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Gordon Claridge 's Profile
Gordon Claridge
Vinegar Hill, Queensland, Australia
Climate Zone:
Sub tropical
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Byron Moriarty Michael Wardle Tim Oliver
Geoff Lawton
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About Gordon Claridge

Please ignore the blue highlighted statement at the right which states that I am not a PDC teacher - it means that I am not a "PRI certified" PDC teacher.

In fact, I have completed a 72-hour PDC course which followed the chapter headings in Bill Mollison's "Permaculture: A Designers' Manual", and this is the only qualification required for teaching permaculture, including PDC courses, as well as allowing me to use the term "permaculture" professionally.

My Permaculture Design Certificate course was taught by Tom Kendall (whose permaculture training was under Bill Mollision and Geoff Lawton) at Maungareeda, the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast demonstration site run by Tom and his wife Zaia.

My experience with permaculture includes (over a period of five years and in partnership with my wife) the ongoing development of our property at Vinegar Hill using permaculture principles, with the aim of its becoming a sustainable source of food for us and others, and a demonstration of successful permaculture land management in the driest part of Southeast Queensland.

The theory and application of permaculture draws on expertise from many fields. Few permaculture teachers have theoretical or practical backgrounds in more than one or two of these fields.

On the theoretical side I have university-level training in biology and geology. On the practical side I have professional experience in: conservation, including multiple-use management of special natural areas; natural resource management; wetland management; catchment management, including maintenance of catchment ecosystem services, riparian restoration and water quality management; participatory approaches to problem identification, problem solving and natural resource management (at scales ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to small rural communities); surveying; strategic planning; social and environmental impact assessment; stewardship of natural resources.

I am well qualified as a teacher, having received professional training in teaching techniques, and having an extensive background in training in many different situations over the period 1980-2011, including: Queensland Institute of Technology-1980; Australian Department of Social Security - 1981-82; Queensland Department of Environment - 1997; Indonesian Forestry Training Institute (Balai Latihan Kehutanan, Bogor) - 1991; and various international aid projects sponsored by: World Bank - 1998/1998/ 1995-2000; Asian Development Bank - 1992/2004; AusAID - 1993-1994/2000/2000-2001/2001/2002/2003-2004; Swedish International Development Assistance - 1997; The Turtle Foundation (Schidlkröten-Stiftung) - 2002.

Few permaculture teachers can claim such broad and relevant qualifications.

I am a semi-retired natural resource manager with 30 years' experience in diverse environments ranging from coastal areas in the far east of Russia, through Chinese wetlands, the mountains of the Laos-Vietnam border, peat swamps in Indonesia, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica. This work was at a diversity of scales, from development of national policies (eg wetlands in the Philippines and China), to protected area management, and working with small coastal communities to develop participatory management of their resources.

My interest in permaculture grew out of this work with people in developing countries. The assignments that I particularly enjoyed typically involved helping communities or stakeholder groups to analyse their situation in order to separate out actual problems from the symptoms arising from those problems, and then to identify feasible and sustainable solutions to those problems. Often the issues were related to movement away from a sustainable lifestyle under pressure to "modernise" (which often meant acquisition of the possessions that aid agencies counted as measures of development), or pressure from increased population levels. Of course, this is a vastly simplified description of varied and complex situations, but the overall effect was that I came to recognise that traditional approaches (e.g. food forests) held the clues to establishing sustainable futures.

A three-year break from consulting to work with my wife and friends to build a house and workshop on our land at Vinegar Hill provided time for reflection on my priorities and a rethinking of my approaches to sustainable development.

We are now engaged in applying permaculture principles to the establishment of food production on our property (Black Cockatoo Ridge) which is located on sandstone ridge country with poor soils in the driest part of Southeast Queensland (average rainfall 780mm/yr). As a part of this learning process I recently did a Permaculture Design Certificate course with Tom and Zaia Kendall in Kin Kin on the Sunshine Coast. We will now begin applying the many lessons learned from the PDC to the development of our food production areas.

Prior to working in natural resource management I did a variety of jobs, including two years as a trainer with the then Department of Social Security. This was one of the most formative experiences of my life. The organisation was willing to fund any trainer training that I wanted to undertake, so in addition to gaining the confidence to stand up in front of a group, I also developed a wide range of training skills. These came in handy during my consulting work where I conducted many courses, mainly in the use of participatory processes.

Now I plan to use my combined professional expertise (natural resource management, training, participatory processes, project management, surveying, writing, photography, etc.) to spread knowledge of permaculture to a wider audience, both in Australia and in developing countries. As a part of this we intend to develop Black Cockatoo Ridge to become a demonstration site for the application of permaculture to drier areas with difficult soils - a typical situation throughout much of Australia, and not just in the far inland.


My Badges
Aid worker Pdc teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
Pri verified
Permaculture Design Certificate
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Tom Kendall
Location: Maungaraeeda, Kin Kin, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Date: Jun 2013
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Climate Zones
Gordon Claridge has permaculture experience in:
Sub tropical

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