Avatar's Abode , Woombye, Queensland
Meher Baba's Visit to the Abode in 1958
|Motto||a stopping place on the road to the Beloved|
Avatar's Abode is a 99-acre (40 ha) spiritual retreat about 75 miles (121 km) north of Brisbane, Australia dedicated to Meher Baba. The site has a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean to the east and over valleys, farmlands and rolling blue hills to the
west. By Meher Baba's wish, Avatar's Abode can never be sold, but must be kept as a place of pilgrimage.
The urge to establish a place dedicated Meher Baba in Queensland grew out of a letter from Meher Baba’s sister and disciple, Mani Irani. In 11th January 1958, she wrote to the Australian group of followers that Meher Baba wished to give his Sahavas (company) in Australia at one place only, and that Baba would "like Queensland if the climate is good during June, and if the place is practical."
This letter impelled Francis Brabazon - a major figure in the early group - to drive from Sydney to a number of Queensland locations in search of a possible ‘first preference’ venue. Using money willed to him by the Australian Sufi leader Baron Von Frankenburg for such a purpose, Brabazon eventually found and purchased an eighty-two-acre pineapple farm on Kiel Mountain, Woombye, Queensland. Brabazon telegramed Meher Baba to approve the purchase of the property which was then used to host Meher Baba on his second visit to Australia in 1958.
At that time, neither Brabazon nor any of the Australian Baba group lived in Queensland or knew the area. Thus to develop the centre for Meher Baba's visit, devotees travelled back and forth for several hundred - or even thousands - of kilometers between Keil’s Mountain and their homes or work in Sydney or Melbourne. Others simply camped out. Despite such distances and several other obstacles – no power, no running water, and a great deal of mud and rain -in a few months the group managed to construct roads, buildings and water supply on the property.
Meher Baba Himself named Avatar’s Abode. He stayed there for three and a half days in June 1958, meeting people and giving various messages and instructions. Although the property was given to him, Meher Baba handed it back explaining that he held no property. He also had workers reimbursed for their contributions, and - over time - requested a number of families or individuals to either reside at Avatar's Abode or to help develop it. Over the next decade, Meher Baba gave various instructions as to the management and development of Avatar's Abode - changing arrangements according to what was required or what was occuring there.
After Meher Baba's death, between 1969 and 1984, the poet Francis Brabazon lived at Avatar's Abode. His grave is situated on the property. Around the same time, Avatar’s Abode emerged as a transit/ meeting point for Australian youth investigating Alternative/ Eastern lifestyles and spiritualities, and as a focal point for many people dedicated to Meher Baba.Indeed, by the 1980s, a small community of followers started living in and around the centre.
Avatar's Abode Today
Today, through Avatar's Abode Trust and the Meher Baba Foundation, Avatar's Abode preserves buildings and items associated with Meher Baba's life and helps distribute information and literature about Meher Baba. It features forest walks and gardens, structures used for performances, dining and reception, an extensive archives, and a range of bunk and family accommodation for persons interested in or committed to Meher Baba.
Avatar's Abode is a quiet retreat for followers and persons interested in learning more about Meher Baba. Visitors from all over the world, including close disciples of Meher Baba, stay from time to time. The centre sees considerable use during festivals marking special days associated with Meher Baba's life, or for other gatherings of youth or adults. The largest of these is the annual anniversary which celebrates Meher Baba's visit to the property. This can draw several hundred attendees on some years.