Study Permaculture in Australia, Where It All Began

Permaculture is slowly gaining traction in today’s society. With people becoming more and more conscious about environmental issues and their own environmental footprint, permaculture (or at least practices derived from permaculture) is one of the most popular solutions that come up, and for good reason.  

Permaculture recommends a sustainable way of living where one becomes less dependent on grocery stores and more encouraged to pull in their own weight to produce their food. Being able to grow one’s own resources is one of the most empowering things an individual can do, and with good permaculture training, one can sustain that empowerment in the long-term.  

If you have heard of and are interested in permaculture, you might be delighted to know that it all started in Australia, and the permaculture community is very much active and excited to welcome new members. In this article, learn about what you might learn when you study permaculture in Australia, such as the history of permaculture and a few integral aspects of it, permaculture design, syntropic farming, and community living. 

Join Our Permaculture Design Course

History of Permaculture  

In the late 1960s, Australian researchers Bill Molison and David Holmgren noticed the dangers of industrial agriculture in the country. They found that industrial agriculture depended on non-renewable resources, polluted land and water, and reduced biodiversity, among many other harms.   

They responded by thinking up their own ideas of how agriculture should be. Soon, they were able to coin a name for it: permaculture. The term is a combination of the words “permanent” and “agriculture.” They published a book (Permaculture One) and conducted permaculture design courses, training a few of the most prominent permaculture advocates in the country.  

In the 1980s, the concept extended beyond agriculture. The next question then was, “How can we use this concept to design and recommend sustainable human habitats?” Then, the meaning of permaculture also expanded. From permanent agriculture, it also took on the meaning “permanent culture”, as in, a culture of sustainable practices must be introduced into the mainstream. 

Mollison published another book called Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. He conducted a series of lectures and training sessions, encouraging students and attendees to pass on the knowledge to others as well. Soon, the community grew, and there were so many advocates conducting the best permaculture design course in their own communities. The ideas travelled even beyond Australia. Many also came to Australia to study permaculture, the birthplace of this world-changing idea.  

Today, there are thousands upon thousands of permaculturists all over the world. You are sure to find an permaculture community wherever you may be in the world. And the spread of permaculture is not stopping or slowing down anytime soon! 

Learn about Permaculture Design   

Join the community now and you’ll also be writing permaculture history for the next generation to read and be inspired by. The best way for you to learn is through courses in permaculture design. When you study permaculture in Australia or elsewhere, one of the first things you will be introduced to is permaculture’s design principles. 

Permaculture’s 12 Design Principles:  

  • Observe and interact: nature is the best teacher. Observe its processes and you’ll arrive at a sustainable design.  
  • Catch and store energy: collect and spend resources in the most efficient way. 
  • Obtain a yield: eyes on the prize! 
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: interacting with a community helps you improve. 
  • Use and value renewable resources and services: always think about how to maximise what nature gives. 
  • Produce no waste: with good planning, no resource will go to waste. 
  • Design from patterns to details: natural patterns will inform your design.  
  • Integrate rather than segregate: what you plant or place next to each other will eventually develop an ecological relationship. 
  • Use small and slow solutions: celebrate the intimacy of your own backyard! 
  • Use and value diversity: diversity keeps a system strong as elements support one another. 
  • Use edges and value the marginal: pay attention to detail and you’ll strike gold in the unlikeliest of places. 
  • Creatively use and respond to change: go along with and not against how nature works. 

The best permaculture design course is one that is as hands-on as possible. There’s a real science to permaculture, and it’s best learned when you apply what you learn as you go. You have to observe as closely as possible, engaging all your senses – what the design system looks like down to what a beautifully grown cherry tomato tastes like. And this goes without saying, implementing permaculture design involves a great amount of manual labour, and it is best to practice with experts who can guide you in person.  

Do you prefer learning at home? Or do you live abroad but want to study permaculture in Australia? You can always opt for online courses. You might need to observe your own work more closely, but online courses will still allow you the benefit of community interaction, which is essential in learning permaculture.  

Learn about Syntropic Farming 

Syntropic farming is one of the most interesting techniques in sustainable agriculture. Developed by Swiss farmer Ernst Gotsch in the 1980s, it is a technique that mimics a forest. Plants are arranged in a way that’s specific to each one’s unique qualities such that the result is an abundant, diverse garden that produces the best numbers in terms of yield. It is a highly practical and technical approach. 

Permaculture and syntropic farming are different but they complement each other. They are both excellent sustainable gardening techniques. If you prefer to focus on the latter, a permaculture education centre will be able to provide that training for you as well.  

Experience Being in an Eco Living Community  

If you’re looking to study permaculture in Australia, do so at an eco living community. The best thing about the eco community experience is that it shows you what’s possible. Beyond the community’s gates, you have a city that is buzzing with commerce, producing all kinds of waste and pollution daily. This is the culture that everyone was born into, this is “the way it has always been.”  

But when you step into an eco living community, you get a clear picture of “the way it could be.” It’s not a blueprint, a demo video, or a rough sketch of an idea — it’s as real as can be. You will meet people who produce their own food and source their own energy from renewable resources like sunlight or wind. You will see what a food forest looks like and how it’s grown. It will be like stepping into a different planet – the way our rich, generous Earth should have looked like from the start. 

Most of all, you will see up close people’s experience with the sustainable lifestyle. They don’t feel as if they lack something at all or they’ve lost something after moving away from “the way it has always been.” In fact, permaculturists are a few of the happiest, most contented, most secure people you will ever meet, and just being around them will inspire you to adapt their lifestyle.  

Join Our Community at Noosa Forest Retreat 

Want to make the big transition towards the sustainable lifestyle? Study permaculture in Australia with us! Our permaculture education programs both online and in-person have empowered many permaculturists in Australia. Whether or not you have experience in gardening or farming, we will guide you in your journey towards becoming a true steward of nature as a permaculturist.  

For your enquiries, call us at 07 5409 7599 or email us at You may also leave us a message via our online enquiry form.