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An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee

By 25 February 2012 84

teepee

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.

william woodbridge

“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.

supplies

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.

stolen generator

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.”

teepee

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.

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.

Full slideshow here:

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84 Responses to
An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee
damien haas 7:51 pm
25 Feb 12
#1

Pirates on the lake!

Seriously, stealing his generator is pretty low.

G.R.R 8:35 pm
25 Feb 12
#2

The irony here being that the same outlets that aired his dramas also aired pictures of his gear (generator included)…

arescarti42 9:23 pm
25 Feb 12
#3

Damn, those little Honda generators are worth a fortune, probably $1k+ for that one. Expecting it to find its way back seems very optimistic to me.

If I were him I’d probably be investigating a solar system. A 100w ish panel, deep cycle battery and inverter I would have thought would be enough to do laptop charging and a bit of lighting for around the $500 mark.

arescarti42 9:24 pm
25 Feb 12
#4

Solar gear is probably less convenient to steal and harder to sell on as well.

johnboy 10:08 pm
25 Feb 12
#5

Heavy though, which is a problem for a raft.

While the teepee is pretty clever for metacentric height issues panels and batteries would present some serious problems for both deck space and stability.

To say nothing of his orientation changing as the wind blows.

(although if he really trusts his water proofing batteries could be stowed under the deck providing improved stability)

screaming banshee 10:36 pm
25 Feb 12
#6

He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless

You are homeless, idiot!

At 21 its about time you took responsibility for your own actions, if you set off a fire alarm that results in a callout firies or a fire service company to investigate/reset…that costs money.

Take your fifteen minutes of fame and f*ck off.

arescarti42 10:47 pm
25 Feb 12
#7

johnboy said :

Heavy though, which is a problem for a raft.

While the teepee is pretty clever for metacentric height issues panels and batteries would present some serious problems for both deck space and stability.

To say nothing of his orientation changing as the wind blows.

(although if he really trusts his water proofing batteries could be stowed under the deck providing improved stability)

True. It’d really depend on the size of the system I suppose. Still an option worth looking in to IMO.

Thumper 11:07 pm
25 Feb 12
#8

Um… dude…

just do your degree and get used to it.

For the rest if your life you will be f***ed around and f***ed over.

Is it fair? No.

but it will happen.

That’s life.

Sorry to destroy your wordly view.

On the other hand, stealing your gennie is pretty low…

LSWCHP 11:10 pm
25 Feb 12
#9

Bugger me. My daughter asked me what the tent in the lake was a few weeks ago and I had no idea. She’s gonna love hearing about this.

And of course, a plague of scabies on the dogs who stole his generator.

johnboy 11:51 pm
25 Feb 12
#10

I think some of you need the think bigger.

Imagine a Lake Ginninderra covered in teepee rafts as low cost accomodation.

Just think how cool the parties would be!

gospeedygo 8:56 am
26 Feb 12
#11

johnboy said :

I think some of you need the think bigger.

Imagine a Lake Ginninderra covered in teepee rafts as low cost accomodation.

Just think how cool the parties would be!

…..and all the drunken drownings that would ensue.

PearlGem 9:20 am
26 Feb 12
#12

screaming banshee said :

He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless

You are homeless, idiot!

At 21 its about time you took responsibility for your own actions, if you set off a fire alarm that results in a callout firies or a fire service company to investigate/reset…that costs money.

Take your fifteen minutes of fame and f*ck off.

I know this guy and am sick of hearing things come back to the stupid fire alarm I know for a fact it wasn’t even smoke that set the damn thing of it was steam, I think he was cooking rice.
Also I realize your just trolling because no one could possibly be that stupid If you don’t like what he’s raising awareness for or the stand he’s taking against something we shouldn’t just be lying down and taking up the arse then why waste your time on his “15 minutes of fame”

buzz819 10:17 am
26 Feb 12
#13

PearlGem said :

screaming banshee said :

He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless

You are homeless, idiot!

At 21 its about time you took responsibility for your own actions, if you set off a fire alarm that results in a callout firies or a fire service company to investigate/reset…that costs money.

Take your fifteen minutes of fame and f*ck off.

I know this guy and am sick of hearing things come back to the stupid fire alarm I know for a fact it wasn’t even smoke that set the damn thing of it was steam, I think he was cooking rice.
Also I realize your just trolling because no one could possibly be that stupid If you don’t like what he’s raising awareness for or the stand he’s taking against something we shouldn’t just be lying down and taking up the arse then why waste your time on his “15 minutes of fame”

While I understand the ACTFB will charge you for irresponsible call outs, I don’t think it is fair to charge someone who is already being charged so much to live in a box with a bed. The Uni needs to have a good hard look at who they are supposed to be supporting to continue being able to be a university.

chewy14 10:36 am
26 Feb 12
#14

PearlGem said :

screaming banshee said :

He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless

You are homeless, idiot!

