Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in Tropical Far North Queensland with Geoff Lawton and Darren Doherty

Teaching a PDC together for the first time ever in Australia


Monday 17th – Sunday 30th November 2008

Walkamin • Near Cairns • Far North Queensland

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to take part in a two week Permaculture Design Certificate Course, taught by two of the best, internationally renowned teachers in the world, teaching a PDC together for the first time ever in Australia. The combined teaching force of Geoff, who is working in more countries and coordinating more projects on the ground than any other and Darren, back in Australia after a highly acclaimed world tour, promises to be an opportunity not to be missed. The course will incorporate intensive theory and practice in all aspects of Permaculture Design. This course is being held at FreeRange Permaculture’s demonstration site “Rosella Waters”, a stunning 6 acres situated right on the banks of the Barron River.

Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. — Bill Mollison

We are all looking for practical solutions. Farmers are seeking ways to earn an income and build soil fertility. People in cities are seeking effective ways of growing healthy, organic food in urban environments. It is possible to retrofit an existing house or property that results in lower energy costs and better health for us and our families. There are solutions that use intelligent, thoughtful design principles to build sustainable lives, and sustainable communities.

Permaculture design principles can be applied across any biosphere, on any property, in any landscape, and in any city. Permaculture offers an integrated approach to land use and community building, designing diverse and stable ecosystems for people to provide food, energy, shelter, and other needs. With positivism and practical applications of innovative and effective design, we can all live in a sustainable way and allow natural systems to flourish for the betterment of global health.

The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children… — Bill Mollison

What is a Permaculture Design Certificate Course?

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) has been delivered since the early 1980s to possibly millions of people across the globe. All manner of people have done a PDC to equip themselves with the ability to confront constant cultural & environmental change & to become more sustainable, energy efficient members of the community.

The PDC is an efficient & cost effective means of gaining the knowledge of Permaculture Ethics & Principles together with amassing a skills, techniques & knowledge base for designing & developing sustainable human settlements – from a small home to a broad acre farm.

The 2 week residential format combines all of this to make for a totally empowering experience that is very likely to change your life… not to mention the connections and friends you will make for life too!

Why take this Permaculture Design Certificate Course?

This PDC delivers the certified curriculum from The Permaculture Institute of Australia (Bill Mollison). The curriculum is therefore based on Mollison’s Magnus opus: Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual.

The PDC is a very intensive learning experience. This interactive course has been specifically designed to meet the needs of adult learners, using a wide range of creative facilitation methods which have been roundly appreciated by both Geoff & Darren’s past participants.

The course aims to empower participants with the skills and knowledge required to become a person capable of designing and developing sustainable systems anywhere in the world.

I thought I was coming to learn about gardens, and instead I learned about life, and the importance of community and interdependence. – Quote from a previous course participant

The 72-hour Permaculture Institute PDC is equivalent to one university/college subject of one semester. It has always been intended to be a course focused on design and thinking, rather than about technique.

This PDC manages to balance the needs of participants by delivering the curriculum using a diverse range of outdoor practicum & design exercises for applied learning, along with imagery-based slideshows & videos. Working on the design and development of 1000’s of properties in every corner of the globe has provided Geoff & Darren with a plethora of before & after photographs and experiences to share with their students. This course can also serve as the foundation for further study and is a pre-requisite for a Diploma in Permaculture Design, awarded by The Permaculture Institute. The credit attributed to a PDC is accepted by a growing number of universities around the world.

About the teachers

Geoff Lawton who is world renowned for field expertise and extensive teaching experience in the ecological “badlands” of Earth, areas of extreme cultural conflicts, as well as more friendly environments. Founding director of the acclaimed Permaculture Research Institute, Geoff is working in more countries and co-coordinating more projects on the ground than any other Permaculture Teacher / Designer today.

He is the holder of Diploma’s in Permaculture Education, Design, Implementation, System Establishment, Administration and Community Development. In 1996 Geoff was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world.

Darren Doherty has extensive experience across the world in Permaculture project design, development & management. A focus on retrofitting broad acre agricultural systems has seen Darren acclaimed as a pioneer in this important & often overlooked field. He is a registered teacher of The Permaculture Institute, a qualified Whole Farm Planner (University of Melbourne), Approved Keyline Designer, & Accredited Permaculture Training (APT) Trainer.

Back in Australia after a year travelling the world, teaching extensively in a huge variety of bioregions, students can expect a swag of new and updated ideas, techniques and information added to Darren’s already large array.. GIS, Consulting Processes, Keyline Design, Holistic Management™ and Carbon Farming plus a lot more…

Location & Travel

The course will be held on our demonstration site “Rosella Waters”, near Cairns in Tropical Far North Queensland, an easy 1hr drive from Cairns International Airport or 15 minutes from Atherton, the largest township on the majestic Atherton tablelands.

