Murrnong is a permaculture farm and a source of activism, courses and consultancy in North East/ North Central Victoria, Australia. Murrnong Farm is a self-reliant homestead, and an integrated, diverse tree crop farm providing high-quality organic produce and a rich learning environment for self-reliant living.
After his PDC in 1991, David started by permaculturing his back and front yards in West Preston, Melbourne. He has been developing Murrnong since 1996. Along the way he has done permaculture design and development work across North East and North Central Victoria. Through these various projects he developed skills and expertise in design and development for home self-sufficiency, farm planning, farm scale tree and shrub landscaping, farm forestry, homestead orcharding, tree crops, ecological building, energy efficient retrofit of existing buildings, and even a dabble in micro-publishing when he conceived and produced the Permaculture Calendar.
David was born in 1963 at Hay on the riverine plain in western NSW. His childhood and primary school years were spent on a sheep station near Carrathool called Gundaline, that his father Charles managed. In the 1970’s the station was bought by a US based agribusiness multinational, and converted by heavy earthworks to broad acre irrigated row cropping. As a child David observed the farm and these changes, usually when taken along as gate opener and companion for his dad. The remnant natural qualities – of what had been a well managed rich pastoral landscape before European settlement – were more appealing to David than the increasingly industrial agriculture. In the 1970’s the food self-reliance of the isolated homestead settlement, with vegetable garden and orchard, was fast giving way to weekly (180 km return) shopping trips. Parental lessons about economy and care of things were still strong.
Occasional work at his family’s farm near Violet Town in the 1980’s gave David opportunity to interact with that landscape and experiment with tree planting to improve the rural landscape. This lead to his more consciously permacultural journey that began in 1990.
Cecilia married David and moved to Murrnong in 2016 from her native Sweden, after having felt all her life that Sweden was too cold for her. At Murrnong Cecilia runs the kitchen, is the cheese and yogurt maker, number one home vegetable gardener, and keeper/ carer/ breeder of the chickens.
Felix Arnold grew up alongside and as part of Murrnong’s development. His interests converge and diverge from Murrnong through working in outdoor education, working and sometimes living here, embracing permaculture, foraging, creative kitchen adventures, and bringing his terrific friends here to visit. Through most of 2018 he took on the finishing of our new cob and straw bale cottage.
Grace Arnold is now (as at late 2018) revelling in the freedom of young adulthood and school completion by hitching, walking and helping on farms throughout Central Europe.
Her sense of visual aesthetic has lent itself to many a sign and occasionally this website. We love hearing about how she is contextualising her permaculture upbringing in the wider world, and finding her way in it.