It was at the permaculture day and Permaculture Australia annual meeting in Nimbin, Northern NSW last May that permaculture educator and Permaculture Australia board member, Robyn Francis, raised the idea of republishing Bill Mollison’s writing in the pages of Permaculture International Journal. I had thought of doing this before but had done nothing about it. Robyn’s mention of the idea was the motivation I needed to get going.
Bill Mollison at Australasian Permaculture Convergence 9 in Sydney, NSW, 2009. Photo: ©Russ Grayson, Sydney, 2009.
The rationale is simple. Permaculture International Journal, PIJ as it was commonly known, was published between 1978 and 2000. Bill Mollison, one of the co-inventors of the permaculture design system with David Holmgren, wrote for the print magazine. But with the publication gone this past 18 years his writing, like that of the many who published in the pages of PIJ, is lost. Bill’s words exist only on the yellowing pages of editions kept by long-time permaculture practitioners.
The long tail of online articles
Unlike print magazines, online publishing keeps the long tail of past articles alive and makes them more accessible than they were in print. So it was that on returning from that Nimbin meeting I set about scanning the pages of the PIJs I have, a far from complete set I should point out, with an app on my iPad. This converted the image of text-on-page into editable text-on-screen. Far from perfect in its conversion, there remained much editing to do.
It was the same with the photographs in PIJ. These were half-tones, a format that used ink dot size and density to delineate lighter and darker areas in black and white images on the printed page. Photographed, the pictures on the screen appear grainy. It was better to have imperfect images rather than none at all.
A contribution to global permaculture practice
Bill did not write for every edition of PIJ. He kept a busy schedule, travelling within Australia as well as internationally to consult on permaculture design solutions, teach permaculture and developing, first, the Tagari community project in Tasmania, then the Permaculture Institute in the subtropical Tweed Valley of Northern NSW. Later, he relocated to Tasmania’s Bass strait coast near Sisters Creek, not far from where he began his varied and inspirational life.
We decided to call the republished articles The Lost Stories to signify their disappearance from the everyday world of permaculture design and, now, their resurrection.
Permaculture Australia believes the republishing of the collected articles of Bill Mollison to be a contribution to what has grown to be a global permaculture movement.
We also offer them on this, a year after Bill’s passing, as a way of remembering Bill and the continuing contribution he has made to creating the potential for a world of abundance and opportunity.
Thanks again Bill.
Russ Grayson, Sydney. September 2017.