. * . A FEDERATIVE HOME. BACK TO THE FAMILY GROUPS. From time to time, men tihd women who are dissatisfied with the Avorld's present social system have devised schemes for bettering it, and many • experiments ha.ye been made to show that things can be greatly improved. Among those who have taken steps in -this direction is Professor Bickerton, whose"; beautitui house and. grounds j' on the banks of the Avon 9 . near New Brighton; have been, given vp to a federative home. . v . THE PROFESSOR'S THEORY. About sixteen years ago, the Professor, to use .his own words, saw. philosophically, on the theory of evolution, that our present system of. life- was wrong. "I was absolutely convinced that the proper mode was for men to live incoherent groups," lie says, " and I saw then, what antbropolgists have demonstrated since, that in separate families or homes we could not have evolved from.the lower animals, and that if we continue ■ to. live long under the present system, the successful members of, the race will become refined brutes, the ruling type; of character being Mephistophelian. it is as natural for human beings to live in inherent groups as for birds to fly, ancl-we have to adopt this principle or deteriorate. It is a curious fact that the high finance and the manufactories of the millionaire, which are the direct outcome of our present social system^ must force us back to.the.old mode of life or enslave us." With these principles before him, the Professor, about six years ago, formed [Wainbni into a Federative Home. \ As the experiment has now had time to mature, a representative of this journal had an interview with Professor Bickerton last week, to see what progress had -been made, and he was also afforded*n opportunity of getting an insight into, the daily lives' of the "federators." THE SUCCESS OF THE-EXPERIMENT. "When we started," Hhe Professor said, in reply to a number of " questions, "we knew there v. jre so many rocks ahead that it was deemed advisable -to experiment to find out in the fullest possible manner, what were the read' difficulties. They/ very soon Ehowed themselves, and when once we had grasped them we set, to work to overcome the "stumbling-blocks, and I am glad to say that we Have been eminently successfuL A federated home is much simpler, much cheaper, and much more sociable and happy than the separated -homes in which we lived formerly. Personally, I have a great deal less responsibility now than I had before when this was my private home. "FEDERATOR'S" DAILY LIFE. "Our domestic. duties axe discharged on the principle that everybody . should do whatever ne or she likes best. -No one says to another 'You must do this,' or even ' You ought to do it.' There is, no friction, yet everything is done properly and well, the whoie system in the jioiise going on from, day to day with the utmost smootuness and. regularity. The only thing approaching a regulation is a time-table of daily duties. *' I may give my own experience as an exajaple of the daily life ox a ' iederator.' 'Being very wakeful, I irise early. I light the tires in the morning. I then make myself a cup of tea, and go to my study, axid I generally do a good deaJ. oi york before breakfast; I airi forid~bf -gairdeniiig, and •X devote some attention ;to tae plaans, "buc aay^ duties practicaMy begin aow end; with the lighting of the eariy fires, and the worki so far from feeing a burden, is a pleasure. . The other 'federators' » discharge their duties in the same manner. There is a joyous cheerfulness about everything, because nobody does what is not pleasant and congenial. A lady who joined us a short time ago said, "Oh, deai>, I do so dislike ironing, "but I aim <willing to get up early and do the washing. All the other todies present laughed, as there were plenty »ho liked; 1 that kind of work, and were only $g» willing to- do it, instead of the early %>»h. ■ ■ -..'.. -• .. DOMESTIC HELPS NOT NEEDED. "In our domestic arrangements -we have A»6 only vindicated' the principle upon shich the home was founoed, 'but have also, I believe, solved the prpbiem of domestic helps. At the present time, the whole of the household work is carried on by the * fede&ators.' We do not employ any servants -whatever; and 1 must say that the -work is done better and smoother than it was ever done befoxe. "Sometimes the ladies i -change from one thing to another, 'bui as 1 a rule they know well what they like and disiike, aha settle down at once to some particular class of duties. When the" servants left many months ago, we had one meeting to talk over the arrangements, tjince that was held, everything has beea done by mutual consent. The time-table we use "is not necessarily recorded, but is well oinder-stood. The idea is that •when ' federators ' are away they arrange with someone to take up the duties for the -time being, so that there should be no hitch. When one of the 'federatoiiS' is ill, or indisposed 1 , there are plenty :©f volunteers to fill the position. "The financiaL arrangements vary consideraibly. Those who do merely toe little routine work that is divided' amongst all. generally pay 16s a week. This is the maximum. We consider that this sum will pay for everything. There are about thirty •federators' at present. Of course, the more that come, the greater the profits. When the numbers increase there wiii be a margin after paying rent and other expenses, and then, besides dividing a part of the profits, a sinking fund will be established for the benefit of the home. "The gardens, the orchairds, and the main buildings are common to all. Each family ihas its own rooms or cottage, but the draw-ing-room is there for all visitors, and the social hall is always open' to everybody. Last night we had no ; fewer thirty guests, and I 'believe that they, as well as the ' federators,' thoroughly enjoyed themselves j yet there was absolutely no preparation.. " Our Federative Home meets all our wants. If we desire solitude, we have our own private cottages, apart from the others. If we want to study, there are special buildings for the purpose, as <we3l as a library. ■ If we are dull and dejected, the social 'hall, with music, conversation and laughter, is at our disposal. If we have (hobbies, there is plenty of scope for them
