Bill Mollison

Bill-MollisonWith deep sorrow, we wish to inform family and friends that Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison, the “Father of Permaculture,” has passed away. He departed peacefully from this world in Hobart, Tasmania, just before 11 pm AEST, on the 24th of September, 2016.

After founding Permaculture Institute in 1978, he formalized the training of practitioners, which directly impacted hundreds of thousands of lives, and indirectly many millions more. For his service to humanity, he was honored with numerous awards, including the Right Livelihood Award in 1981. But of all the accolades he received, the one he was most proud of was the Vavilov Medal, in large part due to the tenacity, courage, and contributions of the award’s namesake, who Bill considered a personal hero. Bill was also the first foreigner invited and admitted to the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Bill will be missed by many who loved him for his strength, courage, intellect, humor, and benevolence. He gifted so much to the world: a vision and framework for a positive future, a special concern for developing countries, and above all, hope.

This is the Bill that the public knew.

For those who were his intimates, words are especially difficult, breaking under the weight of what the heart feels and longs to express.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family and close friends, who kindly request privacy and space during this difficult grieving period; at an appropriate time, a public memorial will be announced for those who wish to formally extend their condolences.

A massive tree in the forest of humanity has fallen. But in keeping with Bill’s invincible optimism, these verses from the great mystic, Rumi, are perhaps most appropriate:

When you see my procession, don’t cry, “Gone, gone!”
For me it is a time of meeting and reunion.
As you lower me into the grave, don’t say, “So long.”
When you see that lowering down, consider a rising.
What harm is there in the setting of a sun or moon?
What seems a setting to you is a dawning.
What seed goes into the earth and does not grow?
Why are you doubting this human seed?

Bill, you will never be forgotten.

The above is an official statement of the Permaculture Research Institute, prepared at the request of Bill’s widow, Lisa Mollison.

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. “…He wanted everyone to plant a tree when he passed…” was the message passed on from his family this morning. Choose your tree and it’s location wisely dear ones. Implement all you have learned!

    1. Manchester Permaculture Network members could also plant trees, or indeed forest gardens or fruit forests, to implement what we have learned from him and his collaborators/followers…

  2. Blessings to the family. Thanks for the wisdom and just the simple and beautiful way you loved Mr. Mollison. A beautiful Tasmanian soul. I will plant a Bill Mollison tree in your memory. ☆

  3. He got out.. He never wanted everlasting life. It’s up to us “poor sods” to make our lives mean something special too now. Let us all appreciate and continue what he started.

  4. My thoughts and prayers to his family at this difficult time. I will do my best to make you proud and pass your knowledge onto my grandchildren so your legacy may extend beyond many lifetimes.

  5. I recently lossed my sister, Shirley! Our family placed her ashes along with Our Beloved Sister Sharon, Our Lovely Mother, Sophia And Our Very Strong Head Of The Household, Our Father Melvin O. J……. RIP Our Treasured Souls! I expressed my feeling in this writings … written as we drove to Celebrate the lives of Our Four Amazing And Extremely Loved Family … Now Angels Of GOD!

    RIP Mr. Bill Mollison! We Celebrate Your Life! Asking GOD to bring Peace and Harmony to the Bereaved Family.

    Shirley, Sharon, Sophie and Mel!

    Death is only painful to those left behind! Know that our loved ones will always live in our Hearts, our Minds, our Soul.

    Our memories are like fine linens … Treasures of Life …. Snap shots of time! Treasures they are! Each and every one!

    After, my beloved sister Sharon’s death … I created a very private place in my mind to keep her memories alive!

    I often sought refuge in what I endearingly called The Attic In My Mind! I would recess to the love, warmth, and peacefulness of my private place.

    I would immerse my being with the textures, the colors of joy, the brightness of happy moments, the muted shades of despair and grief.

    Over the years … My father, my mother joined their angelic daughter, Sharon.

    And now …. our vivacious, cultured and extremely witty, Shirley D. Owens, has taken her refuse to this special place as well.

    This attic in Our Minds! Where we are free to feel their love, their closeness and touch their souls! Visit often … Keep Loved Ones close!

    It has been my comfort and strength for now and forever!

    Family … Learn to treasure the attic in your mind! …. Where your loved ones embrace awaits! …. in the wink of an eye …. Once again connected! Forever …

    Just know that Our Loved Ones are now experiencing a new found freedom … No longer imprisoned in an earthly body of flesh and blood! Their Spirits are dancing in the Heavens and basking in the Moonlight … Free of physical pain and suffering! Keeping this in mind, you will now feel their peace and contentment …. knowing that they live in joy.

    Reaching out to all of you in your moment of tears!


  6. Very sad to hear about Bill’s passing away. He left behind a rich legacy called Permaculture, & taught the world an alternative non -chemical & sustainable Agriculture. May his soul rest in peace. May the knowledge he spread cover the nooks & corners of our planet.

  7. This is very sad news, yet I am now more resolute in my decision to spend the rest of my days on this Earth implementing Mr. Mollison’s ideals of permaculture. Rest in peace you dear man and thank you for all you have done for this planet!

  8. Bill was such a genius and an inspiration. He was also hilarious in his own kooky yarn-spinning way. Read his 863 page autobiography “Travels in Dreams” to meet the man behind the legend. It will give you insight into how he came to his way of thinking about the world. You will also laugh and be astonished over and over. Truly a life well lived!

  9. Sad day He must have felt positive about all those whom he taught & that it was time for all to carry forward the legacy he so brilliantly anchored. Blessings. Gratitude. Respect Eternal

  10. Read his books, breathe him in and deeply, and be changed forever.
    Spirit now has him back for the inner permaculture. What a blessing he has been for every organic and biodynamic farmer.
    Sincere condolences to his loved ones.

