In 2018, Crystal Waters, a world-first permaculture settlement and wildlife sanctuary, is now 30 years old. Located near Maleny, South East Queensland, the 640 acre property was donated by Bob Sample to enable pioneers to experiment with permaculture.
Permaculture "permanent agriculture", as introduced in 1978 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, advocates homestead-based, diverse, self-sufficient organic farming as an antidote to poison-dependent, large scale, monocultural farming.
Given a UN Habitat Award, Crystal Waters is known worldwide for its permaculture setting and educational courses. Community members run monthly markets, bakery and cafes, bamboo and timber plantations, a fire brigade, cinema, even a cemetery. A visitor park offers cabins, caravan sites and tent sites. Over 100 dwellings and community buildings showcase diverse building methods - rammed earth, mud brick, straw bale and pole construction.
Now 30 years young, the evolving settlement hosts some 230 residents who offer experience and varied opinions on permaculture's ideals and the realities.