At 21 its about time you took responsibility for your own actions, if you set off a fire alarm that results in a callout firies or a fire service company to investigate/reset…that costs money.

Take your fifteen minutes of fame and f*ck off.

I know this guy and am sick of hearing things come back to the stupid fire alarm I know for a fact it wasn’t even smoke that set the damn thing of it was steam, I think he was cooking rice.
Also I realize your just trolling because no one could possibly be that stupid If you don’t like what he’s raising awareness for or the stand he’s taking against something we shouldn’t just be lying down and taking up the arse then why waste your time on his “15 minutes of fame”

Because the only thing he’s bringing attention to is his stupidity. It’s time that he realises that the world doesn’t owe him free accomodation and there’s no requirement for him to live on campus.

Welcome to the real world son.

Mysteryman 10:46 am
26 Feb 12
#15

screaming banshee said :

He does not want to leave his teepee because it will mean him becoming homeless

You are homeless, idiot!

At 21 its about time you took responsibility for your own actions, if you set off a fire alarm that results in a callout firies or a fire service company to investigate/reset…that costs money.

Take your fifteen minutes of fame and f*ck off.

Thumper said :

Um… dude…

just do your degree and get used to it.

For the rest if your life you will be f***ed around and f***ed over.

Is it fair? No.

but it will happen.

That’s life.

Sorry to destroy your wordly view.

On the other hand, stealing your gennie is pretty low…

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – George Bernard Shaw.

I’d rather spend my time with people like Mr Woodbridge than people who have given up on trying to make a difference.

Rawhide Kid Part3 11:31 am
26 Feb 12
#16

johnboy said :

Just think how cool the parties would be!

Very cool in the winter I would think.

thy_dungeonman 11:37 am
26 Feb 12
#17

It’s great that he’s not only making a statement about affordable student accommodation but about simple living in general. It’s exactly the kind of thing I read about at http://tinyhouseblog.com/. People living in all kinds of small houses and shelters have written stories for this blog and I think it would be great if William would write about to them about his teepee. http://tinyhouseblog.com/contact/

gasman 11:38 am
26 Feb 12
#18

There should be more of this, I say.

We lived on a floathome in Vancouver for a few months. These aren’t houseboats, but floating homes. You pay a monthly moorage fee and build or buy a floathome and become part of a maritime community. A step above a teepee of course.

Maybe the ACT Gov should investigate this as a revenue raising opportunity.

Skidbladnir 12:29 pm
26 Feb 12
#19

If his issue was the fine he incurred for the smoke alarm, he brought it on himself by signing the Agreement with UC Village to live on-campus, clearly without reading it.
Campus residents do not get the same tenancy rights as non-campus residents (mostly in exchange for being a few minutes from their classes…), and are instead bound by whichever Terms the Village offers, as its a private agreement without the requirements of a Residential Tenancy Agreement.
The Rules do now, and have under the last version also, explicitly cover the “our smoke alarms are sensitive, please take care or tenants will be hit with the (inevitable) callout fee” angle.
Rules (which make up a part of the agreement) available here, Agreement available on request.

His protest is pretty much exactly what UC Village wanted from their perspective, which was for a rule breaker to pack up and leave since he refused to pay for his liability under the agreed bargain, and wanted a special treatment without precedent.
That UC Village holds a privileged place in law which enabled their entire business model (and so the drama of this situation) has, so far, been irrelevant to his message of protest. So far, his message has been laughable if he’s serious.

So he decided to leave behind his secure accomodations and history of rule breaking, built a teepee to be used as a houseboat (alarm bell 1), and noting the absence of any other vessels on Canberra’s lakes (alarm bell 2) decides to deploy his houseboat onto a lake (in contravention of a law older than self-government), and expects the people charged with law enforcement to create precedent and let him continue to occupy, by not doing their job and ignoring those Sections of law he failed to research beforehand.

Besides, all it takes is an email to a Minister or MLA’s office (pick your side of politics) to turn Bill’s camping trip to a bureaucratic nightmare.

My money is on Bill getting hit with a few thousand dollars in fines and no law-ignoring precedent, but exactly how many thousand depends on if he’s been in touch with the Delegate for Lakes, as indicated in a previous post.

Pity about the generator, but I think it was the two minute “I have no physical security and only a two dollar lock defending a generator, look at all my stuff, here is where I live” music video that invited it.

