Raw simplicity is nightfall wilderness camp’s ethos, so it was entirely fitting to last week use old-fashioned people power, and not a machine, to progress construction of Australia‘s newest luxury camp accommodation experience at Lamington, in the Scenic Rim, 90 minutes drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Since January we’ve waited patiently for the rain to give us a break and the forested hillside above our bend of Christmas Creek to dry — just enough for lifting machinery to access our newly created luxury tent sites so we can continue ‘building nightfall’. We even resorted to importing truckloads of gravel, but no amount of rock was enough to give wheel traction to our accommodation forest clearings.
So what to do? Our tight-knit, ever-supportive, community, known locally as the ‘dirt-trackers’ because we live just off the bitumen, quickly gave the rallying call: “if we can’t use the machine, we’ll carry the buggers in”, they announced. And so came what at first appeared to be a hair-brained idea to stand our semi-permanent tent frames by hand, just as the Amish communities do their infamous ‘barn raisings’.
Each section of our six-mm thick steel permanent-tent frames weighs hundreds of kilograms, so, yes, there were a few sticky moments as we waded through the mud with the jig and then the first of four portals. Could we actually stand the frame was the question on all our minds. The weight of each portal made the task seem impossible, so the decision was made to just lift the frame up a little to see if we could hold the weight.
At that point, the prop was dislodged and the rest is history. We had no choice but to keep going and up the first portal section went.
It was an exhilarating moment to know we were not dependent on a machine to progress our exciting new form of Scenic Rim accommodation. As each of the other portals followed, our sense of achievement grew and so too did the bonds which tie our community together. Raising nightfall camp’s tent frame is synonymous with life in our secluded valley. To overcome the tyranny of distance, which limits outside support, we often come together to accomplish tasks too big for individual residents. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction in seeing the tangible results of one’s labour and a sense of security in knowing that we’re all committed to supporting each other, as the need arises. Equally valuable are the bonds of friendship and respect. Put simply, we’re incredibly lucky to live surrounded by wonderfully grounded people who are also firm friends. We share a love for the simple life, our mountain wilderness and its fragile ecology. Our differences keep the conversation lively and challenging.
If you’re curious to see more, you might enjoy this clip, as we raise the third portal. I wonder if the grunting made it easier?