Australia Felix Permaculture Update

sustainableearth.steve sustainableearth.steve at
Tue Aug 28 22:55:46 EDT 2001

    Your recent accomplishments are amazing. My congratulations.
    I am keenly interested in wool for house insulation. Did you encapsulate the wool? Here in the temperate Midwest of the U.S.,  the issues about wool would be insect infestation and damage, degradation of the wool over time in a humid climate, and flammability. 
    I am developing an eco-farm and want to demonstrate building with materials that are natural, low-tech, and local resources. Insulation is a critical factor in this context. Although the popularity of wool for clothing and bedding is increasing in the US , prices for wool have been in the toilet for several years. A demand for wool insulation could stimulate a network of regional businesses connected to family farms. This could provide needed economic sustainability in the family farm sector. 
    Of related interest (insulation, that is), someone on the ferrocement list recommends clay coated straw as insulation with good R values.  However, he is in Austin, Texas, which is much drier than Indiana. and the same issues exist here.

Steve Bonney
Sustainable Earth, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the development of sustainable food and farming systems
100 Georgton Ct.
W. Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 463-9366
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Australia Felix Permaculture 
  To: permaculture 
  Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 11:42 PM
  Subject: Australia Felix Permaculture Update

  Hello Everyone,

  I trust that this greets you all well. The last 6 weeks or so have been tumultuous to say the least! We sold and moved out of Wood St, bought and renovated Casey St and brought into the world our darling baby boy (at home) Zane Thomas Burke on the 18th of July. After a bout of acute mastitis Lisa is again well although the "2 under 2" keeps us busy. We are indeed fortunate to be a part of a very loving and supportive family, which many people aren't. 

  This is my first day back at work and I'm looking forward to catching up with you all and getting into it!! We still have a bit of moving to be done, the bulk of which will be done over the coming weekend. Over the next few days we will be contacting you and going over your respective projects and getting timetables in place. After 6 weeks of hard slog we have transformed our new property into something quite special. Internal renovations are more or less completed. The property is two one bedroom double brick flats (joined) which we have converted into our new offices and residence. Stage One has seen us fully renovate and modernise the building, with many energy efficient features that fortunately haven't compromised the late 1940's architecture. 
    a.. A local Feng Shui Consultant (Suzanne Seddon) was called in following the gutting of the building and she gave us great advice on appropriate paint colours, room use and fixture placement 
    b.. Solid timber benchtops (which I joined myself) feature a range of species that many of our clients have growing, and are a sight to behold - especially the Sugar Gum Breakfast Bars - from 22 year old plantation grown stock (Kyabram Sewerage Farm) with a rare and unique Striped Red Ironbark Edge Strip throughout . Elsewhere we have featured many other species that we recommend - with a lot more to go on display in cabinets, tables and draw fronts 
    c.. We have installed Gas boosted Solarhart Hot Water Services (with a useful rebate) which is the best from a greenhouse angle 
    d.. Also natural wool insulation has been installed together with complete draught sealing throughout. The Victorian Government Sustainable Energy Authority office here in Bendigo was particularly helpful in advising us on how to make this retrofit more energy efficient and are well worth talking to 
    e.. Complete floor sanding and polishing - we are fortunate to have furniture quality timbers (mostly Vic Ash) which have come up exceedingly well 
    f.. Door Frames, Architraves and Picture Rails were all dipped to remove paint and reinstated with a coat of the wonderfully aromatic Organoil finish 
    g.. New 2 Room Office fitout to accommodate Konrad Ensor, myself and other Australia Felix contractors 
    h.. Client Lounge where we can catch up and go over projects 
    i.. Energy Efficient Lighting throughout, together with installation of all 5 energy star appliances
  Stage 2 sees the smaller internal renovations completed, and external renovations to be commenced. Naturally there is a Permaculture emphasis on the whole project with this particularly obvious outside of the building. 
    a.. Radial Milled Timber Drop Segment Fencing (both internal and external) 
    b.. Permaculture landscape development (Zones 1 - 3) with Evan Davies of Gravel Hill Community Permaculture Gardens 
    c.. Sunroom development to improve the energy efficiency of the building 
    d.. Pergola construction (using Radial Milled Posts) for shading with useful deciduous vines 
    e.. Conversion of the new pantry into a cool cupboard 
    f.. Rainwater tanks for drinking water and garden use (shandied with Grey water and irrigation thru low pressure Leeaky Hose)
  Stage 3 will see further final renovations, retrofitting and planting. The main thrust however of this stage will be the installation of a grid interactive photovoltaic system which will bring our greenhouse impact down to even lower levels. 

  We are very keen to have the property operate as a snappy display of urban Permaculture and invite all of you to drop in and check it out. We will be having an formal opening at the completion of Stage 2 to show off the place and to say thanks to you all. We will keep you posted of the date of this event. 

  Thanks to you all for the support and patience you have shown us, and I would also like to thank David Griffiths and Konrad Ensor for keeping the wheels turning. We above all want this development to improve our service to you - as clearly this has been tested over the life of our business. My personal commitment is to operate as professionally as we can and we at last have premises that allow just that. 
  Our Contact Details are as follows:
  Australia Felix Permaculture
  103 Casey St
  Bendigo East
  Victoria, 3550
  Ph 54418977 Fax 54444483
  pcorgbgo at

  Darren, Lisa, Isaebella, Pearl & Zane
  105 Casey St
  Bendigo East
  Victoria, 3550

  Yours and Growing,

  Darren Doherty

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