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Earthworks & Water Workshop

August 1, 2015 @ 9:00 am - August 2, 2015 @ 5:00 pm


“Future Proofing your Property”

For those interested in the art and science of sustainable earthworks, regenerating landscape and future proofing their property.

About the workshop

Good earthworks design and construction for your permaculture system is crucial for regenerating your land, creating a lower maintenance, self-sustaining system and future proofing your property for food and water. The earth works is the framework or structure that your system hangs off and your design is only as good as its foundations. Good earthworks makes your system. It creates water, soil and forests:

  • saves water and provides more water for your property
  • saves money by reducing irrigation or never having to irrigate
  • stops erosion and saves soils
  • builds soil, organic matter, nutrients and fertility
  • obeys natural patterns therefore good design
  • provides greater access around your property

This workshop will help you understand, design and implement earthworks on your property (large or small) to set up your system well from its foundations, getting the structure and framework right. It will prepare you for future scenarios such as drought; floods; food shortages; and climate change.

Urban or broadacre, this workshop will give you the theory and practical earthworks examples and options such as how to construct pathways, roads, swales, terraces, earthbeams, keyline, diversion drains, retaining walls, culverts, sediment traps and much more.

You will get hands-on practical on the ground experience of how to design a real earthworks project; how to use a dumpy and other levels; measure contour; peg out swales; dig swales; construct a spillway; construct a drain and culvert; and how to design, connect and integrate gardens, paths, roads and other elements harmoniously together.

This will be a fun packed hands-on weekend all about earthworks – thinking, designing, constructing, and completing some. You will get the skills to go home and design and construct your own. Don’t miss this ground-breaking experience.

About the Trainers

John Champagne

John ChampagneSince completing his Permaculture Design Certificate Course in 1992, John has been active in many areas of Permaculture activity. For 15 years he has designed and developed the family property on the Far South Coast of NSW, Brogo Permaculture Gardens into a demonstration site for cool temperate regions that is regularly open to the public. Their here that John and his partner Sharon maintains a self-reliant lifestyle and brings up 5 wonderful children. In 1995 he co-founded the South Coast Field Days which ran for 10 years that promoted aspects of sustainable landuse and living in an annual weekend event. John was President of the Sapphire Coast Producers Association for 10 years which nurtured a variety of niche agribusiness in a co-operative framework. He facilitated the group design process for the playgrounds of the Mumbulla Steiner School in Bega as well as a being involved in a number of other school design projects.

John was an original founding member of BEND, (Bega Eco Neighborhood Developers) in 2003. He facilitated the Design Team that presently has a Construction Certificate to develop a 21-block housing sub division using the Community Titles Act on land in the township of Bega, NSW. John began teaching Permaculture in 2004 and also works as a consultant to clients seeking to establish self-reliant lifestyles. John has built his own Anti-Aviary and assists others with theirs.


Todd Cleary PDC

Todd has been an earthworker for over 20 years. He had an early passion for the land, spending school holidays on his grand parents’ farm. Todd was a plumbing apprentice 1990-94 with the Australian Gas Company and gained valuable experience installing gas installations and operating earth moving equipment. As a tradesman he worked for civil contractors for a further ten years on earthmoving projects. Having started his own earthmoving business in 2004 with a bobcat and excavator and having grown much of his own food, Todd realised the need for good compost, and began making it from the stables in his local area. After working for Centrelink teaching organic vegetable growing for two years, he completed a PDC with Geoff Lawton in 2006. Later he completed a Compost tea brewing workshop with Geoff Lawton and Paul Taylor. Over the last five years, with Daniel Dieghton and Aaron Sorensen, Todd has built living classrooms projects in six schools and currently is working with Wollongong Council to develop a food waste composting program with local restaurant and council events, eliminating landfill and producing a valuable humus. He has a workcover ticket to operate a bob cat, excavator and crane.

Workshop Program

This workshop will include:

  • Theory of different types of earthworks and applications and options for each Dams, ponds, paths, roads, garden beds, terraces, drains, swales and keyline systems
  • Designing your earthworks for an on-site food forest & other purposes
  • How to connect and integrate on-site elements such roads, drains, paths, gardens, tanks, chook pens, food forests
  • Appropriate machines for specific applications.
  • Surveying techniques and marking out and pegging contours for swales
  • Swale construction including spillways to completion phase
  • Installing drains and culverts
  • Applying green manures and living ground covers over exposed soil.



August 1, 2015 @ 9:00 am
August 2, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
+ Google Map
(02) 4568 2036


Todd Cleary and Peter Brecknock, two of Sydney’s best and most highly experienced earthworks specialists and trainers.
Hat, gloves, camera, gum boots, water bottle. All other materials will be provided and included in the workshop fee.
Click here for details
organic lunches, morning and afternoon teas and all course materials