“Old School Farm”

poster 2

Recreation? Housing lots? Nature trails?  Affordable housing? Eco-village? Shopping centre? Community garden? Townhouses? Green space? Independent living units? Co-housing development? Permaculture village?

TCA is asking for your ideas – What do you think?

Perhaps a mix of the above or … maybe something else altogether?

Please send your suggestions and comments to  contact@cygnet.org.au 

or post to: TCA, PO Box 208, Cygnet, 7112

We will post them here first and will later display them all together in the Supper Room and, again, invite comments and discussion.   

We will not display any personal information and you’re welcome to submit anonymously.


1. Please NOT a shopping centre,…..Affordable Housing , independent living units , Time to think of those in-need. Affordable housing for the Elderly who are looking to down size , …cheap units for those that are struggling , …..Please not a shopping center,………time to look after the ones in need in our community…… ( RS 10/04/18)

2. Definitely not a shopping centre. (ST 10/04/18)

3. So have the council scrapped the plans they drew up years ago of extending Louisa street, 1- 2 br units set out in park-like area, sell blocks for private homes, shut the council yards and build a medical centre? They spent a fortune drawing up those plans.(TC 11/04/18)

4. We so need more housing it’s so hard to find rental homes if your not lucky enough to own your own and they have to move out of their home town (MjMc 11/04/18)

5. A multi level carpark ??  🙂 (RB 11/04/18)

6. No shopping center.
There are lots of elderly, wanting to downsize, to smaller homes, or units.
Who do not want to move away. Could have a park like development around it also.
I still have the plans, that the council draw up years ago.
Perfect, for this use of land.
If a big housing development went in, it would ruin the township.
Already lots of houses gone in, around the outskirts of Cygnet. (SW2 11/04/18)

7. An off-lead dog exercise area would be great. As well as some affordable housing, with associated green, food production space. ( IH 11/04/08)

8. At my stage in life, I would be interested in a retirement/aged care facility being developed in the Cygnet area. Cygnet has attracted an increasing number of ageing folk from the mainland who are venturing into country life and hobby farming with visions of sustaining a country lifestyle in old age. An option of downsizing within this community with support and care would be a comfort. (NMc 12/04/18)

9. I’m interested to participate and collaborate in discussions regarding the Old Cygnet Farm land and to contribute towards any formal proposal to Council.

I would like to contribute to a vision that incorporates a sustainable, affordable and inclusive housing model that may also incorporate (or be incorporated by?) a Neighbourhood House/The Cygnet Hub perhaps? Could we also consider income/employment streams such as Airbnb units (which might encourage some Council actions in this area?) or other progressive opportunity? Could the housing implement innovations such as Small Homes or be Modular to accommodate various family structures?

My particular area of interest is Youth Health, Wellbeing, Families and Futures (see Tassie Teen), and I have a community focus and approach. I am keen to be involved and look forward to hearing from you. (IC 15/04.18)

10. Regarding the consultation on the land in Cygnet, I would like to see the development of affordable housing with priority given to current residents of Cygnet who show a commitment to remaining in the area and contributing to the sustainability of the project. (AY 15/04/18)

11. Our idea (it was my wife’s actually) was a community swimming pool with mixed use rooms available to rent (for classes etc), a cafe and playground. (CL 16/04/18)

12. To the great TCA would like to thank you all for doing such a great job and in keep us informed. Would just like to suggest re the vacant land behind the new medical centre we would like to see it as housing following the 2009 plans, it would certainly help with the growing population and it is so central to the centre it may even encourage more buses.

Would also like to see a permanent ambulance stationed here in Cygnet now that we have some first class medical centres or the Huonville ambulance station extended to hold more. Anyway just a suggestion, keep up the good work. (D&SW 16/04/18)

13. It’s Council land for the use of the community…. not land to be broken up and sold in parcels to private owners, irrespective of its end-purpose.
My thoughts…

  1. The professionally-researched, landscaped and extensive planting of solely native species, showcasing permaculture methods;
  2. expansive grassed areas with an appropriate blend of hard Kentucky Blue Grass, Fescue, Regenerative Rye, etc (similar to that on the Huonville Esplanade near the picnic area)
  3. incorporation of a gentle amphitheatre-style area into the slope of the land, and a small, natural stage area for use by visiting musicians/performers, particularly in summer. We don’t yet have a great outdoor venue for small musical events. We could use it as another annual festival or event venue!; and
  4. incorporation of solar-powered lighting for the garden and stage.

