About Us

The Centre for Rural Communities’ vision is of people and place existing in harmony.

In recent years the Centre has become primarily self funded through small consultancies and copyright payments (for published works used by academic institutions).

The Centre has recently:

  • co funded the development of the Goongerah Food Co-operative
  • produced an environmental sustainability kit for East Gippsland Shire
  • supported and assisted the Nowa Nowa Men’s Shed to obtain funding (the Shed is now auspiced by the Nowa Nowa Community Health Centre)
  • Funded participants to attend 2 rural conferences
  • co funded attendance and presentation at the London Red Cross Conference on Resilience of Communities
  • co funded the Women on Farms Gathering
  • supported and co funded (with Regional Development Victoria) the (f)route social enterprise
  • prepared a feasibility study for the education centre at Lake Tyers
  • Undertaken a consultancy on an Orbost Tip Shop
  • auspiced funding for a community group in Mallacoota
  • auspiced funding for a local music festival

The Centre for Rural Communities continues to seek out opportunities to work with rural communities toward social, environmental and economic well being.

An East Gippsland committee has been formed to begin planning for the Centre’s next phase of development.

We think this is an exciting time for the Centre, and a great time to attract new people to this amazing organisation. As past participants in Study Circles or in the Graduate Diploma studies we know how valuable the skills and resources that the Centre provides are.

The Centre welcomes new ideas about new directions. Learning, listening, teaching, sharing ideas.

Online, offline, on the beach, in the forest – diversity of membership and local ownership of planning has been the key to the Centre’s success.

If you would like to be a part of this Committee, or nominate to be  a member of the Centre’s Board then please contact Helen Sheil by email: helenjsheil@gmail.com or phone: 0400 193 283



Centre for Rural Communities commences

The Centre for Rural Communities was formed in 1995 to work towards the development of rural communities that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.

The dream was to have a centre where the views of rural people would be welcomed and given credibility.


Study Circle Kit developed

Building Rural Communities through Co-operation (Sheil 1997) study circle kit.

The kit was created from the shared concern for rural communities and the challenges of discovery to unknown outcomes.

The contribution this kit makes to the development and support of Australian rural communities will depend on the learning that study circles share. The use and function of this kit in your study circle is commended and encouraged.

Professor Norman Creighton.


CRC receives international recognition

Invitation to visit Mondragón Corporación Cooperativa (Basque region of Spain) and extended that invite to Australian Rural Women’s Network delegates in Madrid for Women on Farms Conference. Both the study circle kit and the professional development manual are in their co-operative library.

Invitation to visit the Linköpings Universitet, Sweden, as a guest of Professor Staffan Larsson to learn more about the tertiary education program for facilitators of study circles and the role of study circles in Sweden. Accompanied by Kate Cartwright graduate of course and practicing facilitator. Met with regional facilitators using study circles to envision the future of rural communities in Falun and Dalarna.


East Gippsland Environmental Sustainability Toolkit

The East Gippsland Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2008–2013 outlines East Gippsland Shire’s position on issues relating to the protection, preservation and enhancement of the environment and consolidates the Shire’s existing achievements, policies and plans about environmental sustainability.

The Strategy highlights Council’s progress on major considerations for environmental sustainability – including biodiversity, water quality and consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste management, among others and identifies key actions to support movement toward more sustainable operations.


Spreading the story

Presented at British Red Cross Resilience conference in London.

Presented at International Association of Community Development conference in Glasgow, on “Community is the answer’.


Partnering and Study Kit

Partnership with East Gippsland Network of Neighbourhood Houses funded by Regional Development Victoria – East Gippsland Building Community Resilience Project.

Second study circle kit: Building Community Futures through Co-operation (2015) builds on past successful approaches to locating ownership within communities with an awareness of the contribution this makes to enhancing community resilience in preparation for emergencies as well as during crisis and recovery.