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An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee

By ConorHickey 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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An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee
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bethybobs 3:53 pm 11 Mar 12

I am suprised at all the negative comments. To me he seems like an interesting guy who is taking matters into his own hands. I mean how many people his age could make a raft teepee? Seems relatively harmless to me. I wont be moving to a teepee on water any time soon but if it works for him I say go for it.

Ben_Dover 3:48 pm 02 Mar 12

p1 said :

If he went to Lake G for year twelve though, it suggests he is from Canberra? What kind of local lives on Campus?

One who wants to pretend he’s been brave enough to leave home.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:02 pm 02 Mar 12

Watson said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Diggety said :

As much as I would like to see the (man-made) Lake Ginninderra be open to this kind of use, I have to say Will is coming off as a irresponsible sook, like so many Gen-Y’s…

Will signed a contract, if he didn’t read or understand the thing, including:
– the fire alarm being set off with a $350 bill
– signing up to accommodation too expensive
– foregoing secure accommodation

This is why we shop around, people signing up to CLV just allows them to charge such ridiculous prices/charges. It’s called the market.

In saying that, I whole-heartedly agree with the problems this raises in the cost of Canberra accommodation, roughly for reasons below:
1. Inflated average wages in Canberra = high cost of living
2. ACT Government not releasing land = high house prices

If Will raises awareness of this issue, then well done. Oh, and I like your tepee, but I think you could arrange much cheaper supplies of electricity.

Very well thought out. I agree completely.

But how could he have known that the vapour from his cooking could set off the over-sensitive fire alarm before it happened? Who would have thought of asking for them to add that to the contract? Who really contests anything in a contract of this kind anyway? Nothing to do with GenY I would have thought.

Who contests stuff in contracts like this? Me, for one. I’m currently on the process of having a bunch of clauses changed in a contract I’m due to sign next week.

Watson 1:45 pm 02 Mar 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Diggety said :

As much as I would like to see the (man-made) Lake Ginninderra be open to this kind of use, I have to say Will is coming off as a irresponsible sook, like so many Gen-Y’s…

Will signed a contract, if he didn’t read or understand the thing, including:
– the fire alarm being set off with a $350 bill
– signing up to accommodation too expensive
– foregoing secure accommodation

This is why we shop around, people signing up to CLV just allows them to charge such ridiculous prices/charges. It’s called the market.

In saying that, I whole-heartedly agree with the problems this raises in the cost of Canberra accommodation, roughly for reasons below:
1. Inflated average wages in Canberra = high cost of living
2. ACT Government not releasing land = high house prices

If Will raises awareness of this issue, then well done. Oh, and I like your tepee, but I think you could arrange much cheaper supplies of electricity.

Very well thought out. I agree completely.

But how could he have known that the vapour from his cooking could set off the over-sensitive fire alarm before it happened? Who would have thought of asking for them to add that to the contract? Who really contests anything in a contract of this kind anyway? Nothing to do with GenY I would have thought.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:25 pm 02 Mar 12

Diggety said :

As much as I would like to see the (man-made) Lake Ginninderra be open to this kind of use, I have to say Will is coming off as a irresponsible sook, like so many Gen-Y’s…

Will signed a contract, if he didn’t read or understand the thing, including:
– the fire alarm being set off with a $350 bill
– signing up to accommodation too expensive
– foregoing secure accommodation

This is why we shop around, people signing up to CLV just allows them to charge such ridiculous prices/charges. It’s called the market.

In saying that, I whole-heartedly agree with the problems this raises in the cost of Canberra accommodation, roughly for reasons below:
1. Inflated average wages in Canberra = high cost of living
2. ACT Government not releasing land = high house prices

If Will raises awareness of this issue, then well done. Oh, and I like your tepee, but I think you could arrange much cheaper supplies of electricity.

Very well thought out. I agree completely.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:24 pm 02 Mar 12

p1 said :

devils_advocate said :

Duffbowl said :

Interesting list of pages young Will has under “Activities and Interests”…
– League of the South (white, southern US, nationalist)
– La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan; hispanic separatists from the southwestern US)
– Black Panthers (African-American separatists)
– NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
– U.N.N.M. “United Nuwaubian Nation Of Moors” (US based African-American psuedo-Islamist)
– Jewish Defence League
– Aryan Nation
– White Order of Thule (Aryan, pre-Christian, closely linked with Aryan Nation et al)

LOL. It’s not everyday you see a Canberran completely forfeit his right to a security clearance.

