This web version of the March 2003 DTE newsletter has been reformated for viewing on a Computer monitor.  (WE HOPE)
Some non text content has been omitted.
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Easter ConFest

Friday 18 April  to Tuesday 22 April 2003 
at the new site beside the Gulpa Creek. 
Cobb Highway between  Mathoura and Denilquin NSW

The ConFest gate will  open at midday on Thursday 17th of April.
                                          and  close at midday on Wednesday 23rd of April.
In this changing world Down To Earth has regretfully found it necessary to restrict early and late
access to the ConFest site.                                Site Crew will have "Crew passes".
If you would like to join the ConFest crew  and help with setup and pulldown call
03 8302 9958 
This is not a general enquiry line, it is for crew only.
Please call between  9am and 8pm. 

You can email for  crew and all other enquiries.  Also the DTE information line 9506 8753

Over the years the group of people who gave their time, expertise, and energy to make ConFest happen have been refered to by a variety of names. Volunteers & Workers are the two recently used.
Changes in the Co-operatives Act in Victoria restructured DTE, and introduced "ACTIVE"  membership. We have decided to try on a new name for the group of people, who provide the place we call ConFest!



ConFest means different things to different people which is understandable when you consider that the people attending represent the greatest age and socio-economic ranges you will ever come across together in one~gathering.

Babes in arms or carry packs are common. So are prams, kids young and old on pushbikes at varying speeds and degrees of safety to themselves and others through to slow sedate strolls often assisted by walking sticks. The differences in age at ConFest disappear. Smile and say Hi to anyone and they usually smile back.

And around the campfire at night comes the 5 million star restaurant, a sight very rarely seen in the city.

It's also the greatest motor show on earth. Work at front gate while they are pouring in and observe the latest 4WD's, old bangers that would never pass a roadworthy, a nearly new Porsche, a brand new Saab convertible, converted buses that saw service 40 years ago, a limo and pride and joy Holdens twice as old as their owners. They all come to Con Fest.

The range and style of vehicles is huge. So too is the variety of accommodation that spreads around the site. Large family tents, $50 K-Mart specials by the hundreds, mosquito netting covering a hollow tree, to just tarpaulins and bare dirt beneath them.

The economic standing of the campers too is huge from those who could well afford a European holiday every year to those who barely survive between Centrelink cheques

Why does ConFest attract such a diverse range of people? Well, that is the magic of ConFest! So it takes a week at home to get the dirt out from under your toenails and the T shirts you have been wearing are now only good to wash the car with. And trying to sleep on an inner spring mattress between clean sheets near impossible after a week on an airbed in a sleeping bag.

But who cares. Returning to the city after a week of no TV, newspapers, radios, telephones and discovering that the World has gone on quite nicely without you thank you , makes you wonder do we really need traffic lights, road rage, sirens and incessant noise, although drumming at 4.30 am comes close.

Its a week out of your life where words and pictures are simply not adequate. How do you describe atmosphere, serenity, friendships made, escapism and a sense of adventure into areas that were previously unknown to you in your normal life? Work side by side with qualified chefs, plumbers or electricians and soak up the knowledge or just lie on a banana lounge with a book or watching the mobile scenery. The choice is yours.

Whatever you decide to do it is a week out of your life that has no comparison with any other holiday you will ever have.

Max Pascoe

Just Driving in the Mud.

When it rains at ConFest, the ground will turn to mud, mud and more mud. Don't try to drive when the ground has turned to mud. It you must leave then do so before it rains because if you wait for the rain it will be too late to drive out. Thankfully the rain rarely lasts long and the soil dries quickly

The ground from the Car Park (One-way Gate, End of Gypsy) to the front gate is basically silt. When silt is mixed with water it turns to soft mud and you can't drive on soft mud for long. We will try to improve the Main Access Track but disturbed ground needs heavy rain followed by sun to consolidate the soil. Sufficient rain and sun shall not happen prior to Easter.

Plan to accommodate a wet day. Bring extra food if you are providing for yourself, we will find some way to keep the market running. There could be worse things than being stuck at Confest. Let you family, employers and friends know that you could be late due to being rained in at ConFest (what rotten luck, stuck at ConFest).

The Main Access Track can tolerate some water but there becomes a point when the track should be shut as driving on the muddy track pushes the water down into the soil and then it takes a long time to dry out. The track should be shut when it still has some possibility to provide access for emergency vehicles.

Down To Earth  Society  (VIC)  LTD
In 1996 the Victorian Government introduced a new Act governing Co-operative Societys.
The new Act changed the nature of Victorian Co-ops, bringing them into alignment with International  Co-operatives practices.
Before 1996, Victorian Co-ops had been broadly based on capital similar to companies. The Co-op was "owned" by shareholders. Control of the Co-operative was based on ownership of shares. Shareholders could vote at General Meetings, and elect or be elected  directors.
The new Act changed the control of the Co-op from capital ownership, to control by participation.
The Act introduced the concept of "Active Membership". Although there is still a requirement to hold shares, a person cannot retain existing shares or purchase new shares to join the Co-op, without being able to qualify as an Active Member . 
It has been quite a journey, but in Febuary 2003 Down To Earth completed the transformation required by the 1996 new Act.  You can read the DTE rules and access the Victorian Co-operatives Act 1996. on our  web site.
Go to  WWW. You will find the Rules link on the first page.

Mullum Mullum Festival
March April 2003 
for details.

The Object Can Return.
Once upon a time a long last summer ago in a far and distant land between Mathoura and Deniliquin there was a gathering of the people.  The people gathered with good intent and a lot of love and did seek a suitable location for their accommodation within the preferred metropolis of the far and distant land.  Upon locating the suitable location the people dragged their many possessions on wheeled chariots across the vast and barren landscape to their suitable location and dumped the wheeled chariot nearby.

The people erected their own accommodation in that fair land.  For it is truly said that those who erect their own accommodation may reside within for the best part of a week and thus it was so.  The erecting of the accommodation required the fetching of many implements from a far and distant kingdom known as Information.  Rakes were required to clear incredible vast tracks of land, straw was required to cover vast tracks of cleared land, water pipe was required to suspend things from trees as it may be bad karma to use rope and far for desirable to waste some water pipe, wire is required for strange past times best left unspoken about but I am told it is similar to wet parsley and an egg beater.  The no longer required items must be dumped nearby to prevent others from accessing the items.

After the fun of the gathering, the accommodations are folded and carried to the chariots of fire often without a wheeled chariot as someone must have taken the one from the nearby dump and dumped it elsewhere.  The people packed their chariots of fire and flew home in huge flocks.

It's only a little thing but if you can make the trolleys, shovels, racks and picks etc available for others it helps keep the happy mood on the up.

Also can we have that trolley that was taken by the market vendor returned from St Kilda.  We would like the others back also.  Don't take the water fittings when you leave.  It's not a hotel and they are not towels.  Please outfit you Trash and Treasure or Garage Sale from elsewhere.

Sorry for the downer.

Could ConFesters break the drought with a mass raindance?

Important Notice

CONFAB  not on during April due to renovation works.

ConFab is the Down To Earth clothes optional night at the Collingwood Leisure Centre.
every 2nd Sunday from 11th May, 2003    7pm  till 10:30pm
Swim, spa, sauna & massage                entry  $5.50.
Please bring a plate for share supper at 9pm.

Through the summer DTE meets every Thursday evening in the
"ED CENTER" at CERES 11 Lee St Brunswick.
All  DTE meetings are OPEN and you are welcome to attend. Call the
DTE information line 9506 8753 for meeting details.

Moving? - Remember to send your new address details or email changes


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