Kangaroo Valley is this rather special place where a thick mist rests, each morning, until about 10am. And then magically lifts, to reveal lush farmlands, rivers, creeks, and escarpment rainforest, all around.
Recently I went there to visit Kangaroo Valley Permaculture – an established permaculture homestead that is a bit of a jewel within a jewel – a special place nestled in this magical valley…
My host here was David Loneragan, who established this lush property with his wife Rose some 25 years ago – Bill Mollison had a hand in the design, so I’m told.
It’s a hidden treasure that has provided a happy nest for their family and, now that their kids are grown, provides a place that everyone can’t wait to come home to, when they get the chance.
Besides the house, cottage and various extremely cute sheds, there’s a thriving small market garden and a home orchard.
No matter how many established permaculture orchards (or food forest or forest gardens) I get to see, I never tire of them – always such abundance in a small space!
So many perennial food plants, planted for harvests for generations to come.
In Kangaroo Valley, birds are a Thing. The cockatoos, corellas and parrots will find a way to eat your fruit, no matter what sort of netting you put on it.
And so, as with any design, it’s all a matter of adjusting your expectations.
David has therefore favoured planting fruit + nut types that ripe off the tree – things like avocadoes, macadamia nuts, white sapotes and some citrus.
The fruit that ripens in your kitchen is the best kind, in this place.
Down the hill from the main house and in front of the cottage is the market garden (note: in it’s winter phase, currently, so mostly resting).
This garden is fenced against critters and bounded by a chook run. There’s seasonal pig tractor sections too. Everything cycling around, becoming in turn food and compost, rest and activation.
And all the time, the whole property is encircled by the escarpment cliffs – a sheltering microclimate, as well as a great hanging swamp above.
This place. It made me smile. It made me remember how good things can be.
I left with a big bag of white sapotes and maccadamia nuts (which we are still eating our way through). I left with fresh air in my lungs and a smile on my face.
And I left reminded that creating places like this are possible, with good design, the right piece of land, and hard work.
So good to know.
Kangaroo Valley Permaculture is one of the places we’ll be visiting as part of our Spring Permaculture Design Course that we’re holding in Kangaroo Valley!
Many thanks to David Loneragan and family for having me – see y’all again in October!
We get heavy mists like that on our family farm and I love that it forces you to snuggle up for a little longer. There’s something so calming about watching a mist slowly roll in. Love that wombat too <3
Looks gorgeous! But just in reply to Bruce, although I totally agree chooks are great in suburbia why Isa Browns? There are so many beautiful types of chooks including rare heritage layers (many of which lay beautifully) that we don’t need to support massive agribusiness corporations – like ISA – as part of a natural lifestyle!
When you’re running chooks in a permaculture design, you want them to scratch, eat and lay eggs. Heritage breeds are great, but they’re expensive and there aren’t many dedicated breeders who select for their natural traits anyway. So you buy prima donna chickens labelled heritage breed, at great cost, but find they’re just as good at scratching, eating, and laying eggs without going broody, as the ISA browns I’ve had both commercial chickens and heritage breeds, and it all depends on your location, your budget and your overall plan for them in your property development. Running acreage is expensive. It… Read more »
I agree Chris, the place is gorgeous and David and Rose should be delighted with the result they have achieved from years of hard work. My comment about ISA browns was not supposed to be such a big deal – I wasn’t even referring to Davids’s chooks but actually to a now deleted comment about how everyone is suburbia should have around 4 ISA browns. (Mentioned like that rather than as chooks). I also completely agree that incremental change is critical and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to be great, but by the same token surely where there… Read more »
I didn’t read the now deleted comment, so in that light, your reply makes sense now. Thanks for the clarification. I know you didn’t want to make a big deal out of the ISA browns, but in relation to better options, they aren’t so far removed from the hybrid chicken. The majority of chickens sold to buyers will have been hatched in incubators and raised under lights anyway. That has been my experience with every heritage breeder I’ve purchased from, including the period I was breeding heritage stock myself. The only heritage eggs you will find under a broody hen,… Read more »
Yes Sarah, ISA Brown chooks are all just clones really, with zero maternal instinct, and shouldn’t really be kept by real permaculturalists. I remember being severely scolded by Alanna Moore for having them at all.… However, you’ll be pleased to know that I’m currently restocking in the spring , with 30 Australorps
Oh please. Not the Isa brown thing again. Yes, other breeds (which actually, y’know, breed) are a better idea in lots of ways than a hybrid bird like an Isa Brown, which don’t breed and are supremely and ultimately not sustainable let alone regenerative within a permaculture system. However. I firmly believe that an isa brown (or four) at home doing their chooky thing, processing waste, enriching the system and producing eggs is better than zero chooks at home at all. Because zero chooks at home means (if you eat eggs) a larger footprint, more waste, more emissions and of… Read more »
Great sounds lovely David! And I do totally agree Kirsten that some chooks of any breed is better than no chooks, all of them do a great job in recycling waste and contributing to healthier soil etc. But (with about 70 eggs from my entirely non isa flock sitting in my kitchen from the last week waiting/hoping for friends to come and collect them) I can assure you that Isa’s are not the only option for good egg production. There are a lot of mediterranean and dual purpose breeds which lay good big eggs, have great feed conversion ratio and… Read more »
Beautiful-beautiful property. Lovely aspect in the existing environment. Great permaculture design. You’ll be pleased with the Australorps, David and Rose. I also think New Hampshires are the best breed for feed to egg conversion. That is to produce a standard egg, not bantam.
I run a five acre property so know that sometimes you just go with whatever animals you can get a hold of to do the job. There is SO MUCH to manage on acreage that compromise on the ideal situation, is inevitable. 😉
Kangaroo Valley looks like a wonderful investment for the past 25 years.
Looks gorgeous. Been dreaming of doing a permaculture small holding near kangaroo valley for a while now. Maybe I should just do it. Thanks Kirsten.
That first photo is absolutely stunning. Love the animals too.