Temporary accommodation pods

Our innovative team designed, developed and created a construction process for the deployment of the Minderoo Foundation “recovery pods”, to be used as temporary housing to help those who have lost their homes.


A Fire Fund recovery pod on Kangaroo Island. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

Why was this program deployed?

In January 2020, while Australia was still burning, Minderoo Foundation announced the Fire Fund initiative committing $70 million to Response, Recovery and Resilience. Our team was deployed into towns and regions affected by the bushfires to gain an understanding of what each community needed.

We met with people who had lost their homes, livestock, infrastructure and businesses and listened to their stories. The team were also briefed by aid workers, fire and other emergency services personnel and government at all levels. We are so grateful for all those who shared their stories and helped us understand their priorities, which became our priorities, one of which was sourcing temporary housing.


State Emergency Service member working with the Fire Fund Team in Mallacoota.

What are the recovery pods?

Our innovative team designed, developed and created a construction process for the deployment of the Fire Fund Recovery Pod to be used as temporary housing to help those who have lost their homes. The recovery pods are self-contained and equipped with a 2,300-litre water tank and 5 KVA generator. Internally, they have a toilet, shower, two bunk beds and a small open kitchen.


The kitchen of a recovery pod. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

Bunk beds in a recovery pod. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

How was the idea born?

The idea for temporary accommodation was conceived on a pocket notepad at an emergency meeting at Kangaroo Island in January. The idea was born from listening to the community members express their desperate need to get back on to their land. The construction of the pods commenced in February 2020 from South Australian manufacturer Australian Portable Camps, based at Monarto.


Original ideation sketches of the recovery pods. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

The recovery pod production line. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

Construction and delivery

As of August 2020, 182 pods had been delivered in 216 days to families in New South Wales and South Australia. Our commitment of A$3.7 million was supplemented by A$8.7 million from our partners which will enable 256 pods to be delivered in 259 days.


Delivery of recovery pods commences. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

A crane lowering a recovery pod into place. Photo Credit: Fire Fund Team.

A letter from Geoff and Margi Prideaux

“Minderoo is noun. This year has been life changing. Life was stripped to its essence in a disaster so big it encompassed everything and everyone around us. We looked to governments and our desolation deepened when we found them wandering in aimless circles. We discovered the sharp truth—in these life-defining moments there are few places to lean upon. Despair creeps in. The choices you contemplate take you in drastically new directions, or towards a cliff face from which there is no return. It was into this emotional landscape that the Minderoo Foundation stepped, providing the dignity of shelter and safety, and the gift of remaining with our feet on our land and the time to breathe, look, and plan for the opportunities that might unfold.

The pods arrived like giant presents being unwrapped. These were not vacuous gifts of torn jeans, worn out socks, and dirty t-shirts. These were opportunities. The crews laughed and bantered, their eyes mirrored courage, not despair. This year Minderoo became a noun that means hope, time, and gratitude.”

Thank you,
Geoff and Margi Prideaux

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