Surely some of those groups cancel each other out though?

It depends on the nature of his involvement. Joining in itself won’t automatically preclude a lower level clearance, but it does make things harder.

Definitely making a rod for his own back.

TheObserver 11:44 am 02 Mar 12

My goodness, the hatred for free and independent thought on this blog is dispiriting. I thought the ACT had higher education standards, or are all the twattish trolls from Sydney?

Good on Mr Woodbridge. Off beat, slightly wacky – having fun and – hey, here is a novel idea – not hurting anyone. Maybe he should get on a reality TV show and turkey slap some bimbo. Would that make him acceptable?

Holden Caulfield 11:43 am 01 Mar 12

Our delicious hippy even made it on to Hack on Triple J yesterday afternoon.

lakelurker 11:17 am 01 Mar 12

Wow- this is wonderful. It makes me want to braid my hair and row past his teepee bearing gifts. I hope it has survived the downpour and inspires a little floating tent city…

Diggety 3:57 pm 28 Feb 12

As much as I would like to see the (man-made) Lake Ginninderra be open to this kind of use, I have to say Will is coming off as a irresponsible sook, like so many Gen-Y’s…

Will signed a contract, if he didn’t read or understand the thing, including:
– the fire alarm being set off with a $350 bill
– signing up to accommodation too expensive
– foregoing secure accommodation

This is why we shop around, people signing up to CLV just allows them to charge such ridiculous prices/charges. It’s called the market.

In saying that, I whole-heartedly agree with the problems this raises in the cost of Canberra accommodation, roughly for reasons below:
1. Inflated average wages in Canberra = high cost of living
2. ACT Government not releasing land = high house prices

If Will raises awareness of this issue, then well done. Oh, and I like your tepee, but I think you could arrange much cheaper supplies of electricity.

Diggety 3:41 pm 28 Feb 12

p1 said :

devils_advocate said :

Duffbowl said :

Interesting list of pages young Will has under “Activities and Interests”…
– League of the South (white, southern US, nationalist)
– La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan; hispanic separatists from the southwestern US)
– Black Panthers (African-American separatists)
– NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
– U.N.N.M. “United Nuwaubian Nation Of Moors” (US based African-American psuedo-Islamist)
– Jewish Defence League
– Aryan Nation
– White Order of Thule (Aryan, pre-Christian, closely linked with Aryan Nation et al)

LOL. It’s not everyday you see a Canberran completely forfeit his right to a security clearance.

Surely some of those groups cancel each other out though?

Try telling that to US Customs at the airport 😉

p1 2:39 pm 28 Feb 12

devils_advocate said :

Duffbowl said :

Interesting list of pages young Will has under “Activities and Interests”…
– League of the South (white, southern US, nationalist)
– La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan; hispanic separatists from the southwestern US)
– Black Panthers (African-American separatists)
– NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
– U.N.N.M. “United Nuwaubian Nation Of Moors” (US based African-American psuedo-Islamist)
– Jewish Defence League
– Aryan Nation
– White Order of Thule (Aryan, pre-Christian, closely linked with Aryan Nation et al)

LOL. It’s not everyday you see a Canberran completely forfeit his right to a security clearance.

Surely some of those groups cancel each other out though?

devils_advocate 1:23 pm 28 Feb 12

Duffbowl said :

Interesting list of pages young Will has under “Activities and Interests”…
– League of the South (white, southern US, nationalist)
– La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan; hispanic separatists from the southwestern US)
– Black Panthers (African-American separatists)
– NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
– U.N.N.M. “United Nuwaubian Nation Of Moors” (US based African-American psuedo-Islamist)
– Jewish Defence League
– Aryan Nation
– White Order of Thule (Aryan, pre-Christian, closely linked with Aryan Nation et al)

LOL. It’s not everyday you see a Canberran completely forfeit his right to a security clearance.

HenryBG 12:18 pm 28 Feb 12

p1 said :

Actually, the tragedy of the commons applies pretty well. Imagine 1000 people all wanted free accommodation, built rafts and placed them in the lake. The current resource of a nice quiet body of water, with deserted shores, plenty of parking, etc would quickly be replaced by a crowded, polluted (even more then now) pond, alive with the buzz of generators and with all the car parks full and boat ramps busy. All a result of people making resource use decisions which make perfect sense from their own perspective.

