Artist at Stringybark Studio
In the early 80's Jo purchased 10 acres of land in Wandin East, Victoria, 3/4 bush block, and taking long service leave from teaching, built stage one of her mudbrick house, MINGLEWOOD. Being on rich red volcanic soil, great for market gardens, but not mudbricks, she imported the clay from a nearby farm dam that was being dug, and made the bricks on-site, using a clever lever compression device. She felled stringybark trees from the site and stripped them of their bark, for the uprights of the house, and had a builder place them and do the roof. The rest of the house she basically did herself, bar plumbing and electricity. She sold the house only a couple of years after moving in as she married and had to move back to the suburbs, giving up her vege garden, 20 Light Sussex chooks, 2 goats, Jessica and Annie and 2 black sheep, Lamington and Raku.
It was sad to leave behind, but the thrill of having accomplished it will never fade.
She is proud to say that when she came back from some years in Canberra 25 yrs later, the house was on the market again for the first time, all still standing ,stages 2 & 3 completed by the new owners (although not quite to the original plan) but unfortunately too pricey to buy back. The feelings when she visited to the Open House convinced Jo that she had to move back to the hills, and that is why she is now in Healesville again (she taught at the High School there there just before building Minglewood in the 70's).
The photos here are from the Real Estate advert when Minglewood went on the market 2011.
Minglewood was named after a Jug Band song by Geoff and Maria Muldaur, Jim Kweskin Jug Band (Jo was a lover of Jug Band Music)