Permaculture by default in Tasmania
It’s been ages since we’d been down to Tassie, and honestly, it sounded like a good idea when we booked the boat in October!
Anyway, despite the stress of harvesting post xmas produce, packing, finishing various jobs, getting watering systems up and running for both the extensive gardens (details on that might be a different post!), we did make it happen. And luckily I did have someone to help with the harvest and watering while we were away – thanks Christine!
This is not a family holiday post (except for one pic, perhaps) rather it’s about one particular property we visited – somewhere in the North of Tas not far from Launceston, and hidden away (we almost didn’t get there!) at the end of a very steep and rough 4WD trail, and surrounded by 120ft tall Eucalyptus, was my Uncle Ron’s (and partner Sarah).
We were last there well over 10 years ago (before I’d heard about permaculture), and it was a delight now, to see how they live up there in the wilds of Tasmania – sort of a permaculture existence ‘by default’ (although it’s not how they define what they do). Yet I could see the ethics of permaculture in abundance (Earth care, People care & Fair Share), and also a multitude of somewhat original ‘permaculture’ design solutions for their situation.
Here’s a brief list:
– Earth buildings – built with on-site timber, mud brick and recycled materials.
– Wood heating & small solar array.
– Water collection – both from a permanent spring, and novel roof catchments.
– Fantastic glasshouse – an enjoyable, warm place to be – and 5 times the size of mine! They even had ripe red tomatoes, which is earlier than I could manage this year in Geelong.
– Huge anti-aviary (more to keep the wallabies and possums out) – the garden is their main food source after-all.
– Composting toilet and nutrient recycling.
It’s a tough life for sure – and we were there on a glorious summer day; can only imagine the gloom of winter! Ron also runs a solar powered music studio for recording and composing. www.ronnagorcka.com …and his partner Sarah is one of the world’s few researches into ‘slime mould’ – kind-of like forest fungi, but not.
On an aside; I was hoping to see a bit more ‘permaculture in action’ while travelling around Tas; but really didn’t come across anything else – even around Penguin – a lovely coastal area that was the host to the recent national Permaculture Convergence. Of course it was unreasonable to expect that we’d just stumble across properties which were obviously permaculture inspired… but certainly it’s nice when you do.
As for the rest of the trip it was a fantastic recharge of the batteries, amongst the rocks, the forests, rivers and the ocean, and we only saw a tiny part in our 12 or so days.