Spreading the Word

Water Wally escapes the West to talk all things Wastewater and Tiny Homes at the Melbourne Tiny Homes Expo

After what started to seem like a border closure that might become a permanent way of life, the W.A. border opened up, and I ran away to Melbourne for a quick getaway…

The jar of composted poo begins its journey to stardom. Packed in my bags ready for the journey.

Rewind to a couple of months earlier, I was approached by the organisers of the Melbourne Tiny Homes Expo to see if I’d be keen to come along and speak at the Expo. The Melbourne event was just the second of its kind with the first one being held in Brisbane, in late 2021. The Brisbane event was a hugely popular, sold-out event and I was told that the organisers had lots of people approach them to suggest that they “should get that guy from Water Wally to come along to the next Expo”. I was spun out and flattered that people were making this suggestion and I figured that I’m always up for speaking shit to anyone interested in listening, so I said “yep – book me in”.

One of the many workshops held at the Water Wally area over the weekend

After some uncertain times around changing rules and border closures etc. I eventually landed in Melbourne for an event that was a real eye-opener for me. I knew that Tiny Houses had become more popular over the past few years, but I had no idea of the massive scale of it all! The Melbourne Tiny House Expo was 3 full days of nonstop action with hundreds of exhibitors and there were more than 22,000 people that came in to have a look. I reckon it would be fair to say that if the Tiny Homes idea is not yet a mainstream one then it’s certainly well on its way to being so!

Now, with so many people, business and tourism operators etc. etc. joining the ‘Tiny bandwagon’, many of them setting up tiny homes off-the-grid, there’s a growing need for some simple, ‘Tiny’, wastewater management solutions. And… that’s where Water Wally comes in!

Having worked in this industry for more than 10 years now, I know all too well that the options and regulations around toilets and wastewater management can be amazingly complex and confusing. The presentations I did at the Expo were aimed to help people understand what their options are and, probably even more important than knowing what your options are, knowing what factors to consider in deciding which option is most suited to you. There is no one size fits all. Knowing a bit about your options whilst having an understanding of your site and soil conditions is really important in ensuring that you end up with a setup that meets your needs and meets your budget. Get it wrong and you may end up with something that is overengineered and over costly or just doesn’t quite suit your ‘tiny living’ needs.

Composting toilets, incinerating toilets, flushing toilets, greywater reuse systems, greywater treatment systems, aerated wastewater treatment systems, reed beds, vermiculture systems etc. etc. There are so many options for unsewered, off-grid wastewater management in a Tiny Home and there are things that you need to consider in making the right choice for you!

My presentations at the Melbourne Expo covered all of this in detail and broke things down into what I hope was easily digested and understood by everyone who came along to listen. We had a few laughs along the way and, as is always the case when talking about poo to a large crowd, we had all sorts of weird and wonderful questions!

Comparing a jar of composted poo (on the left) with a jar of incinerated poo (on the right) with the crew at Cinderalla Incinerating toilets… and a stubby holder waiting for a beer in the middle!

Throughout the weekend I also held some smaller, more personal, little workshops looking at some of the more common tiny house wastewater management solutions:

Workshops on composting toilets- what are they? How do they work? How to build a DIY one?

Workshops on greywater – what is it? How to manage it? How to reuse it? How to navigate regulations etc.

With thousands of people coming and going throughout the 3-day event, I did my fair share of talking shit!

The organisers of Tiny Homes Expo are taking things on tour with events in Sydney and Brisbane coming up later in the year. I had to pass on the Sydney event but I’m hoping to make it back across to get involved with the Tiny Buzz in Brisbane.

To anyone reading this who was at the Melbourne event: Thanks for coming! I hope you got something out of it all…

To anyone coming along to the Expo in Brisbane later in the year: I’ll catch you there!



Me and Fred from Fred’s Tiny Houses


Find out more about the Tiny Homes Expo here: https://tinyhomesexpo.com.au/

Check out our new Wandering Wally – a composting toilet for when you’re on the move!