If this vacant land was instead used for housing, the above issues would be more difficult to implement without creating such a space well out of town, or buying private land at commercial value.

We live here because of the small village and the uncramped lifestyle – not a small town filled with housing. The last thing I feel we should be doing is building more dwellings right in the middle of town. Spread things out and incorporate new green spaces between the small estates of houses/units. Establish these estates a little further out from the middle of town.

It’s very easy to fix a housing shortage, but at what expense (financial as well as social)? Conversely, it’s very difficult to fix a diminution of green space once the land has been developed. (AH 16/04/18)

14. I am a ratepayer in Cygnet and would love to see a beautiful park and running water over rocks like a brook using a pump to recycle water.
I agree with the philosophy of healthy parks healthy people.
I have seen some great parks in Qld.
A water theme and Japanese type setting with small bridges and wide paths for pushbikes and walkers/joggers together.
Tall trees for shade and beauty, evergreens and natives for birds and bees!!
A park with a slowly undulating walking tracks ….
Cheers hope this comes to fruition….a calming serene part of Cygnet!! (A 17/04/18)

15. I think the old school farm area should be made into a public swimming pool / indoor exercise area. As there is nothing down here with easy access. (EP 18/04/18)

16. Ambulance Station. Emergency Hospital Unit. Aged care Facility. Swimming Pool (TMD 18/04/18)

17. I think it should be something for the community. A good quality aged care facility. With an aging community, we will need this in the future and this land is flat with easy access to the town and facilities. It would be ideal for an age care home.

Low cost housing would also be good. It could help house both aging people who need to downsize towards end of life and also people who for social reasons require low cost housing.

Also there is need for a public heated pool, for hydrotherapy benefits for the aged or infirmed and also to provide facilities for children to learn to swim and for sport/fitness. (DC 18/04/18)

18. Cygnet has an aging population like most of Tasmania. Where are they going to relocate too. THIS area lends itself to a retirement village with gardens and community walkways. Cygnet folk should have a place to retire to in Cygnet, not be shipped off to Franklin or Hobart. The area has access to medical center, shops,library,cafe all within walking distance of this area of land. (JN 19/04/18 )

19. The land could be divided into three main areas. The top ( I think NW end ) could be developed for town houses, probably 10-12.

The central part could become a purpose built conference centre, with a main conference hall, break out rooms and a kitchen to allow onsite catering. If the surrounding land was well landscaped, this could form parkland which would add areas for outdoor festivals such as the Folk Festival and Le Weekend.

Most of the town houses could be sold to recoup the development costs. Two to three should be retained to allow accommodation for visiting conference speakers or attendees (at market cost).

The bottom bit ( SE I think) could be developed as an indoor pool and sports centre. This would be close to the Health Centres and help encourage healthy living, the prescription of appropriate activities and hydrotherapy/physio sessions, weights, pilates yoga etc and support the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

People may say that Cygnet already has meeting places and outdoor parks. However, the meeting rooms need renovation and upgrading and the parks are too small. A conference centre would take the pressure off existing places and allow them to be closed during improvements. After their improvements, they could provide for exhibitions, varying activities and possibly a new home for the museum.

My suggested development might be expensive, but all would provide an income for HVC as well as a great asset for the Cygnet community and a beautiful venue for a wide range of conferences and the like, attracting business from Hobart and even interstate. (EH 18/04/18)

20. I would love to see a project that involves sustainable building, a true community garden, nature playground etc. An eco-village would be awesome!

HOWEVER… as a slightly less ambitious initial project my dream would be to see a plastic recycling plant as shown in the following link: https://preciousplastic.com/

Precious Plastic have put together the blueprints and all the information needed to build a plastic recycling plant in a shipping container… It’s a totally awesome idea and one that’s doable with some grants or fundraising. The blueprints etc are completely free.

Not only would such a facility help deal with our ever-growing problem of plastic pollution at a local level, it would set an example for other towns across Tasmania. Having a dedicated place to take your plastics would also encourage people to pick up rubbish around the town… knowing that it would then be turned into something useful.

Maybe we could include some sort of token system where kids (or anyone) could collect plastics, put them in the disposal unit and get a ‘reward’ in the form of tokens that can be exchanged for some of the goods produced. My 12 yr old daughter for one would LOVE to do this.

This set up of this project would require a few skilled people, but the biggest problem – HOW to do it – is all there for free at Precious Plastic. Once set up it could potentially be run by volunteers.

