An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee

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.

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84 Responses to An interview with William Woodbridge on the Lake Ginninderra teepee
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c_c c_c 1:26 pm 26 Feb 12

“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 trevar 2:08 pm 26 Feb 12

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 c_c 2:20 pm 26 Feb 12

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.

    johnboy johnboy 2:31 pm 26 Feb 12

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

arescarti42 arescarti42 2:28 pm 26 Feb 12

Dayam, haters gonna hate.

I’m a little surprised.

HenryBG HenryBG 3:11 pm 26 Feb 12

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 poetix 3:36 pm 26 Feb 12

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 eh_steve 3:38 pm 26 Feb 12

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

Special G Special G 3:40 pm 26 Feb 12

If they are going to evict him from the lake I would like to think the tent embassy would be shortly thereafter. Legitimate protest made in a legitimate way.

eh_steve eh_steve 3:41 pm 26 Feb 12

Also, I know a bear craps in the woods, but what about this guy?

Cobrico Cobrico 3:51 pm 26 Feb 12

William sounds like an interesting young fellow in the making, and not just because he’s got the mechanical skills to knock up a small barge. He’s clearly got initiative, as well as the courage to take a stand and to take a risk with his personal safety.

A key issue he’s raised is the high cost of Canberra’s rental accommodation for young people — whether they be students or apprentices or young families. We need to ensure the next generation is not priced out of living here.

It all sounds pretty harmless, just a young fellow working out how to make his point. Let’s hope it all ends well.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 4:14 pm 26 Feb 12

Maybe the generator’s worth $350 and CLV came to collect?

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 4:16 pm 26 Feb 12

Oh also, he’s not Nelson Mandela, you guys don’t have to get carried away.

HenryBG HenryBG 6:08 pm 26 Feb 12

poetix said :

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

I assumed good risk management for the wheelbarrow: the biggest danger afloat is fire.

Snarky Snarky 6:13 pm 26 Feb 12

vg said :

…What an Einstein

You really need to broaden your vocabulary. Doing so would (probably) contribute positively to the quality of your comments too. Just sayin’.

Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 6:28 pm 26 Feb 12

It never surprises me just how cold and hearltess RA’ers can be. Why all the hate? It’s not like he’s hurting anyone. So maybe he could have secured his generator a bit better… still doesn’t justify theft.

Good on him I say, stick it up the man!

PearlGem PearlGem 6:47 pm 26 Feb 12

He paid the fine after following all the appropriate channels in attempting to appeal it. His living conditions were no more secure in residences as he had things stolen from there also. The Wheel barrow is a herb garden. He has an emergency camping toilet for on board, aside from that he has bowel control and is capable of rowing to the toilet.
This is a young man who spent his childhood riding horses along the Bicentennial National Trail for months at a time he is capable, hardworking and genuine.

Bennop Bennop 8:16 pm 26 Feb 12

Skidd Marx said :

It never surprises me just how cold and hearltess RA’ers can be. Why all the hate? It’s not like he’s hurting anyone. So maybe he could have secured his generator a bit better… still doesn’t justify theft.

Good on him I say, stick it up the man!

Effing right. Get your heads outta your arses and acknowledge someone who didn’t like their circumstances and did something about it. Bloody creatively and oddly too. You naysayers give Canberrans a worse name than they/we already have. Bloody wowses.

I-filed I-filed 9:22 pm 26 Feb 12

He looks very much like an indigenous Scot – perhaps he could move to the Tent Embassy for a bit and pick up some tips, he could well be welcome. : )

Thumper Thumper 9:32 pm 26 Feb 12

Skidd Marx said :

It never surprises me just how cold and hearltess RA’ers can be. Why all the hate? It’s not like he’s hurting anyone. So maybe he could have secured his generator a bit better… still doesn’t justify theft.

Good on him I say, stick it up the man!

I don’t hate him, In fact I think it’s brilliant.

However, Mr Williamson needs to learn that, sorry to quote Malcolm Fraser, life wan’t meant to be easy.

I hope that when he gets smashed with huge fines that he has the courage of his convictions….

thy_dungeonman thy_dungeonman 10:01 pm 26 Feb 12

Thumper said :

Skidd Marx said :

It never surprises me just how cold and hearltess RA’ers can be. Why all the hate? It’s not like he’s hurting anyone. So maybe he could have secured his generator a bit better… still doesn’t justify theft.

Good on him I say, stick it up the man!

I don’t hate him, In fact I think it’s brilliant.

However, Mr Williamson needs to learn that, sorry to quote Malcolm Fraser, life wan’t meant to be easy.

I hope that when he gets smashed with huge fines that he has the courage of his convictions….

I realy hate that quote “life wasn’t meant to be easy” after all how does anyone, let alone Malcom Fraser know that, they didn’t create life.

Even if “life wasn’t meant to be easy” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a go at making it easier just like this guy, he’s my new hero.

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