in all directions. If manual exercise is needed, it is supplied at the tennis court, the gymnasium, the garden, or. the plantation, which abounds in pleasant glades and walks. Amongst ourselves, we inculcate a spirit of cheerfulness, tboughtfulness and courtesy; and we discourage envy, hatred and malice and all uncharitableness. There : is none of tis who would go back to the old methods, all believing that this mode of living is the only true human life. ' A FEDERATIVE DINNER. The meals at the Home are partaken of in a large dining-room, quaint in its architecture and artistic in its . surroundings, one side opening on to a beautiful fernery, and plants and flowers setting off the-, picture at each end. The sight of all members of the little community dining together brings to mind "the ptcblic tables which historians say were established by Lycurgus to complete the conquest of luxury, and exterminate the love of- riches, among the Lacedaemonians. ? A cotnparison in this respect can be' drawn to only, a certain extent, as -the modern " f edcrators,!' do not drink the 'black broth ' that the King of Pohtus failed to Telish, nor did the ancients eat " prime Canterbury," and no one at Wainoni is actually forbidden to eat in his own cottage. The underlying principle, however, seems, to be the same in each case, these public repasts having a tendency 1 towards friendship and mutual benevolence,' jest and raillery passing from guest to guest. " Before dinner is ready, and while the cook is' still busy in the kitchen, a " federator" comes in and" prepares, the /tables. All the " jfederators " are called together by a hell, and shortly aite'rwaVds the meal is brought in,' under the direction .. of the cook. *£here is w> "head of the table,' and no' one can claim any particular seat. The serving is done voluntarily, each, attending to the others. There is a continual mqving to and fro, and a constant buzz of converration, which is frequently punctuated by a witticism, a repartee, or a ripple of laughter. , When the meal is over many hands make light work in. " clearing away." Every kind of dish that has been used must foe^ placed in the spot specially assigned for it, as by this means the trouble to the " washer-up " is minimised. 'It is recorded that^ Lycurgus, jifter the evening meal, immediately sent his people/ home: without lights; but- the " federators " have improved on this, and give the rest of the evening up to music, conversation; study, or some other form, of relaxation. Among the institutions^ at the Home is a band. It has been organised by Mr S. B. Bull, who has recently come to New Zealand from England, and at the 1 first practice there were eight instruments. A gymnasium meets on certain nights, and other societies are . started as summer-time passes. IN THE GROUNDS./ Several industries are carried on. Among them. are the making of the paper houses, wiith which. Professor Bickerton's name is associated, the manufacture of fireworks, wood-carving, photography, and so on. Outside, in the extensive grounds, important developments are taking place. Schemes are being put into operation for entertaining large numbers of people at outdoor amusements. . For ; this purpose, a ■large arewi, several- acres in extent, in the midst of- the plantation of pine treesj ,has been turned into an immense friniphitlieatre. Natural walls and galletfeS, rWdhittg to a considerable height, run all. In/ the centre, down bdloitt; ■: there ■■ is a mound, crossed by a lin« of trees 1 ; amd ( at one end a stage is in. course of" cofisiruction. ,An arboreal /bridge, about 200 feet in length,: conducted along the trees, at a .height of about thirty feet, stretches from side to side.. AH round, and vanishing in the distance, are stately tree, -trunks;; overhead is the bright green foliage ; aM underfoot, in striking contrast, the fallen pine-needles-coyer the ground like a rich, soft carpet, of cloth of gold. . It is proposed to give here various displays by night, amd to hold 'sports and other gatherings by day. In close proximity there is a grass paddock, on which a course will be laid out, another paddock that will be set aside for camping parties, and a spot has been specially designed for picnickers. .. , . ,_,.,,. In oonnection with the Federative Home, a : ln>U9e,ii3S been' secured in the city, wiJere meals and beds maybe obtained by ihose who are detained 'in Christ<>hurch,..and there is blbo a "i cottage by the sea "at Summer. Wainoni is. connected with. the., telephone /exchange, and each cottage at the institution is, in turn, connected with Wainoni by a 'private wire. It should stated here that. most of the "federators" live in paper houses. It is claimed that these are substantial; warm, sanitary and , comf ortaible. - Their appearance, both inside and outside, confirm this. They are also exceedingly picturesque, but in this they a.ra not singular, as picturesqueness prevails everywhere at the Home; and perhaps the most picturesque figure of all is that of the Professor himself.
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WAINONI., Star, Issue 7330, 17 February 1902
WAINONI. Star, Issue 7330, 17 February 1902
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