Suzy Barry and Sudha Hamilton are publishers of the national Eco Living Magazine which they say “embraces the holistic nature of life and the universe”. The magazine focuses on ecological sustainability including businesses, products and lifestyles. Suzy and Sudha moved themselves, their two children and their magazine to Maleny a year ago. Sudha, who changed to his Rajneesh name in the early 80s, has a background in sales and food writing while Suzy’s background is in linguistics, education and magazine editing. Their previous magazine venture was Conscious Living.
Why did you come here?
Suzy: We’d been visiting Fountainhead Organic Retreat for quite a few years and we loved this area. It just felt like the perfect balance of country atmosphere, and a real concentration of conscious people.
Sudha: We had gone to the Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains with the intention of finding what we eventually found here. The first time I drove up that hill to Maleny, I could sense there was a magic in the air, which we didn’t find in the Blue Mountains. I do think there is a high density level of conscious people up here, you know - awareness of themselves and how they affect others, growth, spirituality, consciousness of the planet, eco and internal health.
I mean, just hanging out and walking down the main street of Maleny and being in the IGA is just a positive experience. People look at you and smile and they say hi.
Suzy: There was a sense of restraint in everything in the Blue Mountains that we don’t feel here. We’ve found a real open, expansive, can-do kind of attitude.
What did you have to change in coming here?
Sudha: I think I have become more self sufficient. I have started growing my own vegies in the backyard and I cook all the time. I have started painting, and I guess getting in touch with parts of myself that I hadn’t before.
Suzy: It wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago to publish a magazine like this in a place like this. The graphics are done in Perth. We do all the writing and the layout and it’s printed in Singapore.
Suzy: What we have tried to do is bring our diverse interests to the publication – Sudha’s knowledge base in eco living, health and awareness, and my interests in community, education issues and conscious parenting. We wanted to really raise the level of the editorial, and create a magazine that we could feel comfortable paying for. We want people to come away from it feeling that they have learnt something. It’s a business of course, but we are also wanting to help make a difference, as naive as that sounds!
Sudha: With a lot of the other publications, their editorial is often not critically informed. They are mainly advertorials; for people who are really only interested in cosmetic change not real change.
Suzy is the technical editor and I am more involved with the ideas and content. I do most of the writing… 20,000 sold throughout Australia.
Why would you stay here?
Suzy: I think we will stay here but do I have itchy feet, though that’s a given for me. I have to say though, I have never encountered a community which I would really love my kids to grow up in. We’ve got the children starting at pre school and kindy at the River school next year and we’re in Maleny to stay. The kids love it, they call it ‘Laney’.
Sudha: This is the most beautiful place that I have ever lived in. Maleny to me is a bit like a magical village sitting at the top of a steep green hill, half in the real world and half somewhere else. If we can make a go of living here I would like to stay. Of course nothing in our life is ever predictable and I am more at home living in the moment than making long range plans anyway. I mean you just never know what’s around the corner do you?