13 March 2023

Ruth and I are moving on…

Ruth and I have been incredibly fortunate to act as custodians for a small farm in the Yarra Valley these past 20 years; now it is someone else’s turn, it is time for us to move on...

So this is to pay pictorial homage to this wonderful place, its magnificent trees and the garden that has fed us for all this time. And maybe you might know of someone interested in a genuine lifestyle property: 40 McMaster’s Rd, Gladysdale adjoining the Little Yarra River and State Forest… , but first

   Thought for the Day

      There is no value in life

      Except what you choose to place upon it

      And no happiness in any place

      Except what you bring to it yourself

               Henry David Thoreau


For me it is the trees. Magnificent! 

Hundred year old Oaks, Elms and Liquid Ambers

Others prefer the intimacy of the forest paths

Still others, the towering Manna Gums, 

Messmates and other native forest trees.

Plus the Little Yarra River...

Some draw more joy from the landscaped flower gardens

Others, including us of course, 

have benefited from the rich soil 

developed in the vegetable beds over 20 years 

– will grow almost anything well now… 

The property has been managed using biodynamic and/or organic gardening principles for over 30 years. (It was fully BD for at least 10 years before we arrived). 

No domestic animals have grazed the land during our tenure.

We did make some enormous compost heaps

over the years... 

The orchard features most common and several uncommon fruit and nut varieties. A range of avocadoes and macadamias are highlights. 

There is a tree register recording all the significant trees – what they are; where and when they were planted.


There are many thousands of naturalised daffodils spread over around 1HA of the property 
– truly a field of gold in Spring. 

There are also many tulips, hyacinths and lilies.


The house is believed to have been built first in the 1920s and was one of the pioneering homesteads of the area. 

A significant extension was made in 1988, and renovated further in days gone by. 


We have rented out the single bedroom cottage to a series of excellent tenants. 

This quaint building was built by the Belgian Consul in 1956 to house some of their Olympic Equestrian team as they trained over the road at the Shirley Heights Equestrian Centre - which is still operating.


And there is the luxury of a self-contained studio 

where I do my painting.


The shed features one of my follies 

– a shadow board for tools I painted 

over a Christmas years ago. 

It also has electricity, lighting, water and a sink

And adjoins the glasshouse and 2 double carports.

The glasshouse also has electricity, lighting, water and a sink.


The property is blessed with multiple water sources that are very reliable.

i)               Roof tanks for house and cottage. 

ii)              There is a 200 litre stainless steel water tank that collects water for drinking. This tank also runs by gravity and has a bi-pass valve so water can be collected only when very clean.

iii)            Two megalitre domestic and stock pumping right from Little Yarra River. 

There is an old pumphouse and electric pump on the river bank.

iv)            A bore is linked to an extensive watering system that spreads throughout the garden, orchard and landscaping.  

v)             A substantial 4 megalitre dam is also linked by gravity feed to the watering system.

How does it feel?

Family, friends and others are asking how I feel about moving after spending so much time in this beautiful place, and having developed the gardens to such an extent?

It feels wonderful to have been here so long – the longest both Ruth and I have ever lived in the one place. But we never truly own anything – do we? We are just passing through… custodians for a while; with the opportunity to leave the place a little better than when we arrived. Hopefully, both the land, plants and buildings are all like that – a little better than when we arrived. 

So with gratitude, we are moving on… Very content with our time here.

Where to? 

Not exactly sure yet. We have a one bedroom flat in Melbourne that will provide a good interim, and once we have finalised things here, we can look to what comes next…


  1. Hi Ian and Ruth
    Wishing you both every warm and best wish for your ‘ moving on ‘ .
    What a magnificent property you leave . It will attract the perfect buyer to be its next custodian .
    With love and gratitude to you both .
    Kay Rosen
    PS Meditation in the desert with you both was an indelible experience for me .

