Fryers Forest is an eco-village in a forest setting in central Victoria, Australia near Castlemaine. It features planning along Permaculture principles, including examples of solar passive houses and sustainable management of native bushland systems. This rural eco-village consists of 11 residential titles (1 acre each) clustered within 300 acres (120 ha) of common native forest.
It is currently the home for 27 villagers (17 adults and 15 children). The amenities include a small community orchard, three artificial lakes stocked with fish and a community house in the making.
David Holmgren's design and development of the settlement is perhaps his most significant test of his Permaculture principles. Central features of the village design are, the integration of domestic forestry with selective thinning for fire-safety (the harvested wood provides fuel for domestic wood stoves), the integration of the Keyline design system of water storage, and transfer with the village road network and residential home site location. The water keyline storage system is the main design instrument for the regeneration of a landscape degraded by over 50 years of gold mining.
Despite the claims that permaculture provides sustainable solutions, there is currently no data available on the sustainability of the Fryers Forest settlement.
History of the Area
The 1857 census collector described some of the mining settlements along Fryers Creek (where gold had been discovered in late 1851) generally as Fryers Forest. At the time its official population was 800, but did not include several hundred male Chinese diggers.
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