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Tingrith Meeting House, Margaret River

Tingrith Meeting House is unique on many levels as is its visionary and creator Felicity Haynes.

Felicity describes herself as over-intellectual, techno-phobic, untidy & passionate. While I am unable to comment on her technophobia there is no disputing her passion and intellect and as for being tidy or otherwise…I fail to see how she could possibly find the time!

Eight years ago she retired from teaching trainee philosophy teachers at UWA to her beautiful 118 acre farm (including 50 acres of natural bush) in the Margaret River district in Western Australia; set in some of the best vineyards in the world and surrounded by natural Australian bush with wildflowers and many varieties of Australian birds. On the farm she has established extensive organic vegetable and herb gardens, fruit orchards, olive trees, alpaca, poultry and sheep. During my recent visit my daughter and I were spoilt with still warm, farm fresh eggs, which my young daughter took great delight in gathering, beautiful citrus fruits and kipfler potatoes dug straight from the earth.

As if managing and maintaining a farm wouldn’t keep one person busy enough Felicity has planted a sizeable lavender maze with the first 1000 plants planted in October 2005. At least a third of these died during the first dry summer and since then a further 4000 plus plants have been planted and the maze is now showing signs of its future beauty.

Adjacent to the maze Felicity has designed and built what can only be described as a luxury holistic retreat so that others can enjoy her Paradise too – a place for people to come together, meet each other and relax and grow spiritually. The Tingrith Meeting House…

It is called a meeting house because it has been designed around a central fireplace in the spirit of a bora ring, a Tibetan yert, a mediaeval mote house… for people to meet together to build a sense of community.

Designed to hold small weekend residential workshops, ranging from spiritual retreats, permaculture groups, art classes, art exhibitions, ecological bush walks, bird watching etc; the meeting house can also be used for short-term accommodation for large families to get together. It can accommodate from eight to 15 people in luxury dormitory accommodation.

Completed December 2009, the building is well suited to large family groups or small social groups who wish to spend time together in a setting which encourages getting to know each other. It contains a large library with a wide range of reading interests including cooking books, philosophy, education, science, art, psychology, spiritual wisdom and literature, (especially Australian literature).

“One of the main reasons for building the Tingrith meeting house was to bring people together convivially in the spirit of building community. Where people celebrate their differences through dialogue, they learn to defend their own beliefs with good reasons, and make their own judgments about novel ideas or ways of living. In other words they learn to think well, to be philosophers in their daily life”. Felicity Tingrith


On first entering The Tingrith Meeting House I couldn’t help but smile with pleasure. I could so clearly visualise people engaged in friendly debate, holding animated discussions, sharing and celebrating their thoughts and differences…making friends and just generally enjoying communicating and being human. I found The Meeting House itself extremely warm and inviting with its internal slow combustion burner, numerous filled book shelves, comfortable seating, rugs, and incredible collection of artifacts…a reflection of Felicity’s own warmth and openness to share her vast life experiences. Time easily slipped away as Felicity spoke about some of her more recent challenges – all tackled with optimism and good humour…before easily switching to stories from her past, weaving a small part of what I imagine to be a rich tapestry of her life to date. I am keen to hear more and fortunately for me and Fishica’s STEPS Online Magazine readers we are likely to…as Felicity is going to contribute a regular piece in our Philosophy & Arts pages.

Somehow it seems fitting to finish with Felicity’s favourite quotes. As a woman who enjoys quotes myself; I often think a person’s choice of quotes and/or reading material says a great deal about them. The owl is special to The Tingrith Meeting House (but I’ll let Felicity tell that story her own way in her own article), and Felicity herself is living proof that truth in physical matters can never be founded on mathematical and logical consideration alone – I have met few other people who seem perfectly balanced with their love of knowledge and academia & their spirituality.

 

The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk……Hegel

Truth in physical matters can of course never be founded on mathematical and logical considerations alone……Albert Einstein


Workshops at The Tingrith Meeting House

Welcome to Wonderland

Have you ever thought about Impossibility? At the first of the Welcome to Wonderland sessions on 22nd August, eight friends and three total strangers turned up at Tingrith meeting house with six impossible things in their minds. When some were written on the whiteboard we had to discuss together whether they were really possible or whether we couldn’t decide.  Here is the first list.

Impossible things:

Stones falling through tent roofs without making holes (Ron)
Resolving long-held differences (Miles)
Rain falling from a cloudless sky (Ron)
Rain falling up (Felicity)
Daffodils growing into an oak tree (Angela)
Perfect surf everyday (Jamie)
All humans could think alike (Werner)
Anyone could live for ever in the same body (Shelley)
Humans could grow wheels (Lorraine)
We could all start on a level playing field (Janni)
A woman could lead regardless of gender (Carole)
A square circle (Felicity).

We wondered whether  modern science and  particularly genetic modification could make nearly anything possible, even growing wheels or living for ever. But maybe we would always be trapped into assuming essential differences between male and female that would always act against females. Then we began to really question the relationship between logical impossibility like finding a round square and factual impossibilities like a daffodil bulb seedling growing into an oak tree or rain falling upwards. By the time people left, about 5.15, we began to question the way the language shaped our perception of even what seemed factually possible  eg if water drops fell  upwards as in transpiration or evaporation it wouldn’t be called rain.  We didn’t get into the jam tomorrow and yesterday but never today, but we DID get onto politics! How could we avoid it! The logic of the jam problem will arise no doubt in our discussion of time at the next meeting on September 19th.

It’s about Time

On September 19th, Felicity will offer the second of six afternoon discussion groups in the meeting house, based on Time.  Drawn from Alice in Wonderland, these discussions are open to people from all walks of life and of all ages.
Felicity will be dealing with TIME, and visitors will be encouraged to think about the statement that “Time flies like an arrow”. Does time have to go forward? Is it real or simply a word we use to mark change?
The fun will start at 2 pm and last for two hours. Cost of $10 per person will include coffee and cake.

Please contact Felicity on tingrith63@hotmail.com or by phoning the farm on 08 9757 4014.
You may also like to visit www.tingrithmeetinghouse.com

Tingrith Articles

Read the first of Felicity’s articles in STEPS Online Magazine… The Magick of Owls.

Further Information

Sadly Tingrith Meeting House and the beautiful surrounding areas where it is situated are currently at risk of a coal mine opening and operating on the property directly next door. To read more about the proposed mine and/or voice your concern please follow this link.