Member update: – The story of Happy Valley Permaculture

” We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams “
A. O’Shaughnessy

Some days we stare at each other in enraptured glee. We are tired, but our hands are dirty and our eyes are shining. Some days we look at each other in exasperation, bamboozled by some new bureaucratic hoop or miscommunication. Some days we think this will never end. Some days we lie and watch the clouds from our bus and remember how fickle and fleeting this now is.

In the midst of PDC wonderland (circe 2013), the idea of buying a piece of old pastured land and starting from scratch seemed so romantic. We dreamed of building our own home, regenerating soil, planting an orchard. These days, as the dream is becoming a reality, we have more and more respect for those who’ve realised this dream before us. I remember being told on our PDC that the first two years of setting up a permaculture property were the hardest. One year and 4 months in, I can only say, I hope that is true. What we are doing is hard work. However, the dream is still alive. It lives on in in our daughter’s connection to food and in our belief that hard work for the land we steward is worthwhile.

There are many ethical ways to build a house. Some people build out of earth, some people build out of recycled tyres, some people build tiny houses. Context is everything. For many reasons, we chose to relocate a salvaged house to our block. The use of a salvaged home may not be very common in Tasmania, but in Queensland people do it all the time. We trucked the house from Hobart and a massive crane lifted it from the roadside into place on our block. We found our house on Gumtree, actually we sourced most of the materials for our house and its renovation there. With so much waste in building, we felt drawn to the idea of recycling a home.

While all of the council approvals, relocation and renovation has been happening, we have been living in a converted bus, with our now two year old daughter. It certainly has been an adventure.

At every opportunity we try to reuse second-hand materials on our build (we frequent tip shops, op shops and gumtree), or use excess materials from others. We have bought new items as legally required, for example bathroom fittings, however we have often managed to find these items on clearance sales and ex-display models. We have also had to find ways to ask for help, something we are not very adept at doing. Throughout May we have held weekly busy bees, enabling our friends, including members of the local permaculture community to help us out in a structured and effective way. We have been overwhelmed by the support of our community, by the kindness and keenness of others. It has reminded us that we are all in this together, and encouraged us to share our story more and more.

Our life is very different now. In Margaret River, WA, we had a mortgage, we worked 5 days a week, and we spent our weekends hurriedly trying to save seeds and make compost. Moving to Tasmania, we felt that we had a fair shot at setting our lives up differently, less focused on financial income and more focused on food production and family. We earn money pruning fruit trees in people’s gardens (and teaching people basic pruning) over Autumn and Winter, while our daughter runs around collecting sticks  and eating hummus in the sunshine (or rain). The rest of the year, we do permaculture design and implementation and organic garden maintenance. We were very fortunate to have financial help/inheritance from Macca’s family. It has enabled us to set our lives up in this way. However, we have stretched it as far as possible. We have made it work as hard as we could for the life we wanted.

For those out there dreaming this dream, we see you. We know what’s ahead of you. To those out there living this life, we see you, we know there are days, weeks even, when you want to give up. We know your joy and we know your pain. To those who have realised this dream, we salute you, we know what you have achieved and your successes give us strength and push us forward when we do not know how to continue. We see you.

Love and seeds,

Heather, Macca and Lux @happyvalleypermaculture

P.S We are considering running a half day course on the ins and outs of the process of building using a salvaged house. It’s likely to be run in the Huon Valley, but we are open to suggestions. To express interest in this kind of course, or if you have further questions about any of what we so, email me on

David Holmgren Returns To Tasmania

David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture, returns to the state where the movement began for series of presentations in Launceston (May 18th) and Hobart (May 25th).

Based in some of the history and research from his groundbreaking, recent book, Retrosuburbia: The Downshifters Guide To A Resilient Future, David will be presenting Aussie St: Our Shared Suburban History and Future, which tells the story of how Australians have lived their lives from the postwar era, through decades of rising affluence and lifestyle change up to today, and what we can do to flourish in the future.

Aussie St is a permaculture soap opera, made real by masterful storytelling that sounds a warning and clarion call for direct action on the home front. The presentation is also a window into the rich palette of design solutions and tips that Holmgren has explored throughout his celebrated career.
David’s work is rightly revered around the world, and has changed many thousands of lives.

Come and be inspired by his unique vision during this rare visit to permaculture’s home state of Tasmania.

