Set in a historic gold mining district, these days Castlemaine in Victoria seems to be sprouting a number of ‘green’ developments that in turn, is drawing in a range of famous and talented people to the area.

The latest development is set to be a 30-home, 1.39-hectare eco-village site, designed by Geoff Crosby, the former Hunters and Collectors keyboard player and now architect who has already achieved success with another Living Building Challenge-designed project in Castlemaine, known as the Bull Street Terraces.

Called ‘The Paddock’, and set to be developed by local husband and wife team Neil and Heather Barrett, who are combining with Crosby to build what will eventually become a 8.5 star NatHERS rated project.

For their part, the Barretts are known locally for their solar bulk buy operation called More Australian Solar Homes or MASH, which, according to their website, to date has 700 installations under its belt.


Compared to the average new home built in Victoria with a 6 star rating, houses at The Paddock will require lower amounts of electricity for heating and cooling, according to the available literature.  

A comfortable temperature range will be maintained in each home for much of the year using natural sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun and breezes. 

This will be achieved by orientating each home appropriately on its site and ensuring careful design of the building envelope (i.e. roof, walls, windows and floors). 

The benefits will include increased comfort, lower heating and cooling bills and reduced CO2 emissions. 

According to Crosby, there will be "4kW generated on each roof, and the whole site will be generating wholesale power."

This type of energy-effcient design noted Crosby was "part of the future when it comes to new housing estates".


Up to 30 1.5 TO 4 Bedroom homes
Total land size: 1.39 hectares
Distance from Castlemaine: 1.5km
External walls: dark and light timber
Roofing: corrugated iron
Insulation: All walls will be insulated and walls between attached properties will have double brick walls with a cavity for increased sound insulation
Windows: double-glazed with timber frames
Internal walls: painted bagged brick
Living spaces: timber
Bathroom and toilet: tiles
Bedrooms: carpets
Solar power to rule at The Paddock
Each house – regardless of its size – will have over 4kW of solar panels and the shared building will have the same. 

In fact, according to the latest calculations, slightly more electricity will be produced annually than is used by residents, with excess clean energy fed back into the grid. Hot water and space heating will be powered by electric heat pumps. 

Interestingly, in a continent that is quite literally floating on natural gas, there will be no gas connection as The Paddock will be all-electric.  


With so much solar power being generated, The Paddock will include an electric charging station as one of site’s features. 

Residents will be able to use it to charge electric bikes, and for those that have them, electric cars as well.

Around two-thirds of the land will be dedicated to shared food gardens, orchards, planted wetlands, small wetlands and native gardens. 

Car parking will be limited to the perimeter, close to the back of each house, creating a central garden area.

Walking paths and tracks will connect the property with nearby bush and provide quick access into the centre of town, the train station (with regular services to Melbourne and Bendigo) and nearby schools.

Stage 1 of The Paddock is set for completion in early 2019.