Permaculture Earthworks


Doc Spice The Earth Surgeon

The Bastard from the bush

Bill Mollison

David grew up on the Northern edge of the beautiful Snowy Mountains in Gilmore valley Tumut NSW

He led a quite self-reliant lifestyle working from a very young age in the family garden and tending the animals. David was only young when he started trapping rabbits with his father for meat and pelts, working a lot in forestry with his father as well distilling eucalyptus oil. David also spent a lot of time cutting fence post and mine props from the local forest forming part of his understanding of forestry management also with the local farm work, fencing and stock work that he was involved with as a child forming the skills to go with it. This helped with the family income and developed David’s work ethic.

This lead to David developing the varied set of skills it takes to live on the land lightly that he had learnt from an early age, instilling him with a great sense of practicality.


Life changed for David when he was 12 years old. His father had taken a job as a bulldozer driver for a civil earthworks company.  This meant the family travelled around allowing David to be exposed to heavy machinery and the different uses. Giving him a unique exposure to that field of work.

Droving cattle was David’s first job in 1988 with travelling over 500 km in 6 months with 800 cows and calves to manage 7 days a week on horseback. This gave him a unique insight into the holistic management for livestock.

Working in many different fields such as forestry/sawmills, building/construction, horticulture, civil earthworks, landscaping, contract fencing and the list goes on. Until David took his Permaculture Design Certificate course with Bill Mollison in the 1999

Leading him to the legendary Tagari farm in Northern NSW under the management of the permaculture research institute led by Geoff Lawton. He quickly became farm manager there due to his diverse skill set and knowledge of farm life.

One of David’s greatest honours in life was working, teaching and fishing with Bill Mollison at the Permaculture Institute (Tasmania). A strong friendship was cultivated with the legendary permaculture founder having a profound effect on him to pursue the development of common sense design.


Having taught and worked extensively within Australia and internationally on various projects, covering six states in Australia. Such as Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and New Caledonia covering a broad array of different climate zones. David is a valued member of the team headed up by Geoff Lawton.

He is a master of practical and logical mainframe permaculture design give his extensive experience to life and the cost involved to change a site. He has majored in the bones of the design water harvesting and storage earthworks which frames any real regenerative farm.


He has the distinction of being Registered Teacher #5 with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.


Permaculture Gold Coast

David has the rare ability to create the concept and to see the concept through to the physical reality.  He is an excellent educator with a wide range of experience.David has an incredible pragmatism that allows him to work in any environment and on any budget.  His years of experience include, working with the founders of Permaculture as a valued contributor to some of the flagship PC farms in Australia.

Tim Barker

Appropriate Technology instructor at Koanga Institute

Dave is the real deal, hardworking with an incredible practical skill set and great at inspiring and drawing out the best in people. If he has a vice it is in not rating himself highly enough. Set Dave on a task and forget it, it’s as good as done.


David has an incredible pedigree: his practical skills are superb (from construction to forestry to food systems and more) and he’s done a lot of work with some of the very best (Mollison, Lawton…). David is committed, shares his knowledge and is a great guy to work with.

September 26, 2012, Tom worked directly with David at Docspice Permaculture.




Teaching Earthworks
earth surgery toolkit
forestry coures
Surveying Contours
PDC Morocco
Level-sill spillway

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