Humans of Canungra – Julia Schafer

Julia Schafer. Photo by Katherine O'Brien.
Julia Schafer. Photo by Katherine O'Brien.

Since arriving in Canungra only 18 months ago, Julia Schafer has certainly made her mark. The passionate public speaker started Scenic Rim Toastmasters and has also continued sharing her love for sustainable living.


You and your husband Benny were hotel and resort managers prior to moving to Canungra, that must have been interesting.

We’ve got some stories to tell, definitely!

Ray White Canungra

We took on managing Cedar Lake Country Resort and Equestrian Centre out near Advancetown.  We were there for seven and a half years and I think that is where we got our love of sustainable living.

It was an old property, built in the seventies.  One of the first time share resorts in Australia and it was very eco-friendly.

It drew water from the lake so we had a water treatment plant.  We had to deal with our own sewerage and waste from the resort so it had its own sewerage treatment plant.

We grew fruit and vegies and herbs for the chef to use in the kitchen.

I want people to understand that our waste problem is really big across the world and any little thing we can do to minimise our waste is really important.

You’ve done a podcast, you do workshops to do with sustainable living – what kind of things are you teaching people that they can use?

It’s about urban gardening because for me waste reduction in the home, particularly food waste, starts when you have a garden.

You can utilise all the bits and pieces, the roots, the stems of everything you grow in the garden.

You’re less likely to waste food that you’ve spent money, time and energy cultivating.

So I start with a little herb garden workshop.  I also do a minimising waste workshop which is about zero waste cosmetics and cleaning products.

Tell me about the zero waste cosmetics workshop

My father was a cosmetic chemist – he used to manufacture hand cream,  face cream, shampoo, conditioner, that sort of thing.

He did some work for Stefan at some point.

I used to spend my weekends and school holidays in the laboratory with Dad and we would make up little potions and he’d do test samples for clients and I would help mixing.

In the workshop we make hand cream, body butter, deodorant, toothpaste, toilet bombs, five different products that they can make in their own kitchen that helps reduce waste and toxicity in their homes.

What are you making this out of?

Epsom salts, bicarb soda, coconut oil, essential oil.  Those are the basics. There are a couple of others like cocoa butter and shea butter that you have to buy from a specialist manufacturer but I’ve got a couple of contacts there as well.

Do they continue making these after the workshop?

Definitely.  I keep in touch with them and the good thing about making it at home is if there is an essential oil that you love you can personalise your product and use the essential oil that you love.

How do people get in touch with you for this?

It is under Lighter Footprints on social media and that’s a great way to get in touch with me.

Not long after you moved here you started a Toastmasters club.

I was at Nerang Toastmasters before we moved here and I didn’t want to drive to Nerang.  I also wanted to meet new friends out here.

There was one on Tamborine Mountain which folded two years ago and there was one in Beaudesert many years ago.  

I talked to my mentor in Toastmasters and we made a project and got it up and running.

Now Scenic Rim Toastmasters has 20 members so we are  officially recognised as a Toastmasters club within Toastmasters International.

The growth in the people who joined six months, twelve months ago has been astounding, which I kind of knew would happen, because it happened with me!

About Keer Moriarty 277 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.