Anyway, thank you for your consideration. I have been wondering for a while how and where such a facility could be set up and now I see a little glimmer of possibility!

Also: include a food forest please! Loads of fruit and nut trees… there could be grape and kiwifruit vines, avocados even… mmm.
Food for all 🙂

(FM 19/04/18)

20. (PM 19/04/18)


21. I think we owe it to the town’s old folk to make sure they are taken care of when they decide to downsize and look for smaller places to live.

A perfect example is my old neighbour who has lived in Cygnet his entire life. This is his home – he doesn’t know anywhere else. The idea that when he is forced to leave his house to something smaller and more user friendly will result in him having to leave his hometown is heart-breaking.

I am acutely aware that Cygnet has undergone some big changes over the last few decades and sitting quietly in the background are the old folk who have graciously watched their town be taken from them in some regards. They are an untapped resource. They are the connection to the town’s past and they very often have a better understanding of what’s best for the town’s future.

It’s our duty to look after them. It also looks after their families who won’t have travel elsewhere to keep a connection with their parents/grandparents.

I think we should adopt a European model for the ‘Old School Farm’ and have our older folk as a central part of it. Provide independent living for them in one area, have your community gardens / permaculture garden next to them so that they can play a part in looking after it as well as perhaps incorporating school programmes where the school kids come down and work with the retirees. It’s the absolutely perfect position to incorporate all of this. As well as being close to the medical centres which could also branch into the village to provide the elder care so desperately needed.

Cygnet prides itself on being a ‘community’ and central to this ethos is taking care of the older folk. (BC 19/04/18)

22. What a wonderful opportunity we get, as a community, to have a say-quite unusual so we all need to get it as right as we can and be as happy as we can be with so many opinions to make the final decision.
All the ideas cited on the handout, except for the shopping centre, sound great!
As we are all ageing, we need affordable housing for all, as close as possible to town facilities and in this day and age, all housing of course, needs to be energy efficient and in pleasing surroundings. Simple!!! It would be amazing if some clever person could come up with a unique proposal to set an example for other communities who would be envious of our community being able to have its say.
Many of us have moved here from elsewhere, mainly the mainland, and love the apparent simplicity of the town (although we all know it to be delightful layers of complexity) so the eco village idea appealed to us as long as it caters for a range of finances.
The site seems to lend itself to at least a nature/tree belt down the “gully”, we’d hate to see any of the existing trees felled and no little boxes all in a row made of ticky-tacky please.

Thank you for taking this on board. Unfortunately my husband and I are unable to attend the Walk and Talk on Sunday but wish you success. Sorry we appear to be fence sitting with no real opinions, but it has been an interesting topic of conversation in our house which we wanted you to know happened so that it doesn’t sound as if we are ignoring the situation. We’ll be following it with interest and have to go along with those who have all the good ideas. (H&GS 19/04/18)

23. Firstly thank you for the invitation to submit suggestions for the development of the ‘School Farm’ site. I admire your decision to proceed in a fully consultative manner to involve the community and gather ideas. As a long-time resident of our lovely little town and a former student of Cygnet Area School I welcome this opportunity. I am unable to attend the ‘walk and talk’ session on Sunday so am putting forward some ideas of how I would like to see the land development to benefit our community.

These ideas would of course require the backing of a developer –

Independent/affordable living units for seniors and people living with disabilities – some of the units to be available for purchase and others under a rental agreement similar to the independent living rental units at Dover which are owned by the Huon Valley Council

Ideally a housing development would be enhanced by the inclusion of a community multi-purpose building for groups to meet and space for a community garden and outdoor areas for recreation The multi-purpose space would also be a good area to cater for a small day respite facility

Best wishes for a successful meeting on Sunday – I look forward to following the progress on your website. (SW 20/04/18)

24. With an ageing population in the Cygnet area, I would like to see an Independent Living Units/Retirement Village, over 55’s, model for this site, which could incorporate such things as a community garden, walking tracks etc, all within a landscaped garden area incorporating the current trees/vegetation. As people downsize, this would leave the larger homes in the area available for the younger generation with families. As one ages we need to live surrounded with like minded people of a similar age group, not young children/teenagers, counting out mixed living housing. If this is all too much for the council to handle, perhaps they could sell the land to a Retirement Group, such as, The Baldwin Group, which runs Vaucluse Gardens in Hobart, or Aveo, which operates Derwent Waters Village in Claremont, which is run as a cheaper model affordable for people living on a pension.

