If you’re interested in joining Goolawah Co-operative you can apply for membership and if approved, buy a share, if one is available. Members have a right to occupy home improvement sites or lots of approx 5,000 sq.m (1.25 acres), which are grouped together in several ‘hamlets’.

The Co-operative owns all the land on behalf of its members, who do not hold any freehold title for their lots. Your share’s entitlement to a designated lot includes any exisiting improvements (dwellings, dams, gardens, sheds).

The Co-op has Development Consent under SEPP15 planning legislation for rural land-sharing, which requires it to be your principal place of residence. Individual dwelling development is subject to Council approval.

To help you learn about the Co-op, and decide if you would like to join:

  • Carefully consider our website information, including membership and costs.
  • Visit the Co-op, talk to members. Your membership must be approved by the community before you can acquire a share. After initial contact with our Secretary, visit arrangements can be made, including observation at community meetings and attendance at social events.
  • Read ‘Creating a Life Together’ by Diana Leafe Christian.
  • Read the rules, by-laws and code of conduct (under Rules), setting out member rights and responsibilities. It is a condition of membership that members agree to abide by them. 
  •  If you decide to apply, the application process will help you learn more about us and for us to get to know you. Visits to the Co-op and meeting members are also required steps in the process.

Initially you should contact the Secretary (, and a Membership Guide will be allocated to answer your questions and help with the membership process if you proceed. Please take into consideration that the membership process can take up to 6 months. 

How to apply: Membership Application Oct 2022

Initial Share Acquisition

On completion of the membership application process, your application is voted on by the community. If approved, and a member is willing to sell you a share, then you pay a joining fee and share capital directly to the Co-op.

  • The purchase of a share, which entitles you to occupy a residential site, is negotiated directly with the member selling and paid directly to them. Recent sales for sites with dwellings have been in the range $200,000 to $250,000. Currently there are no blank sites without dwellings for sale.
  • Share capital of $7,000 is paid by the buyer directly to the Co-op and is recorded on the share transfer form and share certificate.
  • The joining fee is the sum total of all annual levies per share since the Co-op’s inception in 2000, and in the last quarter of financial year 2021/22 is $9,596. The Treasurer will inform you of the exact joining fee at the time of your application.
  • Share transfer – once eligibility for membership is approved and payments made, the community formally ratifies your share transfer. The Co-op’s official share register is then updated and a new share certificate issued to you.

Ongoing Costs of Membership 

To maintain active membership an annual subscription and other levies/charges decided by the Co-op must be paid, and are subject to change:

Annual Subscription:  $625 in 2022/2023 financial year for single or joint members.

Annual Work Levy: volunteer 18 hrs of your time to the community or pay $180 levy per share.

Infrastructure Levy:  $500 in 2022/2023 per share (the Co-op maintains 12 kms road network).

Other Levies/Charges: if the community incurs costs on your behalf (e.g. fire hazard reduction work on your site) these costs will be charged to you.

Building Costs

If you purchase a share with a blank site to build on, you should budget for these costs:

• Dwelling structures must meet Australian Standards and receive Council approval. Contract building costs are similar to suburban constructions.

• When a Development Application for construction is approved by Kempsey Shire Council, it levies a one-off Section 94 Contribution (for public amenities like local roads and recreation areas) on top of DA fees. S94 fees are determined by the number of bedrooms (approx $3,700 for one bedroom in 2021) and are CPI-linked.

• The Co-operative is off-the-grid. Water collection and onsite sewage management systems (including compost toilet) must meet approved standards ($3,000+), and a stand-alone solar power system (typical costs $10-20,000, depending on your energy needs) is necessary.