Sounds good to me – there’s a resource there and it would be nice to see it used.

Like a paddock – it an sit there doing nothing, or somebody can “take away some amenity”from the local mob of kangaroos by building a wind generator, generating electricity with it, thus providing benefits to thousands of people.

Ryoma 10:05 am 28 Feb 12

p1 said :

Ryoma said :

With our current housing shortage, and the fact a young man uses his brain to try to both find a place to live, and to make a point, surely it’s time that the ACT Government realised that there is a real issue here.

The fact the a young man was driven to think independently is a sign that there is a serious problem? Way to accuse all young men of being brain dead morons normally.

P1, that’s a fair call…ouch! I certianly didn’t mean it for that comment to come out that way, but I can see how it could be seen as such.

No, it was more that I was impressed with how Will had found a solution (illegal, and not likely very good when winter sets in) to being, essentially,homeless.

Maybe the flip side to what I said earlier could be just that many of us are so used to having infrastructure and the like around us, that I question how many of us would cope well if it wasn’t there…

p1 9:38 am 28 Feb 12

Ryoma said :

With our current housing shortage, and the fact a young man uses his brain to try to both find a place to live, and to make a point, surely it’s time that the ACT Government realised that there is a real issue here.

The fact the a young man was driven to think independently is a sign that there is a serious problem? Way to accuse all young men of being brain dead morons normally.

Erg0 9:24 am 28 Feb 12

Ryoma said :

With our current housing shortage, and the fact a young man uses his brain to try to both find a place to live, and to make a point, surely it’s time that the ACT Government realised that there is a real issue here.

And maybe, just maybe, Will’s teppe points a way forward. If it was appropriately planned, why couldn’t Canberra have houseboats or house barges? Not on Lake Burley Griffin, but it’s not like the remining lakes around the city are pristine wilderness.

Or… the government could just release more land for housing. It’s not like we don’t have any space on dry land.

Ryoma 8:33 am 28 Feb 12

With our current housing shortage, and the fact a young man uses his brain to try to both find a place to live, and to make a point, surely it’s time that the ACT Government realised that there is a real issue here.

And maybe, just maybe, Will’s teppe points a way forward. If it was appropriately planned, why couldn’t Canberra have houseboats or house barges? Not on Lake Burley Griffin, but it’s not like the remining lakes around the city are pristine wilderness.

I think it would provide an opportunity to give Canberra a different character, and to show that Canberrans are able to find innovative solutions to problems. Unlike some of the naysayers posting that “life wasn’t meant to be easy” (it’s not, but this young bloke has got off his arse to do something about it, not sat and whinged from the comfort of his own desk).

So, as to how to go about it;

a) policies on how many houseboats a lake could feasibly hold in a sustainable manner
b) building of appropriate infrastructure (jetties/pontoons)
c) policies around waste disposal and safety

If this type of business can exist at Bateman’s Bay,Echuca,Mildura, Renmark, and the NSW Central Coast, why on earth can’t we manage it?

p1 3:56 pm 27 Feb 12

arescarti42 said :

I was going to reference a bunch of stuff by Ostrom and Hardin, but then I realised that would make me look like a pedantic asshat. So fair point.

So you leave me to look like an asshat on my own? 😉

arescarti42 said :

I guess the question is if teepee man is allowed to live on the lake, is the precedent likely to encourage others to live on the lake in numbers such that they become a problem for the non lake camping community.

I really don’t think it would. But I know this is the way governments think, hence I suspect his days are numbered.

arescarti42 3:43 pm 27 Feb 12

p1 said :

Actually, the tragedy of the commons applies pretty well. Imagine 1000 people all wanted free accommodation, built rafts and placed them in the lake. The current resource of a nice quiet body of water, with deserted shores, plenty of parking, etc would quickly be replaced by a crowded, polluted (even more then now) pond, alive with the buzz of generators and with all the car parks full and boat ramps busy. All a result of people making resource use decisions which make perfect sense from their own perspective.

I was going to reference a bunch of stuff by Ostrom and Hardin, but then I realised that would make me look like a pedantic asshat. So fair point.

I guess the question is if teepee man is allowed to live on the lake, is the precedent likely to encourage others to live on the lake in numbers such that they become a problem for the non lake camping community.

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