  2. All blessings for your next steps on the journey

  3. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand

    1. We used this lovely Irish saying to close the Mind, Immunity and Health conferences in Lorne back in the 90s. Now that was a fun time - and helped awaken Mind-Body Medicine for many health professionals. Thanks for the reminder :)

  4. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend time in this sanctuary. Yes, we are all just passing through and ownership in 'real-estate' terms is meaningless. Such places and times though live on, through our hearts, minds and souls. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Blessings to you both. Enjoy the journey as I know you will. And Ian- you are so right. We just pass through. Carmen Nichols 🙏

    1. How we leave where we have been is important - if we degrade where we live through how we live, we are a drag on everything; if the opposite, we may make some small difference for good :)

  6. Your generosity of spirit will remain in every aspect of the landscape. Go with blessings and gratitude from your community.

  7. Beautiful newsletter Ian but sad. It was an honour to have spent time at the farm and to have experienced your magnificent garden and produce and the care you put into it. But yes life is impermanent and we must be gracious with changes. But it’s bloody hard nevertheless!! Wishing you both well in this new journey. Lots of love Andy and Sel xx

    1. I actually have always enjoyed change - after all, it is an inescapable fact of life; might as well enjoy it! And who knows what comes next... :)

  8. I wish you both well on your next journey together. My time at The Gawler Foundation with a group of amazing people looking to a future that they wished would exclude their illness, was life changing. It was one of the most informative and enjoyable experiences in my lifetime. It will be a memory that will stay with me, on all levels; the Meditation Sanctuary, the harp, the food, the kangaroos and a koala that my daughter and I saw but when others went out to see, it had gone ... the friendships, the tears, the laughs, the support from an incredible staff who looked after us.
    From the land of the Kiwis
    Thank you Ian and Ruth - what an amazing life you have had and what a blessing for those who attended The Foundation

    1. Great memories - what a wonderful place and what a wonderful team put on such amazing and life-transforming programs. It was a delight to be a part of it all... :)

  9. Dear Ruth and Ian
    My heart strings are touched
    When i read your news of moving on

    Springs to mind
    The Seasons of our Life
    May this change bring you both a little more time for rest and contemplation
    And Golden Time
    Thank you so much for all the Love and Wisdom you have planted in
    Our world
    Go Gently to where ever this new path may lead
    Geraldine Frith

  10. You probably don’t remember me, but I knew you decades ago back in Melbourne. I have heard bits about your story and your work down the years and have been glad to know that you both survive.
    I don’t travel much these years, being partially sighted, very old, and sole carer for my disabled husband, but I do remember people, you two included, and I wish you the very best in your new adventure. Long may you, and the legacy of your brave work, continue to grow!

  11. Many thanks for your kind words and thoughts Bev, and all the best to you :)

  12. Dear Ian, I send my very best and sincere wishes to you and Ruth in your "moving on". Wherever you arrive I believe that place will be fortunate. Rarely a day goes by that I do not think with gratitude about my times at the Gawler Foundation and the inspiration, teaching and healing I received over many years. Thank you, Pam

    1. Many thanks Pam, nice to hear from you and your kind thoughts are appreciated - be well :)

  13. Dear Dr. Ian Gawler, I discovered your book "You Can Conquer Cancer" edited in 1984, translated to Dutch. I am a Belgian (European) bladder cancer patient who is luckily again on a good path thanks to all your recommendations. You are giving so much insights, inspiration and courage which gave me the force to conquer cancer. Many many thanks for sharing all your wisdom. Kind regards

    1. Thank you for the kind words and all the best for your own healing journey :)

  14. I wish you both every happiness and good health in your next sojourn. I have over the decades sent my clients to your healing retreat. I have enjoyed your workshops and you have without doubt been my inspiration to meditate over the last 30 years. God bless.

  15. Dear Ian and Ruth. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your gifts with me and the thousands of souls who found a path less travelled..which is now much more travelled because of your dedication, service, brilliance, kindness and love....in the healing temple/farm you created in the Yarra Valley. For over 30 years the brilliant light you shone has guided me on that path from great suffering to one of acceptance peace and freedom. The spiritual energy of the living centre will live on long after we leave this mortal coil, as the aboriginal healing spaces have for many thousands of years. 1992 was my first visit and have always felt a sense of great comfort knowing your centre existed. bringing a piece of Heaven to Earth. I AM well and happy as I AM too passsing through. Thank you <3

  16. What beautiful words; and very kind sentiment. Thank you and best wishes :)