Thirty-three-year-old Rooster Adrian Garner has some stories to tell. He’s a web developer who has lived and travelled all over the world. He has big ideas about community and how life should be lived. For the last several years he generously gave his time as volunteer manager of the Roost.
“I came to the Roost a year after it began, and there wasn’t that much infrastructure there. What they did really well was putting on art shows; I got involved in the housekeeping and organisations,” Adrian said. “I’d been reading up on cooperatives, I suggested we did it as an association, more a community thing than someone’s business.”
Prior to the Roost, Adrian was hoping to get work in a hostel in Newcastle, as he liked the idea of managing a space for travelers and visitors and making it nice. He gave up on the idea of a hostel as tourists can sometimes be abusive to hostel space and they can also be transient, making it hard to have a space which is truly about community.
“I thought the Roost would be a similar outlet [to a hostel] with longer lasting relationships,” Adrian said. I spent the last three years working to get it the Roost run on its own with the help of its members, unlike other creative co-working spaces which are for-profit.”
During his twenties Adrian studied visual communication at the University of Newcastle. He worked as an in-house graphic designer for a photography studio in town.
“My training was in graphic design, but that feels a bit indulgent because it’s fun. I find that people are more in need of technical help, so that’s always what I end up doing,” Adrian explained of his current work.
Before his time at the Roost, Adrian spent a year in Wellington, New Zealand with his partner, Lynda. During that time Adrian worked in hostels and Lynda trained in the circus. They spent time wwoofing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) as well.
He’s from Newcastle, and his time in New Zealand wasn’t his first adventure abroad. Before he met Lynda in 2005 he worked in the states in Washington DC for the Australian Embassy working in IT. A few years ago he and Lynda did a month-long cycle touring in China as well where they rode through the Himalayas.
While he’s keen to continue working and having adventures, (he’s planning his next one in Europe), he’s pretty confident he’ll continue working at the Roost and keep Newcastle as his base.
“I like Newcastle and I realised if I spend too long in one country you grow roots; you make friends you never want to leave.”
Adrian has learned much through travelling, and he believes it’s helped him professionally as well.
“When it’s just you out in the world, you have all your time and skills to solve it. You get surprised when you look back at the things you get through; it’s surprising how vulnerable you can make yourself and still be okay,” he said.
The Roost is so glad and grateful to have Adrian on board for so long, and we know the Roost wouldn’t be what it is today without his generous contributions of time and ideas.
Photo Courtesy Rooster Photographer Mitch Lee.