William Woodbridge is a typical second year university student. He is 21 years of age, has quite a relaxed attitude towards life and doesn’t mind thinking outside the square a bit.
Those of you who use Ginninderra Drive are already familiar with some of his creative thinking.
A floating teepee has become a topic of interest in Canberra and William Woodbridge is the man behind it.
Seeking to escape the monetary shackles of life living on the University of Canberra campus, Will created his floating home.
“It’s deliciously hippyish,” says Will with a massive grin as he eats peach from the can.
Will tells me that he decided to leave on-campus accommodation after he accidentally set off a fire alarm while cooking. He says the company that ran his residence, Campus Living Villages, charged him $350. I tried to contact Campus Living Villages but their general manager was unavailable for comment until Monday.
After being hit with the fine, he decided that he did not want to live life on campus anymore and so looked for alternative styles of living.
As I sat there on his front porch listening to his explanation of how his raft came to be, a man rows up in a canoe.
The man says that his wife “forced him to check it out.”
Will is completely unfazed by the attention his floating home has gathered in recent weeks.
“I would invite you onboard for a cold drink if the ice in my esky hadn’t melted,” Will says to the man.
After a few minutes of raft relating chatting the man bids Will well and rows back to shore.
Will tells me that his new home attracts the odd visitor, although not always of the nice kind.
“Everyone has been really friendly and nice so far, which is why the generator was a bit of a surprise,” Will tells me,” says Will.
Will is alluding to the fact that sometime on Friday his generator, which he used to power his television and to recharge his laptop, was stolen from his lockbox on the back of the raft.
Despite this he remains quite optimistic.
“It will probably come back, Canberra is too small a place for something like that to happen and go unnoticed,” he says.
He has created flyers which he has taped to his teepee and lockbox, telling all who venture close enough to his raft that his generator has been stolen.
Our conversation progressed to the inspirations of the raft. He said after having left on campus accommodation, and living out the back of a car, he settled on the idea of a raft.
“I came up with a number of designs I could live in while on the raft, the first one was a square house boat type thing, I looked at, you know, a canvas hutch, various sorts of huts and a straight forward tent, and eventually my uncle suggested a teepee.
”So I looked at the design and ergonomics of a teepee, they can stay quite warm, the teepee because it has a cone shape, it’s very stable and because its rounded the wind doesn’t catch on it.”
True to what Will tells me, the teepee has held up through the storms of last week. Will maintains the storms were never a problem, and that if they got bad enough, he would simply delay his trip home in his leaky tinny.
He tells me that the ACT Government has been in contact with him, and has asked him to move along. Will says he has been in discussion with Territories and Municipal Services, he hopes the discussion with them can lead to an arrangement where he stays on the lake.
With a possible eviction notice heading his way, Will seems relatively unfazed. He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless. Yet despite the outlook of a grim future Will is completely calm.