5
Community Assets and Features
Shared facilities and features: 
community gardens or farms
Social Considerations
Resources offered by Commonground include:

Rural conference venue near Seymour
The inviting mud brick ‘Wedge’ is available for groups to use with catering provide or with self catering by special arrangements. There are 29 beds in shared rooms. Showers and toilets are separate. There is a fully equipped kitchen and pleasant dining room. The large gathering room has curved mud brick walls and is a very inspiring room to work in. All the usual audio-visual equipment is available. The setting is 95 acres of bush land 100 kms from Melbourne.

If you would like to make further enquiries about using the Commonground venue contact the venue managers by email; or by phoning 57938257

Facilitation and training
Through the Groupwork Institute (GIA) our training base in Melbourne Commonground offers group facilitation for groups using Commonground or working elsewhere. We also provide a range of training and custom designed workshops especially around collaborative group processes. The Groupwork Institute also offers an Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation and a Diploma of Collaborative Management.

For further information about facilitation or training see the GIA website www., email or call Cheryle on 03)94438500

Special events with a social change focus
From time to time Commonground has special events and gatherings. These may include Intentional Community gatherings, fund raisers for particular groups, social change festivals etc. These are usually advertised through the relevant social change group’s mailing lists.

Various other direct supports to assist social change groups in their endeavors
Such support is given via our particular relationships with groups we are involved with.
Percentage of food grown on-site: 
20 percent
Shared meals: 

Evening meals are always available to be shared, but not compulsory. There is an expectation for sharing cooking and clean up responsibilities. Other meals are more individual but sometimes shared.

Dietary customs and restrictions: 

Tend towards vegetarian but not compulsory; however an expectation of respect for those who choose vegan or vegetarian options. No specific alcohol restrictions.

Governing and Financing
We use and teach consensus decision making, with a model of delegated areas of responsibility. Decisions are brought to the appropriate meeting according to the level of importancew of the decision.
Financing Style: 

Information upon request.

Labour contribution: 

Information upon request.