Launceston event on May 18, 2019. Get tickets here.

Hobart event on May 25th, 2019. Get tickets here.

Katie Kristensen, Interim Newsletter & Local groups Officer

ktk_headclipKatie returned to Tasmania in 2010 after living in Perth, WA, for ten years. She now can’t imagine calling anywhere else in the world ‘home’. Residing on Hobart’s Eastern Shore, Katie is especially interested in Permaculture in suburban properties. Hoping to someday own goats and chickens, she currently navigates (with varying success) the household and gardening challenges presented by an energetic and curious young canine family member.

Katie is responsible for our monthly newsletter, as well as liaison with our Permaculture Tasmania ‘locals groups’, including looking at setting up a locals group in the Hobart/Eastern shore area.

Welcome to Heather – Social Media Instagram volunteer


A *huge* welcome to the *fabulous* Heather who has joined the Permaculture Tasmania team this week. Heather’s role will be as our @PermacultureTasmania Instagram guest poster, sharing inspiring posts about Permaculture principles and activities in action from across Tassie.
Heather and her husband Macca moved to the Huon valley, from Margaret River, WA, a year ago. She is a recovering High School English teacher, a mum and a passionate gardener. She studied her PDC under Jeff Nugent at Fair Harvest Permaculture with Macca and her Mum in 2013. After completing her PDC, Heather went on to teach Introductions to Permaculture and sections of PDCs at Fair Harvest as part of their teaching team. She and Macca now work as Permaculture designers and design implementers. In their spare time they work on their salvaged house and their own gardens. And in their spare time from that, they eat good food, drink coffee, brew and drink homebrew, try to rest and be mindful and laugh at how much they still have to learn.
Check out our Instagram page for some inspiration and great ideas as she starts posting this week! Don’t forget to use #PermacultureTasmania for any posts you’d like to share too.

New membership benefit – Apiwraps Beeswax Wraps

Our *wonderful* membership officer Amy has been working on additional membership benefits with different partners. We are *thrilled* to announce a new member partnership with Apiwraps Beeswax and Kitchen Wraps.

“Apiwraps Beeswax Wraps is a business built on a firm foundation of quality, ethics and care and they are committed to a sustainable and useful alternative to plastic food storage. Apiwraps Beeswax Wraps are a healthy, eco-friendly, sustainable replacement for plastic wrap. They are handcrafted in Australia from local beeswax and GOTS Certified Organic cotton along with natural pine resin and organic coconut oil and packaged in hygienic recycled paper envelopes.”

Permaculture Tasmania current financial members will receive a *generous* 15% discount on purchases from the online store including the multipack specials (and excluding subscriptions). To access your discount code, please contact (with the subject line – membership officer).

Check out the website for more information:


Upcoming events – Oct/Nov 2018

Wrap up of previous events

It’s been a busy October with a range of *fabulous* activities in the North and South of the state. Permaculture Tasmania was an exhibitor at the Tamar Sustainable Living Expo in Launceston on October 13th speaking to thousands of folks during the day, including Costa from Gardening Australia.

We also partnered with Sustainable Living Tasmania and Milkwood Permaculture for a *fabulous* Author Q&A and book signing. We talked and tasted wild foods and seaweed, meeting current and new members and learning lots of new recipes for items growing wild in our backyard and community.

costa milkwood event.jpg    Events Coming up

October 27th

  • North East Coast Break O’Day Permies catch up, St Helens (PT)
  • Natural Tomato and Garlic Organic Farm tour and social picnic, Selbourne (PT)
  • Seed Freaks – Tomato Seedling Sale (Rare & Unusual Heirlooms) and farm tour, Surges Bay.

October 28th

  • Huon Locals farm tour and social gathering, Franklin (PT)
  • Seed Freaks – Tomato Seedling Sale (Rare & Unusual Heirlooms) and farm tour, Surges Bay.

November 3rd-4th

  • Building with Bamboo workshop by Bamboo Van Diemen, New Norfolk

November 11th

  • Intro to Beekeeping, Glengary and Beaconsfield (PT) – bookings essential as numbers capped for safety.

November 17th-18th

  • Introduction to Permaculture workshop, Beaconsfield – bookings essential as numbers capped for safety –

November 21st

  • How to get the most out of Solar, Sustainable Living Tasmania, Hobart – RSVP essential.

