“I am nearer to you than your own breath. Remember Me and I am with you, and My Love will guide you.”  ~ Meher Baba

Avatar's Abode Queensland

Origins of Avatar’s Abode

On January 11th 1958 the Australian Baba group received a letter from Mani Irani, Meher Baba’s sister, with the news that Baba wished to again visit Australia to give his Sahavas. She indicated that Baba’s first preference was Queensland “if the climate is good during June, and the place is practical”.

Francis Brabazon drove to Queensland to search for a suitable location to be blessed by Baba’s presence. The poet Judith Wright who lived in South East Queensland suggested to Francis that he might find a suitable place in or around Buderim. On Kiel Mountain in the area now known as the Sunshine Coast, Francis was shown a disused eighty-two acre pineapple farm. He immediately recognised that this is what he was looking for and cabled a long description to Baba. Baba endorsed his choice as “eminently suitable”, and the property was purchased.

None of the Baba group lived in Queensland or knew the area well. To have the place ready for Baba’s visit in early June posed many challenges. With the help of the Sydney and Melbourne groups, and a few local paid workers, Francis was able to have the building now known as Baba’s House built in time. Other preparations included construction of the Meeting Hall, provision of bedding, cushions and curtains, and road improvement. All of this was done without running water or electricity and in heavy rain, for much of the time.

Meher Baba’s visit to Avatar’s Abode in 1958

Meher Baba arrived early on the 3rd of June 1958 and stayed three and a half days on the property, departing on the 6th of June. During this visit he bestowed the name ‘Avatar’s Abode’ on the property. The visit, which was part of his last trip outside of India, was part of a world-wide sahavas (period of companionship). It occurred during a phase of marked suffering for Meher Baba, who was still recuperating from a car accident.

During this visit, Meher Baba gave discourses on a variety of spiritual topics including love, longing and the spiritual planes. He met and had interviews with attendees, gave instructions, distributed special gifts and enjoyed some light entertainment.

Meher Baba also visited the tents and buildings where people were staying and cooking. A particular highlight of this sahavas was Meher Baba bringing home the true meaning of obedience, by asking those gathered whether they could actually do what he asked. Many remembered these sessions, which occurred in the Meeting Hall, as the most dramatic and significant aspect of their time with him.

Meher Baba visits the men’s tents during His visit to Avatar’s Abode, June 1958. Avatar’s Abode Collection. © Avatar’s Abode Trust.

Development of Avatar’s Abode

Although the property was formally given to Meher Baba by Francis Brabazon, he immediately returned it to Francis saying that he “held neither goods nor property”. He directed two families, the Rouses and the Brufords, to live on the property and to begin farming it. Francis was instructed to come to India to be with Baba. He stayed there as one of Baba’s close ones, known as the mandali, until after Baba ‘dropped his body’ on January 31st 1969. A number of others were asked to assist with the development of the property, and a few of these were later asked to live on the property.

Meher Baba maintained a strong personal interest in Avatar’s Abode. Despite his deteriorating health he at times issued detailed personal instructions to the residents. Robert Rouse was manager of Avatar’s Abode in the period 1959 till 1969 and corresponded regularly with Francis directly, and through Francis, with Meher Baba.

In December 1966 Bill Le Page was called by Meher Baba to spend two weeks with Him in February 1967 at Meherazad, in order to discuss the Work in Australia and the next phase of the Development of Avatar’s Abode. During this stay with Him, He asked Bill to continue to do the work of spreading His Name and Message in Australia. When Bill expressed doubts about his ability to do this, having seen very little results from his previous more than 10 years of effort, Meher Baba declared He would “turn the key”.

After Francis’s return to Avatar’s Abode in 1969, many Baba Lovers chose to come and live nearby. Inspired by his example of love for Baba expressed in art forms, there was a flourishing of musical, poetic and dramatic endeavours around Avatar’s Abode and amongst the wider Australian group.

Francis had been instructed by Baba to transfer title of the property to Bill, who was to form a Trust “when the time is ripe”. Bill initially formed the Meher Baba Foundation. After he came to live at Avatar’s Abode in 1979, he initiated extra infrastructure at the property through the Foundation, including the circuit track and the dam. Cottages were built to accommodate Francis and Judith Garbett, who moved from Sydney to work with Bill. Francis’s cottage was later used by Reg Paffle, another tireless worker who moved from Sydney.

Since 1984, the property has been held in perpetuity by the Avatar’s Abode Trust, a group of elected volunteers who oversee administration and maintenance.

A number of new buildings have been erected over time, including a concert hall, kitchen facility, a bookstore and a library/reception building.

There is a gradual move to make the property more accessible for those with mobility needs. To this end, a new pathway has been built to Baba’s House and some accommodation has been adapted for mobility access.

Other developments focus on the grounds and natural habitat of the property. A nature track, outdoor seating, garden beds and signposts enhance the natural beauty of the environs.

Plaque Avatar Meher Baba travelled this road during His stay 3-6 June 1958
Photo © Bernard Bruford.

BANNER IMAGE: June 1958 during Meher Baba’s visit to Avatar’s Abode. At front, Eruch Jessawala, Meher Baba and Francis Brabazon. Photographer Giff Alston.
© Copyright Avatar’s Abode Trust.