Monthly meetings held at the ‘Ku-ring-gai Centre for Seniors'
259 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070 on the third Monday
of the month (except Jan) - all welcome
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President's Report April 2014 - Cat Dorey

As temperatures dropped this week, it felt like autumn finally arrived. It’s a time for harvesting and making preserves; for watching the leaves change and then raking them up for valuable leaf mulch; and for preparing our gardens and homes for winter. For many it’s also a time to celebrate the cycle of life, death and rebirth – either as Christians with Easter festivities, or through many other spiritual practices. And for us permies, it’s a time to CELEBRATE PERMACULTURE!

International Permaculture Day (IPD) is almost upon us. Thanks to some very busy PSN members we have a series of workshops and a film night in North Sydney in the week before IPD, and around 10 of our fantastic members’ gardens will be open to the public. This year’s theme for IPD is ‘Reclaiming Food Freedom’ and there are events on all over the world, from France to Argentina. Permaculture is growing everywhere!

Permaculture and IPD has also spread to the art world! Artists Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss have collaborated on an art project about P.A. Yeomans – the Australian farmer who developed the ’keyline’ concept for water harvesting. The artists are currently exhibiting in the National Art School in Sydney, and Chris Suttie (PSN member and artist) and I joined a discussion with Lucas there on the weekend. Part of this project includes an event on IPD – a day-long field trip to Oaks Organics for a chance to discuss Yeomans’ ideas and see a keyline farm which still operates on his original principles. More here:

Permaculture as art? I love it! Artist Ian Myliss says: “When I first argued in the early 1970s that P.A. Yeomans could be regarded as an artist it was treated as an absurd proposition yet we now find many artists who use farming, food production and permaculture (developed from Yeomans work) as part of their practice, as just some of the many media available to them.’

PSN April Monthly Meeting - Cancelled


Our usual meeting falls on 21st April which is Easter Monday, and the Anzac Day weekend starts just few days later on Friday 25th – many people are going away so we think it's a good time for us to take a break too.

What's Happening at Hornsby Local Group - April

The Hornsby group met at Brenda’s place on Sunday 13th April. Brenda’s place is perched on a rock above Berowra valley with steep stairs to a shady garden below. It was the ideal place to talk about ideas for developing a permaculture garden on ‘difficult’ (but beautiful) properties. Brenda has been carefully applying the 1st Permaculture principle: Observe and Interact. By taking the time to see what happens in her garden over the seasons, she can design solutions that suit her particular situation. Heather and Cat were disappointed Brenda didn’t take their idea for a flying fox (for fun & fast garden access) seriously, but they’ll keep working on her!

Upcoming events for Hornsby include:

Sunday 27th April – Permabee at Cecelia’s on to help her prepare for IPD.

Sunday 4th May – Open Gardens. Hornsby PSN members will be helping Cecelia (Carlingford), Lucinda (Epping) and Kathleen and Chris (Westleight) to showcase their gardens to the public on IPD.

Sunday 12th May – “The Wonderful World of Herbs”. Bring plants, herbal teas, and herbal remedies to show and share. Details soon.

From: Brenda, Bruce, Cat, Heather, Janine, Louise, Jessica, and Phil

What's Happening at Ku-ring-gai Local Group - April

Liz Nakhla is opening her garden for International Permaculture Day, 4 May 1.00-4.00pm. This is a great example for visitors to see as it is an organic garden morphing into a Permaculture Garden. If you can spare some time to help set up or guide the visitors through the garden, please contact Diana Evans 9416 1896 or Diana Watson 9416 2929. You do not need a PDC to help just a permie spirit of caring for people and joy in sharing. Even one hour would help.

A dedicated group of 12 members learned some secrets about hot composting at Liz and Morris’s house by assembling “The Great Pile”. To celebrate and check on our work, we have decided to change the date of our next meeting to Sunday 4th May International Permaculture Day when we shall return for the “Great hot compost of 2014 inspection”.

Peter Crowe taught us more than we knew existed about the bugs, bacteria, and minerals of the soil with some outstanding pictures and examples of his healthy and vigorous vegetables. A fabulous afternoon.

In the time honoured fashion, half-time featured a great feast and sharing of delicious recipes.

Diana Evans
Local Group Coordinator

Permaculture Northern Beaches Update


With some amazing edible garden's visited over the last few months, on April 13 we are visiting a tranquil Australian native garden, flourishing with bee hives and edible's at the back of Elanora Heights. In May we are travelling further afield and are lucky enough to be given a private tour from a farmer at the biodynamic farm in Dural. This established farm has been around for 40 years, and gives individual's with intellectual disabilities the experience of growing vegetables and living off the land.


