History of Sangsurya
Sangsurya Retreat Centre began over 30 years ago when husband and wife team, Tony Kruger and Mona Wurtz, met in London and began their 15 year spiritual relationship and marriage. At this time Mona, a Jungian Analyst, was the personal assistant to Mrs Irina Tweedie, the well-known Western meditation teacher of the Naqshbandiyya Sufi lineage.
In 1991 Mrs Tweedie retired from teaching and instructed Mona to accompany Tony back to Australia with the purpose of building a meditation centre which would serve the spiritual well-being of the community. Together they purchased 10 acres of land on the easterly facing escarpment of Old Bangalow Road, Byron Bay with ocean views across the Arakwal National Park to Tallow Beach.
Situated on the most easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay is the first place in the country to see the sun come up, and its sunrises are truly spectacular. It has long been a place of inspiration and transformation for people and Tony and Mona easily connected to the strong lifeforce and healing energy of the land and sea here.
Tony Kruger & Mona Wurtz
The Bundjalung – Arakwal Bumberlin people are the Aboriginal Traditional Custodians of the Byron Bay region. It was a favourite home base and gathering place for the Arakwal People and Bundjalung nation tribes and clans, and they call the Byron Bay area ‘Cavanbah’ which means ‘meeting place’.
In Sanskrit, Sangha means spiritual community. Surya means the ‘greater sun’ and denotes warmth, courage and vitality. The Hindu god of the Sun is called Surya. He represents the heart of the world, the creator of the universe and the source of all life.
With wholehearted spiritual intent, Tony and Mona named their Retreat Centre ‘Sangsurya’
– a Sanskrit word which means “a place where the sun reaches everybody”.
Tony and Mona were well loved by the local community and so many
people hold them dearly in their hearts with gratitude and love.
Sadly Mona passed away on 8th October 2005
and Tony passed away on 21st March 2017.
In 1992, Tony and Mona began constructing their purpose-built, residential retreat venue for meditation and personal development work. They built the group room first and a couple of bedroom studios next to the two houses already on the property. Before long, the doors opened for their first residential retreats. In fact for the first groups which Tony and Mona hosted, they generously moved out of their house to reside elsewhere, which enabled all the group’s participants to be housed, such was their dedication to providing their service of a meditation and personal growth facility.
With a clear vision and steady progress, the substantial building project unravelled, step by step. Next came the Thai House, then more accommodation and the large dining hall and kitchen. Building works continued to develop organically and no one building grew identical to another.
Each Eastern inspired bedroom and communal space was individually designed to provide an ambience of seclusion and relaxation, nestled amidst the gardens along the forested ridge on which the centre was built. Tony and Mona created Sangsurya to be a true sanctuary. The rooms all have unique features, inspired by Thai architecture with traditional Asian and Indian furniture and furnishings to make each room distinctively stunning. The property is dotted with Mona’s artwork, garden sculptures and beautiful mosaics tiles and pathways. As Tony built, Mona decorated and together they created a stylish and enchantingly secluded haven.
Sangsurya grew to have 9 residential buildings with 18 bedrooms which provide retreat accommodation for up to 30 guests. It has a large Thai style timber-floored hall for workshops and meetings, spacious kitchen and dining facilities, a swimming pool and range of communal spaces and amenities.
In addition to planting sub-tropical gardens throughout, Tony and Mona reforested the western slope of the property by way of extensive research about native Australian vegetation and reforestation.
They transformed the land from a depleted cow paddock into a thriving rainforest full of native flora with walking trails and a large pond for guests to enjoy an easy stroll in nature. It is now home to an abundance of birdlife, and native fauna including koalas, wallabies, echidnas, water dragons and bush turkeys along with a range of smaller mammals.
The property works included the installation of 19 Swedish Composting toilet systems, to contribute to ecological sustainability. These each save approximately 45,000 litres of water per year, making a total of 855,000 litres of our water being conserved annually. At present there are solar panels installed on the two largest sunlit rooftop spaces, powering over 50% of our electricity needs.
All organic kitchen waste is managed through vegetable composting units and worm farms, then worked back into the gardens. Non-compostable waste is managed with responsible recycling. Household waste water is processed through a series of reed-bed systems. Housekeeping uses eco-friendly cleaning products and organic soaps are provided for our guests.
A Peaceful Haven
Sangsurya Retreat Centre has been hosting meditation and healing retreats for so many years that the gentle, serene ambience has permeated throughout the property and is tangible to all who come here. This peaceful venue offers a true break and release from the burdens and demands of the commercial world and the busyness of daily life. Respect for each group’s privacy is a priority and retreat leaders and their participants have sole use of the venue while in residence.
With time and space to self-reflect and heal, guests feel enriched and connected to their own source of wisdom. They value the earthy, well-established environment provided and regularly report transformational insights and life guidance on how to live in a an ever-changing and increasingly challenging world. Our teachers acknowledge that half of their work of relaxing and nurturing their clients is achieved by them simply being here, supported by the tranquil and harmonious setting.