In 1994 After 8 years traveling around the state living on small rural properties in country towns we purchased this place in Monbulk/Olinda on the East of the hills above Melbourne Australia. First settled & established in 1893 the property grew berries until 1940’s it had been a cut flower farm since 1907 with deep red loam soils and a water right to the creek as the bottom, the aspect is Nth Nth East with good established trees throughout. The property was in one family until 1989 and went through changes in crops including growing peas & beans, daffodils, plum & Nectarine trees, Valottas and more, it had a chance to rest from being tilled from 1960 to 1989 so it just regenerated.
The first thing we needed was adequate fencing to house our well loved Rare Breed Animals and Poultry, these help manage the Heritage orchard, the fire risk and they supply raw ingredients for our Biodynamic composting.
Silvia and I are interested in so many areas that we don’t have time to be experts in one single field, our yearly travels and living in 4 different geographic locations within the state of Victoria have increased our practical skills, particularly in small scale systems for animals and fruit & veggies.
This has resulted in us running our own courses in animal husbandry, organic growing and design. we also ended up being involved and leaders of local & state community groups.
In 2002 Peter quit what some would call a good job to become a full time Permie.
Now in our 2010 update we have since purchased some extra govt land adjacent to us, mostly all bush, other things have also changed such as the opening of a Nursery selling 700 varieties of fruit trees, completion of renovations to existing buildings such as our 100 year old shed to 2 classrooms one for cheese, wine making and other food classes while the other has many varied classes from Permaculture Design Certificates, soils & compost and now Biodynamics.
The collection has grown to over 1000 heritage fruits varieties mainly due to the Government closing down their Govt collections so we have felt compelled to save these for the future of all Australians.
Update 2015– after attending the recent APC 12 conference on permaculture in Tassie, I found listening to a presentation by Robin Francis – one of the inducted elders of PC at this event, that the year we began our Permaculture Project here at Telopea Mtn happens to be the same year as most of the Big well known ones such as Djanbung Gardens and Tagari all of which celebrated 20 years last year. 3 New netted enclosures now total about 1 acre protecting most of our fruit and reducing the workload even further as they are managed by poultry ( 2 sets per system) who do most mowing and pest control while the crops are protected from the birds that have been our main pest, they also exclude the possums and in future the bats as they extend their territories out of Melbourne.