News And Views

19 June 2010
Permablitz at Coogee, building swales
It was a beautiful day for being out in the open doing such exciting stuff and learning the art and science of building SWALES.

The two heroes of the day were Matt Heffernan (our Permaculture Sydney South president) and Matt Jolloe, a St. George members and owner of a high-end laser leveller. The two Matt's had done the big swales project at Oatley Public School in May. They arrived at the crack of dawn and had all the surveying and marking out done ready for we unskilled labourers to do the digging.

Thankfully the digging was very easy due to the soil being 99% sand as it is in the Eastern Suburbs. And the rest, as they say, is history! We workers got on with the job with a vengeance and everyone worked really well together. Kerry had purchased a great variety of lovely natives to plant and these were planted as well. Mary T was on kitchen duty and produced a fab lunch, which unfortunately I missed out on as I had to go.

So, here are are some photos - taken with my low-end mobile phone, but hopefully OK. And hopefully some more will come. (You click on the pictures to open them full size)

Matt J explains the levelling process Technical debate between the Matts The digging begins
Steps built in swales for access Matt H looking dejected but not so! The crew hard at it
2 blokes and a girl watch the girls working Planting has begun and mulching
And more planting Looking beautiful! Matt's happy with his design
some old guy pretends he knows what he's doing He's holding the shovel the wrong way round! Cecilia paying attention to Matt J's instructions
Does he know what he's doing? Cecilia looks unconvinced Slaves planting while Driscoll extols his Transition vision
Planting is well advanced Planting right to the top! It's looking great
The mighty laser level-finder (thanks Matt J!

20 March 2010
Visit to Michael Mobbs' "Sustainable House" and Myrtle Street communal plantings
What a great day and fully subscribed to maximum capacity. Michael was a very generous host to our group , explaining the history and detail of his conversion of a cosy inner city terrace house into a sustainable home - fully off grid for power, water and sewerage. His experience and the learnings from it, which he shared fully, will be of huge value to those who want to follow the same path. See some photos of the visit below (click on them to enlarge).
Thanks Michael for an inspiring tour!

Poly-tube "green wall" as dividing fence Michael explaining his gray and black water systems Part of the extensive water treatment system
Chooks of course! The efficient fridge with underfloor ventilation Explaining the project indoors
A productive back yard Street planting invitation to eat Composting; and pumping system in background

19 December 2009
December Christmas Party
On a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon we finished off our year in fine part style with a very happy pre-christmas get-together at the front of Barrett House to share our year of achievements and enthuse about 2010. See the photo below (the bubbly you see on the table was non-alcoholic actually!)


8 December 2009
Masdar City - will it be impacted by Dubai's financial woes?
Possibly indirectly as it also sources money from overseas investors. But it is still going ahead at the moment.
Watch a video about the city and its design here

19 September 2009
Permaculture Design Workshop at Barrett House
Barrett House is being developed by the three council (Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra) "Eco-footprint Project" as a demonstration place for sustainable living. A lot of work is going on inside the house to realise the plans of its design team, which includes Michael Mobbs and Terry Bail.
Our Permaculture group has been invited to participate in the design of the garden and surrounding public space using Permaculture design principles.

At our last meeting a group of 17 members started the design process by conducting a walk around and site analysis after which we pooled our preliminary ideas and observations, discussing the application and relevance of a number of Permaculture design principles. It is a very interesting and complex process and an excellent learning opportunity. See **here** for our first impressions.

Barrett House Google Earth View Mud Map of outside public garden space

18 August 2009
Massive Crowd at our Official Permaculture Sydney South Launch
A crowd estimated at 320 people packed the Leichhardt Town Hall on this night to hear our Patron and author of "Lawns to Lunch" Jill Finnane talk about what Permaculture means to her, and Geoff Lawton - Director of the Permaculture Research Institute and creator of the "Greening the Desert" movie talk about the philosophy of Permaculture, its power as a framework for designing whole cities and his experience doing just that in Masdar City - a new sustainable city being created in the desert of Abu Dhabi.

A hugely inspiring night and a great launch for our regional organisation - Permaculture Sydney South

View of the crowd (those lucky enough to get a seat) Our Permaculture Calendar and Diary sales crew

8 May 2009 [Peter Driscoll]
Permablitz at Maroubra
News items are few and far between as we are all too busy doing stuff. The "May Day" event - our permablitz at Maroubra was a great success.
See a video here and be impressed at how fast we worked!

Also visit our Ning Site for heaps of photos including new ones from July showing how nicely the garden is growing

17 December 2008 [Peter Driscoll]
Permaculture Christmas Party - East meets Inner West meets South
What a great night we had. There were about 20 people in all who came, and our East group was very well represented with about 7 of us there. Vicki and Lisa from the Inner West group had us happily playing permaculture games all night and there was much hilarity (and some bending of the rules) as we tried to act out permaculture principles and concepts in charades. Charles Rue (from Inner West) broke the world record for a quick answer with his inspiring acting our of the concept of a No Dig Garden, and I was not far behind with my acting out of Seed Saving (luckily our team was located just next to a vase of silk roses, which I proceeded to shake and throttle with much drama into a hastily fashioned envelope!)
Hopefully more occasions like this will take place in 2009, where we can all meet, socialise and learn with kindred spirits from other groups

10 December 2008 [Peter Driscoll]
Barrett House Update
The Development Approval for the make-over of Barrett House was approved by Randwick City Council and the construction certificate for the internal work will be the next step. Once the certificate issues work will commence on the internal renovations to the house and the retrofitting of all the sustainability elements - rainwater tanks, solar and so on. This is likely to take place over January and February. Once the internal work is done, attention will then switch to the outdoor area. The design concept from Michael Mobbs includes food growing permaculture design for both inside the fence and in the adjacent public space opposite the front gate. A qualified landscape architect appointed by the council will supervise the outdoor work and our group will have the opportunity to be involved in the design of these gardens. It should be a very valuable process for learning and applying permaculture design principles in a unique setting involving public space as well as "on-property" space. This will probably all get started some time in February.

9th November 2008 [Peter Driscoll]
At our last meeting on 5th November Richard Wilson the Project Officer managing the "3-council eco-footprint project" which includes the use of Barrett House addressed the group and invited us to take part in creating and presenting a Permaculture design concept for the front garden and an area in front of Barrett House on the strip between Frenchman's Road and the small park. This is a great opportunity for the group to learn and apply Permaculture principles to design. I will be seeking to have one or more qualified Permaculture people engage with us on this to act as our tutors to maximise this fantastic learning opportunity

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