Maleny is a small urban centre of 1100 inhabitants, nestled in the Blackall Ranges 90 km north of Brisbane, Australia. Located inland from the Sunshine Coast, Maleny was a refuge for those seeking an alternative lifestyle in the late 1970's. Originally, a dense tropical rainforest, the area was once occupied by the Bonyi Bonyi people. The first European settlers arrived in the 1870's to profit from the logging potential. Land was further cleared by medium enterprise Dairy farmers in the late 19th century who produced milk cooperatively.
Amongst the first of the initiatives of these settlers was the development of The Maple Street Coop, a Food Co-operative and a Credit Union. Early hostilities with the Dairy farmers were in part settled due to the inclusion of their produce at the local Co-op and to the deregulation of the Australian Dairy Industry. The later forced many farmers to diversify their productivity base. The Credit Union offered low rate loans for residents starting cooperative businesses thus creating a flourishing population centred upon livelihoods derived from Co-operative businesses.
For the past two years the community has experienced an obstacle by way of the proposed development of a Woolworths supermarket complex. Engagement in this field study centres upon the development of the relationships between social capital and sustainability. Interviews with local community members will probe the networks, searching for the values and meaning that drives the Maleny community to enrich this anecdotal account.