Great Ocean Road

Ron hugging something he loves, a Mountain Ash gum tree

Ron is well qualified to welcome visitors from overseas to his cottages as he speaks English, German, Spanish, Indonesian and Thai, with a smattering of French, Japaneese and Portuguese. Talking with Ron is an education. The man has travelled extensively and read deeply, yet somehow he has managed to create some magnificent spaces by the grace of his hands, his appetite for activity and the spiritual philosophies that inspire him.

The story starts in 1959, when Ron’s parents migrated to Anglesea from Germany. He calls the ocean his first and prime love, growing up near it, he has been a surfer since he was 13. Ron’s restless energy and love of adventure drew him westwards in search of bigger waves, because he wanted to find more challenges in the water. Those were the days when the Great Ocean Road stopped at Apollo Bay. Anything west of that meant a long and slow drive through the hinterland, but that drive brought Ron up close and personal with mountain ash, myrtle beech and blackwood.

Distressed at the sight of logging, Ron decided to minimize the damage the best he could by making an impact of his own, first by buying up some land and then by planting trees. Eventually Ron found the block at Yuulong with ocean views, which meant a forest home that let him keep a check on the surf. There he saw the opportunity to build something himself, to do it well and make a statement of his own about how we can learn to live in the natural world.

Seatree Cottages and the main house are tributes to the bush. Ron wanted people to enjoy what he loves about the Otways, so he created buildings that added to that sense of place, and not just be something that he “knocked up”. The cottages follow the spirit of the main house, which is made from locally sourced materials, especially mountain ash and blackwood, that he used to make a parquetry mandala on the living room floor. Sitting above all of that is a large glass pyramid modelled on the Great Pyramid of Giza and aligned on the cardinal points. Cottage guests have the added attraction of seeing Ron’s pyramid glowing at night from solar-powered lighting.

Naturally, the architect-enhanced cottage designs are environmentally sensitive. The materials are all natural, right down to the paint and the insulation. Water reticulates to the hundreds of trees Ron planted; compost goes into the organic garden from which Ron supplies guests with it’s seasonal produce; His cottages design was sensitive to the needs of the disabled and so Alcoa awarded him for his services. There are bees on the property so that guests can enjoy local honey, while sheep , horses & Alpacas graze on the property. Ron wants his guests to be fully immersed in the spirit and sensations of land and sea and sky.

A vegetarian for some 25 years, Ron meditates and practices yoga daily. As he finds himself surfing less, Ron has taken up karate to sharpen his mind and reflexes. He is a student of philosophy and an observer of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. He has faith in the generating powers of happiness. Seatree Cottages stand as living testimony to the ideals and beliefs that Ron holds sacred. Let the cottages he built , tell his story.

Ron can be contacted at Seatree Cottages on T: 03 5237 5276 M: 0429 631 464
and please don't forget to mention Great Ocean Road Trip when you do.


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