Isabell Shipard – A Friend to the Permaculture Research Institute


A friend to the Permaculture Research Institute, world renowned herbalist, teacher and author Isabell Shipard has passed away on the 16th of November. Isabell Shipard’s passion is herbs, and she loved to inspire and share the joys and wonders of natural herbs.

I, along with many others, will miss her dearly. Not only was she one of the best herbalists in the world, I have such a high regard for her knowledge, that I referenced her work in each and every one of my courses.

Isabell and her husband Derrick, have lived on their picturesque farm at Nambour, Queensland, for over 30 years.

When Isabell started to publish her books, I was asked for my testimonial and I put pen to paper.

  • “In all the places I have travelled and worked in the world as a Permaculture designer and teacher, I’ve never met anybody who has such a depth and diversity of knowledge of individual plants, their functions, cultural uses and the growing conditions they require as Isabell Shipard… In the quest for sustainability, we are lucky to have such information available in explicit detail.” – Geoff Lawton
  • “This book is the best reference I have read for live food, through the easy, convenient production of sprouts, which are possibly the ultimate compact health food.
    The information Isabell has researched is always extremely detailed and very accurate and this book is a must for anyone wanting to improve their health and vitality with live sprouts.” – Geoff Lawton.

Isabell is also admired by Bill Mollison, who gave the following testimonial’s to her published works:-

  • “Australia has waited 20 years for her first home-grown herbal, but here it is at last! Isabell has always been the source of plants and advice for many of us, her admirers. We can be proud of her encyclopaedic work on plants, which includes a vast reference background, as well as practical advice…” – Bill Mollison.
  • “Once again, Isabell has put together a very helpful book. A book that will help us to act together, for survival in emergencies, such as surround us today. Many of us have tried, at all levels, to alert people to the critical state of the nation , due to global warming, low levels of all fuels and drought.
    To grow our own food always has taken us less time than to shop for it! People, in the end, get what they choose, and to me at least, chasing life and food seems only sensible. As usual, Isabell has put in your hands, a manual that helps that aim. She has all my support.” – Bill Mollison.

Isabell has written for the Permaculture Research Institute a number of times, below are links to her articles.

Drumstick Tree

Chia: Crop Potential and Uses

Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods… Are You Prepared?

Resources for Herbs, Sprouts and Survival Foods

Isabells’ legacy will continue through her published works, including the following:-

Isabell’s funeral was held on Friday, 21 Nov at 1.30pm at St Luke’s Lutheran Church in Nambour.

Geoff Lawton

Geoff Lawton is a world renowned Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in 1983 with Bill Mollison the founder of Permaculture. Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administering and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies under the not-for-profit organisation. In 1996 Geoff was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world. Geoff's official website is Geoff's Facebook profile can be found here.


  1. Very sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounds like a wonderful woman, a boon to her field, and a great colleague to many.

  2. Isabell’s was a life well lived. She gave her incredible knowledge of herbs to the world straight from her heart with compassion and a strong sense of service.
    It was clear that she and her family were a team and my condolences go to them.
    ~ Cathy Sullivan, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

  3. I caught the last six years of Isabell’s life and have been spellbound by her knowledge, her passion and her stories of herbs. I scoured the farm catalogues and planted with gusto… I won most and only lost some… here in the tropics. I learnt about plant families, remedies and holistic medicine. For that Isabell, I am eternally grateful.

    Thank you to Isabell’s husband Derrick and family for their loving support of an amazing woman. Her work will continue to inspire beyond her life. Without your support I’m sure we would have only seen a portion of brilliant work she turned out.

    I had a hope that one day I might meet Isabell Shipard… that I might visit the farm and see your life’s work for myself. Maybe I might still do that :-)

  4. Thank you Geoff for posting this article on Isabel. I was overseas and only found out about her passing this morning. I remember many a happy day working side by side with Isabel and listening to her amazing knowledge about every herb and plant we worked with on their farm in Nambour. What a wonderful legacy you have left for us all Isabel and I will never forget my time spent with you and your lovely family.

  5. So very sorry for your loss and what an amazing inspirational woman she was! Her brilliant books are my bible! Isabel has taught me so much about herbs that I pass on to others through her books. She will be missed.

  6. Isabel was a true healer of intention with her time and wisdom, I cherish the memory of meeting her kind soul. God Bless Isabel~

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