Council may be interested in a report commissioned by the Property Council outlining the savings to government of people over the age of 65, who choose to downsize to a retirement village, showing people are healthier, happier and living independently for longer, saving $1.98 billion per year in federal aged care facilities. This is because people who live in the retirement village setting generally require to move into aged care on an average of 5 years later that the general population. The full report can be viewed at http://www.retirementliving.org.au/industry/services/research/.  (LF 20/04/18)

25. Cygnet needs a pool!
http://www.vanderhoofpool.ca/pool_Benefits.html (MR 21/04/18)

SUGGESTION (MM 09/04/18)

Check out:


nerima plan


  1. “What are you suggesting? The whole area or just part of it? Who would pay for it?Who would maintain it? ” (JS 09/04/18)
  2. (MM 12/04/18) Obviously we couldn’t have anything quite as extensive and elaborate as Nerima.However, my idea was that I thought Nerima Gardens was the sort of community initiative that worked well in Qld and could work well in such a central position in Cygnet, in that it is easily accessible to residents and visitors, incorporates extant mature trees, has winding paths that maximise different views and prolong the walk, provides a peaceful place to walk or sit, and lends itself to community involvement both in construction and maintenance.  It could provide a space of beauty, usefulness and heritage value into the future for Cygnet.For Cygnet could even incorporate sculptures by local artists dotted around, and murals on the back of fences, and be called the Cygnet Art Garden, and become a place tourists sought to visit.Personally, I would prefer the whole 10 acres to be park, but I have noted the number of pleas for social housing already on the website.  I also note that Council would receive no proceeds of sale and no rate payments from a park, as opposed to from housing of some sort.MMIf I had to advocate for part of Old School Farm only, it would be the Golden Valley Rd side of the Farm site so as to protect and preserve the mature trees there, in particular the two conifers, which I’m told are rare.  Rough boundary suggestions only.

I have no experience in planning, nor am I good at costing landscaping.

My off-the-cuff ideas re funding are:

  1. A landscaping plan by a kind landscaper with park experience?
  2. Volunteer construction, hopefully with Council contribution. (It doesn’t have to be constructed overnight, and could be an ongoing project as funds and materials become available.) Labour and materials including plant tube stock to be contributed by Cygnet residents, as well as school children and the usual community groups that do so much for our township.
  3. Maintenance: Volunteer labour and secure “gold coin” metal boxes at intervals in the park asking for contributions to upkeep.  An educational component by school children providing some occasional labour?
  4. The usual cake stalls, quiz nights etc to raise funds.

As far as funding generally, I imagine that others in the community could have useful and realistic suggestions and planning experience.

I wonder whether other Councils in Australia have achieved something like this on a largely volunteer basis?  Perhaps advice could be sought from them.              MM


SUGGESTION ( BS 11/04/18)

What about something like this?

housing lots


SUGGESTION (DF 12/04/18)

The talking points contained here: Healthy Parks – Healthy People re green space are applicable not just to cities but to smaller urban areas also. What will Cygnet look like in 25 or 35 years from now? What might constitute a lasting and valuable legacy from the current generation to the next? Can Cygnet perhaps arrive at a win/win solution that provides attractive, affordable, appropriate and liveable accommodation in harmony with open space/gardens/walking tracks and or space for recreational and cultural activities and festivals.


COMMENTS ……………..

SUGGESTION ( SYM 12/04/18)

Possibly part of the site should be something like this Dutch example: Hogewyk




Example of a Californian eco-village development.



 The “Old School Farm” site –  background information 

Huon Valley Council (HVC) owns a large block (approx. 4ha / 10 acres) of vacant land, right in the heart of Cygnet, behind the new Medical Centre in George Street. This was the Cygnet Area School farm and currently HVC /ratepayers get no income or other financial benefit from ownership of this valuable land and it may even be costing us money.

In 2003 plans were drawn up for a 31 housing lot sub-division and then in 2009 new plans were prepared for a combination of 13 housing lots and 18 pairs of con-joined “independent living units”. For various reasons nothing has happened.

At the recent community forum the HVC general manager, Emilio Reale, suggested that, rather than council proposing plans, it might be better if the Cygnet community propose the ideas and suggested that we start with a “blank page”.

The Cygnet Association (TCA) has decided to take up this challenge but we are not the Cygnet community, just a part of it. And so we are asking anyone and everyone who has an interest in the future of our township to give some thought to how the land could best be used.

In the past council has presented the community with pre-conceived plans to comment on. This time we have been given a blank page. So let’s make the most of this opportunity.