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No Men, No Meat, No Machines

Amber Jackson, Kerryn Higgs & Sophie Robinson

In these dark and challenging times, who hasn't thought of escaping the patriarchy to live in a feminist utopia? Meet the women whose separatist communes set them apart in the 1970s. 

Hosted by Fenella Souter.

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“It was pretty feral at times and quite wild, but it was about exploring the boundaries. We had sisterhood energy. It changes an environment when there are men." 

Sand Hall 

What's it really like to start your own society?

In the 1970s, a group of women decamped to Amazon Acres in northern NSW, with a policy of no men, no meat, no machines. Far away from the male gaze, safe from assault and harassers, they created a separate space for women. They were part of a global trend where women around the world were creating their own, idealistic societies.

How have these communities endured? What do they say about the political times that created them? And do they have a future? Amazon Acres' founder, Kerryn Higgs, found acceptance and a sense of purpose among other women and lesbians. Amber Jackson lived there with her mother, from the ages of seven to fourteen. Take this rare opportunity for a glimpse into a sequestered world and learn about the politics and vision that created it.  

More about...

Amber Jackson 

Amber grew up with her Mum on the Women’s Lands in northern NSW where there was no power, but all the freedom in the world. She moved to Sydney at 14 and some land friendships still endure. Her communal upbringing has made her open to befriending almost anyone. She’s worked making shoes, in childcare and spent years at some of Sydney’s best loved restaurants. Amber now works with her husband Jonny in their art business.Most nights she can be found cooking, dancing and singing – often simultaneously – with Jonny and her son Monte, while they plan their next adventure.

Kerryn Higgs

Kerryn discovered the Mountain and founded the Mountain Co-op. She wrote All That False Instruction, Australia’s first lesbian novel—or second if you include The Getting of Wisdom. It’s also our first second wave feminist novel. Her latest book, Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet distils four decades of thinking about the ecological limits to economic growth. She is a historian and an environmental and feminist activist, and was the founder of Women against Nuclear Energy (WANE) in the 70s. She has taught at Melbourne Uni and UNSW. She grows vegies, and built a house on the mountain.

Dr. Sophie Robinson

Dr. Sophie Robinson is a historian of Australian feminist, lesbian and queer communities that have emerged since the 1970s. She is the State Library of NSW's Nancy Keesing Fellow for 2020 and the Secretary of Sydney’s Pride History Group which collects the oral histories of Sydney’s LGBTQI+ communities.

Fenella Souter

Fenella Souter is an award-winning senior feature writer, editor and interviewer. She was editor of Good Weekend, in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, for seven years, before choosing to return to feature writing. In recent years, she has also co-produced and presented documentary programs for ABC Radio, the most recent being a two-part series for RN on the 1970s and ‘80s feminist community known as ‘Amazon Acres’

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