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Clarence Valley, NSW

August - October 2018

Andrew with Peter H, part of the team at Compost Central gave a presentation on converting organic waste to food to the Malabugilmah community, which is 3 hours west of Byron Bay on the Clarence River, during a waste program meeting with Elaine Toogood (N.E. Waste), Keith Bolton and Ross James (CEO of Jana Ngalee Aboriginal Land Council). The community was very enthusiastic and a month later, Compost Central team members Peter C, Kathryn and Andrew were heading out to set up personalised raised garden bed systems for several households.

While at the community, Andrew and Peter H had already taken note of several waste items that could find new life as raised garden beds, and so an old boat, a busted wading pool,  a cracked water tank, were up-cycled together with some cut duraplast tanks into 7 raised garden beds.

Key to the project was community engagement. Everyone, including the children, learned in workshops: how to make compost buckets, build garden beds and plant vegetables. Auntie Carol, an elder of the community, was proud of the community coming together to complete this project, exclaiming that she “had not seen this type of community engagement in over 20+ years”.  

Another part of engaging the community was a presentation for the kids at the local primary school where Andrew taught the importance building up the soil and composting giving answers to one child’s innocent, yet key question “what’s so special about soils?”.

To insure ongoing success of the project, Peter C made a first return visit three weeks later. Here he noticed:

  1. Community members had a sense of pride in their garden beds

  2. The community is making the connection between growing food and compost

  3. The garden bed systems were thriving 

Also it was great to see that a young member of Auntie Carol’s household, Dane, who had been coached during the installation to oversee on-going maintenance had indeed been active in making site improvements.  Lindsey, another member of the community, was a big help in Peter C’s return visit as they all worked together in the rain to improve the garden beds.  

The on-going success of such projects requires a local champion to take ownership and be supported. 

A few photos of our work at the Malabugilmah community, featuring lots of hard-working, smiling locals


Malabugilmah is a small New South Wales unbounded locality within the local government area of Clarence Valley, around 3hrs from Byron Bay and 8hrs from Sydney.


Andrew (Compost Central Founder) after just arriving on site at Malabugilmah, introducing the massive project about to begin! Hit subscribe on the video below for updates on our next installs and projects


Project 1 - Garden Ship & Geo Dome

Aunty Carol Wilson, Nakkita Johnson and Dane O’Connor


Project 2 - Tank Gardens

Natalie Robinson and her kids Libby & Liza


Project 3 - Tank Garden

Lindsay Williams and Lyndel Walker


Project 4 - Oblong Tank Garden

Cliffy & Roseanne Williams. Cliffy is an Elder in the community and requested to not have any photos taken. We upcycled a rain water tank into a fully functioning Gardenship veggie and herb garden with compost bucket system.


Project 5 - Oblong Tank Garden

Raylene Williams 

The Wrap Up

Andrew (Compost Central Founder) and Peter Critch wrapping up on what was a very massive and rewarding week at Malabugilmah! Great work everybody! Hit subscribe on the video below for updates on our next installs and projects

Elaine Toogood from North East Waste sharing about the Malabugilmah project, in collaboration with Compost Central. A great success! And it’s only just begun!


A few extra photos of the whole team (Compost Central and Mala community locals) working hard and learning together, whilst constructing the gardens. A great community effort!

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