Mr Evil 12:58 pm
26 Feb 12
#20

How much did it cost this idiot to build the raft and teepee?

Also, using stolen/’found’(?) beer kegs as a part of your flotation rig beneath the raft (as well as part of the outdoor furniture) probably isn’t such a good idea either as most breweries are quite attached to their kegs and will go a long way to get them back.

Anyway, Winter will be here soon – and if the ACT Govt hasn’t driven him off the lake before then, the first cold winds of Winter probably will.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:58 pm
26 Feb 12
#21

“Bitch axed fo’ it, nomasayin?”

– Skidbladnir

vg 1:25 pm
26 Feb 12
#22

He’s making such a ‘stand’ that when steam set off a fire alarm and he got fined he didn’t say ‘it was steam that set it off, not a fire, your alarm is faulty,I’m not paying the fine and you’ll read about it in the paper if you try and evict me’?

Idiot. When he has to be extracted from the lake by emergency services I hope he gets his stupid *ss fined off.

There’s a reason why people don’t live on lakes. What an Einstein

c_c 1:26 pm
26 Feb 12
#23

“It’s deliciously hippyish,”

Unless you’re a gay New York socialite or Dr Evil, no one speaks like that.

As for the reason he gives for leaving his residence, what a stupid tool. Yes, residents get charged for setting off the fire detection system. I thought this was quite normal for residential buildings actually, given that a false alarm does have costs associated with it. In fact $350 is well below the cost I’ve seen quoted for the ACT Fire Brigade to attend an alarm call.

Take some responsibility, grow the f—- up and stop acting like a toddler. This guy is no better than a 2yr old lying on the ground in the toy isle screaming for the parents to buy something.

trevar 2:08 pm
26 Feb 12
#24

c_c said :

Take some responsibility, grow the f—- up and stop acting like a toddler. This guy is no better than a 2yr old lying on the ground in the toy isle screaming for the parents to buy something.

I hardly think he’s screaming. He’s taken responsibility for himself, grown up and realised that the accommodation choices made by the rest of his society are rather foolish and unnecessary. It hardly makes sense to be leasing land and/or shelter when a lake surface is freely available and you can afford the materials to build a floating home.

Seems to me the only ones doing anything vaguely like throwing a tantrum are those who say William should be paying someone else rent, rather than thinking for himself… and why would they care? No doubt they have an investment property and William’s initiative, if it were to be taken up by more people, threatens their profits. Landlords may get some serious competition soon, so suck it up, princesses!

c_c 2:20 pm
26 Feb 12
#25

trevar said :

It hardly makes sense to be leasing land and/or shelter when a lake surface is freely available and you can afford the materials to build a floating home.

I do hope that’s sarcasm. Because if it’s serious it says much about your lack of reasoning.

It makes sense because that lease includes connection to essential services and shelter that under normal circumstances won’t fall down.

He’s complaining about a generator being stolen? Heck those things get nicked off building sites all the time, how naive was he to leave it unsecured.

Where exactly is he showering, going to the toilet? That is a public lake so he’d better not be pissing over the side.

He’s running everything off a generator so he must have the cash for petrol, but not for wasting the time of out emergency services?

He’s a nutter.

arescarti42 2:28 pm
26 Feb 12
#26

Dayam, haters gonna hate.

I’m a little surprised.

johnboy 2:31 pm
26 Feb 12
#27

I really think some of you need to open your hearts to a little more magic in the world

HenryBG 3:11 pm
26 Feb 12
#28

Mysteryman said :

I’d rather spend my time with people like Mr Woodbridge than people who have given up on trying to make a difference.

Exactly. There are do-ers in the world, and then there are the uninspired, such as Screaming Banshee, who obviously find the initiative and get-up-and-go of the do-ers extremely upsetting.

The fact is, it’s people like Woodbridge who create society. The sheep who never do anything original are just along for the ride.

poetix 3:36 pm
26 Feb 12
#29

Something about the whole construction reminds me of the end of James Bond films where Bond and whichever girl are deliberately evading rescue by the British submarine or destroyer. And the rug William is lying on is pure Austin Powers. (Sandals spoil any resemblance to Bond though…)

CLV sounds like the SPECTRE of Belconnen. What a stupid policy in regard to fining people who have a fire alarm go off. It will encourage students to dismantle the fire alarms so they don’t get fined.

(By the way, what’s the wheelbarrow for? Is it a garden?)

eh_steve 3:38 pm
26 Feb 12
#30

UC should just sponsor more sporting teams, then with all the money that supposedly generates everybody’s problems would be solved!

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