November 24th-25th

  • Real Skills 4 Growing Food, Glaziers Bay, Good Life Permaculture – Bookings essential.

December 15th-16th

  • Cob building workshop, Glen Huon. – sold out

January 18th – Feb 1st 2019

  • Permaculture Design Course, Good Life Permaculture, Dodges Ferry – Bookings essential.

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Please note:

We include events here that are coordinated by Permaculture Tasmania which are denoted with a PT in brackets. Please contact for any queries or additions.

We also include events coordinated by our financial members and partners for upcoming events, to book for these events or any queries please contact the relevant organisation listed. Permaculture Tasmania will not be accepting RSVP or answering queries about non PT events.

Please contact for any additions or queries.

Upcoming events – October

It’s a busy month coming up for the Permaculture Tasmania Committee and members with a *huge* variety of events coming up.

Tamar Sustainable Living Expo Satellite events: Community composting with Costa

There are a variety of community composting gatherings in Mayfield, Pioneer Park with Costa from Gardening Australia.


Thursday 11th October, Launceston


Friday 13th October, Launceston

Permaculture Tasmania will be an exhibitor at the Expo all day, and also running a free compost demonstration. Check out the variety of different workshops, displays and activities as part of the Expo here: Come down and say hello!

Milkwood Book Q&A with author Kirsten Bradley, Milkwood Permaculture, Hobart

Permaculture Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania are *thrilled* to bring you this event to be held at Sustainable Living Tasmania,Hobart on Thursday 18th October.

Solar panels – Sustainable Living Tasmania

A variety of talks on Solar panels in Hobart and Launceston are occurring during October with our member, Sustainable Living Tasmania. Check out details here:

Thursday 18th October, Hobart

Coordinated by Permaculture Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania, this is a fabulous opportunity to meet Kirsten Bradley from Milkwood Permaculture and like-minded folks in Tassie for this *awesome* Q&A/meet the author event.

Kirsten Bradley + Nick Ritar left the city to start a small farm called Milkwood 10 years ago, with a dream of living simply and within their means. Since then, they’ve been growing food, cultivating community and sharing skills for down-to-earth living wherever they’ve lived or travelled. Kirsten and Nick are passionate about re-skilling households and communities to create resilient, low-impact and positive futures that are accessible to all. They currently live, grow, forage and keep bees on a small permaculture farm near Daylesford in Victoria… [Continue Reading Here for More Information…]

2018/2019 Executive Committee

And it’s a wrap! The 2017/2018 Permaculture Tasmania AGM was held today (22nd Sept) combined with a social gathering and Permaculture property tour of *fabulous* Elvenhome Eco Farmstay in Weegena, NW Tassie.

A *huge* thank you to Graham for hosting us – you can check out more about his property here:


Thank you to everyone who attended today and our *wonderful* outgoing Committee members Nick Towle, Celia Leverton, De Crompton and Heather Gaia Thorpe. A special mention to *superstar* Celia who is a founding member of Permaculture Tasmania and has been on the Committee since 2005!

Please welcome our new and ongoing Committee members for 2018/2019 (and thank you to the new Committee in advance for your work in advance!):



Kym Blechynden, President

Amy Buettel, Membership

Kim Sanders, Treasurer

Claudia Vinson, Public Officer

Lisa Vogt, Secretary.

General Committee:

Jess Kursawe

Ruth Hall

Eric Smith.


*Free* Compost workshop – Beaconsfield, West Tamar



Come and join Permaculture Tasmania Committee members Kym and De for this *free* compost demonstration workshop in partnership with Beaconsfield House. 

Learn how to use food scraps, green waste and other items you have in your backyard/house and turn into low cost goodness for your garden! Fun, informal and practical activity to give you the skills to get started with your own home or workplace composting with plenty of time for Q&A.

Date: Sunday 16th September 2018

Time: 10am – 1pm (times are approximate only and will be confirmed closer to the date)

Cost: Free

Location: Beaconsfield Neighbourhood House, Grubb Street, Beaconsfield

This is a satellite event as part of the Tamar Sustainable Living Expo.

For more details you can check out the event page and RSVP here:

Not on Facebook? Then please contact Beaconsfield Neighbourhood House or email: for any queries and to RSVP.