  11. RIP “I do not, in my lifetime, or that of my children’s children, foresee a world where there are no eroded soils, stripped forests, famine or poverty, but I do see a way in which we can spend our lives towards earth repair. If and when the whole world is secure, we have won a right to explore space, and the oceans. Until we have demonstrated that we can establish a productive and secure earth society, we do not belong anywhere else, nor (I suspect) would we be welcome elsewhere.” –Bill Mollison,

  12. I just sent his book to a friend in Africa! He reads 10 pages a day and is implementing what he learns to feed his community and create jobs! Yay! Bill changed my world view and the way that I live.

  13. Rest in peace Bill, you have done and given so much. My life changed once I discovered permaculture and your illustrations and concepts in permaculture one are forever engraved in my mind. It’s up to us to continue what you have taught and we will do our best to change this world for the best.

  14. Thank you Bill Mollison for the wonderful valuable contribution you have made to all of our lives, and to mine over the last 30 or so years that I have been reading your wisdom and trying to implement it into my life. There never has and never will be anyone like you.
    I will choose a very special tree that bears fruit, shades and protects, and welcomes birds into my garden, and dedicate it to you. I welcome suggestions.

  15. Bill was a true pioneer and visionary, a great leader. He dared to dream of changing the world for the better and had the courage to go out there and do it. He truly has left the world a better place than he found it, leading by example.

    His work will be continued by countless people worldwide, those who have been inspired by his vision, and whose passion has he been sparked by his. Those continuing the ecological revolution that Bill Mollison started truly stand on the shoulders of a giant.

    Bill, we will miss you dearly. As my teacher, your life fills me with inspiration to make a real difference and live a life worth living. Thank you for your priceless gift to the world.

  16. Was such an honor to have known you Bill. The knowledge and tools you offered to the world and the many hundreds of thousands you trained over the years has made the Planet a far better place. Thank you for educating me in Glen Rose Texas in 1995 and honoring me as a Certified Permaculture Designer. The work continues!

  17. Thoughts are with everyone who was touched by this remarkable spirit. Whilst we are saddened by his passing, more so the planet and the people who walk on the planet were truly blessed by his presence. What a wonderful human being!

  18. Bill not only changed my life through the sharing of his wisdom, he started a cascade of change within my family which continues to this day. I think of him often and give thanks that I knew him, listened to him and passed on his wisdon. I celebrate your life Bill.

  19. Attending my own permaculture course today when I heard the news. We did our small ceremony of greatfulnes for Bill and shared our love and hope for the continued permaculture movement in his honor.

  20. Bill you showed us how to plant good seeds, sort the seeds, water them and store the goid ones as well..Your knowledge and legacy will grow the same way as your blossomed talks. The fruits will be collected and shared..many more ways and in life..An Amazing person..Love you forever…Thanks for your gifts �������

  21. Devastating news. I literally am playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow by IZ because of all my years in Hawaii and when I’m feeling melancholy I play my Hawaiian music. And I know Bill loved Hawaii so here’s to you my dear friend. Aloha Bill. You will always be with us in spirit! Lesley

  22. Beautiful what’s written…

    “A massive tree in the forest of humanity has fallen. But in keeping with Bill’s invincible optimism, these verses from the great mystic, Rumi, are perhaps most appropriate:

    When you see my procession, don’t cry, “Gone, gone!”
    For me it is a time of meeting and reunion.
    As you lower me into the grave, don’t say, “So long.”
    When you see that lowering down, consider a rising.
    What harm is there in the setting of a sun or moon?
    What seems a setting to you is a dawning.
    What seed goes into the earth and does not grow?
    Why are you doubting this human seed?”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Bill. :) :) :)

  23. So sad that I never got a chance to meet him. But his books and teachings have still massively impacted my life and the 3 properties I have applied the permaculture principles to. Thank you for everything Bill. You are a legend. I’ll certainly be planting a tree for you this week #plantatreeforbill

  24. I can’t help but feel sad but at the same time be very grateful for such a charismatic and purposeful human being to have existed and affected the lives of so many others. Not just humans, all forms of life have benefited from Bills actions and from the downflow of actions carried on by his pupils. I wish I had had the chance to meet him on this world. Thank you Bill :)

  25. To me the greatest teacher of all time. He left a legacy though of intelligent thinkers that hopefully will be able to make our world absolute in abundance. I have passed to the degree I could his & of course Geoff’s thinking on to my kids. Les Peters

  26. I will find a tree today for you Bill maybe I will find 3 that sounds better so come up here Jeff and help me I never buy little tiny trees one rootball weighed 150 lbs and I had to tie to my back and drag it to the hole that Nikko dug for me…cause Nikko had to go to work and I continued planting trees I put 15 trees in one week…

  27. With gratitude to Bill Mollison who worked to design and build a better world through positive change, and who inspried my PhD research in science and sustainability education. Thanks, Bill.

  28. Since 1981, when I attended a three-week course with Bill at the Tree People in Los Angeles,
    I have walked the walk every day and in many many ways. I owe you for opening my eyes and showing me how to live a good life Bill…So sad and so grateful, Diana

  29. We will keep it growing and growing, abundantly. I believe in my heart and soul that Bill gave us what was needed to save our world, working with nature instead of against it. He will be known as much more than the father of permaculture in the wide world. Thank you oh so much, Bill. More than words can express. I never had the pleasure of meeting you yet you planted a lasting seed in me and so many others. You are not really gone from us, because what you did and were. Absolutely charismatic and for planet and life. My thoughts and heart to your dear ones.
    In absolute gratitude,
    Diane XXX

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