In April we have had two permabees in the lead up to IPD the first was at Fairlight, near Manly, in a 100 year old house and garden which is celebrating its centenary this year with a party on May 4th. The garden had been neglected for a while due to the ill health of a long standing member: we have now reintroduced chickens, plantings, clearing and a bee hive hotel. The second will be held at Elanora Heights on a steep block in an award winning garden ( from the Pittwater Council fro sustainability landscaping) on April 28th. Both are also examples of sustainable houses.
We have merged our permatour and permabee teams into one super team that will cover the more practical aspects of our work at PNB.

Public Meetings - Education

In March, on vegetarian awareness week,we had a fantastic banquet cooking demonstration and feast from Ling Halbert of Laos also speaking on health and ecological reasons for being vegetarian. Our meeting is cancelled in April due to being on the eve of ANZAC Day plus IPD activities are following soon after. On May 22nd, Selena Griffith of PNB will speak of international examples of sustainable farming and food growing that she has been involved with first hand from India to the UK to Vanuatu, and the transition towns movement. 7:15pm start at the Lakeview Room, Narrabeen Tramshed Art and Community Centre, Pittwater Rd., Narrabeen.

Native Bees

We now have an active project team working on native bees to reintroduce more of them into the northern beaches area. We will be working to get many hives into the area come Spring. We are also processing grant funding for this project and working with the local Aboriginal support group to promote indigenous knowledge on this subject.

International Permaculture Day activities May 4th PNB:

PNB will hold two open gardens with a dual focus on sustainable housing.
Graeme Jessop 10-12pm, 8 Bassett St. Mona Vale
Selena Griffith 12-4pm 25 Elanora Rd. Elanora Heights
Workshops at New Leaf Nursery 224 Powderworks Rd Ingelside 1-5pm on:
Composting, permaculture, bees, soap making, sustainable housing materials.

Celebrate with the after party at "The Lounge"sustainably designed by Jaime Durie at Cromer Community Centre, 150 Fisher Rd North, Cromer from 6pm. Live music from local band members of Distant Sons. Bring a plate of food and drink to share for a feast. All PSN groups welcome.
We hope you can join in as many events as possible!
For further information please see our website:

International Permaculture Day 2014

“In celebration of all things sustainable, Permaculture Sydney North and North Sydney Council’s Coal Loader for Sustainability are delighted to bring you a community festival to mark International Permaculture Day.

Come join us for workshops, open gardens and a screening/panel discussion. Runs 30 April – 4 May. For reservations click here.

PSN Education Team - April

Bookings will open for the Introduction to Permaculture Course on Wednesday, 16th April. The Course will take place on 7 Saturdays from 10 May to 28 June 2014 with no class on 7th June. That is 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st May and 14th, 21st, and 28th June.

The course will follow the book, Introduction to Permaculture, written by co-founder Bill Mollison. Your $250 payment includes the cost of the course and a copy of the Intro book.

We look forward to welcoming you and sharing the beginning of your Permaculture journey. Book your place on the PSN Website soon to avoid disappointment.

Ed's Corner!

PSN welcomes all submissions for inclusion in your monthly newsletter. Please send them to at least 10 days prior to the regular PSN Monthly meeting at Lindfield.

Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Living Skills - April

Nearly 30 people decided to come on a gloomy autumn day to forage for wild mushrooms in Hampton Forest. The meeting place was a picnic spot in a logged area, not a good look for mushroom picking!

For most of the participants it was the first time they went mushroom picking so it was very important that everyone was aware of safety rules and knew what mushrooms to pick! We had a detailed talk about these topics, then drove a short distance to the remaining pine forest, where we stop to see some examples of Saffron Milk Cap. After agreeing on the meeting time, all went their way into the forest. There were plenty of mushrooms around, but majority of them were really soggy and mouldy because of the recent rains. This didn't discourage the foragers and luckily there were many nice, fresh young mushrooms growing around, enough for everyone to have full baskets on the return to the picnic area. The content was thoroughly checked to make sure nobody picked anything poisonous.

Hunting for mushrooms makes people hungry, but as we were successful with foraging for food, we could cook lunch. Mushrooms were fried with butter and olive oil, and 4 loafs of sourdough bread have disappeared. After lunch we had a talk about the ways mushrooms can be preserved: drying, freezing, pickling and fermenting.

Judging by the happy faces, we had another positive Living Skills experience!

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