Our Community
Work

In order to be as self-supporting as possible, the Brothers produce saleable wares as well as tending their own sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits which provide food for the table as well as an extra source of income when some can be sold. The following details some of the work currently undertaken by the Brothers.

Community Wares

Jams/Chutneys/Marmalade

The Brothers grow fruit and vegetables on the property. That which is surplus to their own needs is made into jams, chutneys, etc for sale to supplement their income. Generous friends also sometimes supply fruit to be used for this purpose.

Honey

The bee hives on the property (about 10 in number) supply honey which is bottled and sold for community funds.

Holding Crosses

Holding crosses are made by the Brothers and each is carved individually so no two are exactly alike. Each cross is blessed. Click here to find out what a Holding Cross is and how to use it.

Blank Greeting Cards

Six (6) varieties of cards are available. Two (2) feature buildings on the Brothers’ property (Goat Dairy and Stone Hermitage). These are reproductions of original paintings by Elizabeth Irby Laurillard. One card features the creek which runs through the property (Sister Water) and is from an original photo taken by the Brothers. The card depicting the Carceri Hermitages established by St Francis is also from an original picture taken by the Little Brothers of Francis.

The card depicting the Icon of the Visitation was painted by Sr Marie-Paul, OSB, a nun living in a Benedictine Monastery on the Mount of Olives in the Holy Land.

St Francis (& Canticle of the Sun)

Icon of the Visitation

Hermitages, Carceri

Stone Hermitage

Sister Water
(creek running through Eremophila)

Tending the Animals

Animals are kept close to the community centre at night but are released into other paddocks further afield for grazing during the day. The grazing assists in keeping the foliage on the floor of the paddocks low as a fire-prevention measure.

The animals’ feed is supplemented by the Brothers, particularly in times of drought.

1 day-old lambs

Orphan lamb being hand-reared

Newborn kids

Construction

All buildings on the property have been constructed by the Brothers, particularly Brother Geoffrey who has done some marvellous stonework in the construction of the Brothers’ hermitages, the Goat Shed, the Guest Cottage, the pillars on which the Refectory stands and the Bell Tower. All stone used has been gathered on the property. The Community Building has been completely lined with pine wood and the Refectory, with its beautiful wooden floor, stands out over the cliff looking down to Plumbago Creek. The floor of the Prayer Room is sandstone which was sourced from the quarry at Helidon which supplies all stone for the building of St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane. In the Prayer Room, the prayer book shelves (each Brother has one), the lectern, the cross and the candle holder have been carved by Brother Geoffrey from timber found on the property.

Gathering Wood

The only electricity on the property is that provided by a few solar panels. The main meal each day is cooked on a large wood-burning stove (an excellent heater in the winter!) and water for baths or showers is heated by a wood fire. Each hermitage has its own wood fire for heating during winter. A large stock of wood is therefore necessary and readily available in the paddocks on the property. Some trees die and fall of their own accord, others are struck by lightning. Whatever the cause, the tree trunks are sawn into useable blocks and collected for the wood piles.

Using a Holding Cross

When sick or faced with difficulties, just touch the cross to be reminded of the cross of Christ and Him crucified. When words fail or it is difficult to pray, just hold the cross as an act of prayer and of love for God.  You can use whatever short prayer speaks to your heart and helps you to pray, like the following centring prayers:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

Lord Jesus, your heart burns with love for me: inflame my heart with love for you.

Jesus

God is love

Gardening, Beekeeping and Fencing

The Brothers attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible and grow whatever vegetables and fruit they are able to. Some of their own fruit is made into jams etc for sale. Stone fruit, citrus and olive are the main trees in the orchard

The Brothers have a small apiary (about 10 hives) and harvest their own honey for bottling and sale.

The property consists of 330 acres (133.5 hectares) of rock in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range – locally described as “rubbish country”. A creek running through the property provides water for bathing etc and makes a lovely swimming hole in the hot weather.

Fencing is important to protect the stock from dingoes. The Brothers have installed some electric fencing run from the solar electricity panels installed on the community building