Free Range Permaculture
Rosella Waters 331
Henry Hannam Drive
Walkamin QLD 4872

Please visit our map for the exact location.

Bus services are available from Cairns to Walkamin via Mareeba. Pickups can be provided for a
small fee. Please contact us to arrange a pick up.

Bookings The course fee for this two week course is $1,300. This fee includes all meals (omni or veg) and basic camping facilities over the two week period.

Contact us to book your place or for more information. Alternatively call Kym 0407 243 298 or Georgie on 0437 267 323. To ensure that all participants get the most from this course positions are limited, so please book early to ensure your place.

Contact us to book your place or for more information. Alternatively call Kym 0407 243 298 or Georgie on 0437 267 323. To ensure that all participants get the most from this course positions are limited, so please book early to ensure your place.

A field analysis kit bag containing farmer’s level, compass, topographical maps of course site, soil analysis kit and other essential objects will also be available for purchase prior to the course. This kit bag is recommended as it contains the essential tools for this course. Please notify us when booking if you would like to purchase any of these items.


Accommodation for this course is provided in the form of campsites at Rosella Waters. The basic facilities include composting toilet and shower. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided at the course house site, over looking the beautiful Barron River, a short stroll from the shed where classes will be held.

Only 4km’s away is Walkamin Central Van Park which has powered & non powered van sites available. For more information call them on 07 4093 3990.

Alternatively, the nearby towns of Mareeba (10kms) and Atherton (20kms) that lie within the majestic Atherton Tablelands region, both have a wide range of accommodation options available.

About FreeRange Permaculture

FreeRange Permaculture provides world-class courses and workshops in a range of sustainable practices. We have become a leader in sustainability education for future generations in the Far North through our Healthy Educational Living Permaculture (H.E.L.P.) School Garden program.

Our Permaculture demonstration site is “Rosella Waters” near Cairns in Far North Queensland. The 2.38H property is located in Walkamin near what is locally known as the “jump-up”, the edge of an ancient lava flow. At an elevation of close to 600 meters above sea level and with over 1000mm of rainfall per year, it is a unique climate suited to a wide range of produce. The property is fronted by 194 meters of the Barron River, which flows year round and is the major river in the region. Any questions, just call Kym on 0407243298 or Georgie on 0437267323 or email us.

The Permaculture Research Insitute

PRI Zaytuna Farm functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. Much of Geoff and Nadia’s time over the last few years has been spent away from the Institute, consulting and helping set up projects in diverse locales around the world. Seeing the worldwide demand for knowledgeable permaculture consultants and teachers increase exponentially, as fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocket and the effects of climate change, soil depletion and water shortages begin to hit hard, priority and focus is now shifting back to the Institute, where growing the training program will increase the output of quality teachers to help fill the growing need for them.


  1. Hi Joanne,

    Thanks for your inquiry.

    The Van Park is approximately 4kms from Rosella Waters which in theory is walkable but may be a bit far on a daily basis. I imagine that you have a vehicle as the Van Park doesn’t have any camping facilities, it only takes caravans and camper vans. You can drive to the site in less than 5 minutes. From the Van park, go straight back along the Kennedy Highway towards Mareeba and turn right onto Henry Hannam Drive. Follow that for 2.2 km until you reach the causeway. Rosella Waters is number 331 Henry Hannam Drive and the last property on your left before the causeway.

    If you would like to Email us at: freerangepermaculture (at) (don’t forget to use the @ sign in place of ‘at’), I can send you a map.

    I hope that helps! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.

    Kind Regards

    Kym Kruse

  2. Hi,

    What is the closest airport and how would someone get from there to the place?


  3. Hey. I just wondered if it is posible to come to the course without any knowledge about agriculture whatsoever. I am a city-boy and havn’t barely watered a plant before:)

    But my interest is awakening and this kind og agriculture sounds great.

    I’m eager to learn more about it!

  4. Hi Erik

    As Craig has noted, our Nov course is fully booked. We are running another course in April/May 09, which hopefully will suit you’re schedule. Please let us know if you would like to be notified once dates have been set for the course.
    Certainly no prior knowledge about agriculture whatsoever is required, in fact it may be a decided advantage!
    Drop us a line if you have any further questions.
    Kind Regards
    Kym & Georgie Kruse
    Directors – FreeRangePermaculture

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