Melliodora: Ten Years of Sustainable Living
Melliodora Book - The Natural EnvironmentMelliodora Book - West elevation of houseMelliodora Book - Landscape Plan

Melliodora: Ten Years of Sustainable Living

4 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)


The original large landscape format book (A3) in sepia tones on high quality paper and card cover that is a pleasure to study and browse. An important historical snapshot of ‘Melliodora’ (1985-1995) the best known permaculture demonstration site in Australia.

Available on it’s own or in combination with the updated eBook (1985-2005) in PDF format as a download or on CD. Limited stock available.

SKU: MEL01BK Category: Tags: , , ,

Product Description

Throughout the first 10 years of the ‘Melliodora’ project (1985-1995), David Holmgren kept detailed records and photos, which have been collated into this very unusual 80 page book. It has A3 size landscape pages, so at a single opening it covers your desk! Each spread has a theme – such as house design, orchard, or animals with maps, plans photos and text.

The book was written inside the property it is describing – it’s a kind of autobiography. It was written over a five year period, and with property “established” the text was revised with the benefits of hindsight. It is ideal for anyone seriously interested in sustainable living – both at a practical level and with a good dose of Holmgren holistic thinking.

The meticulous detail allows the reader to trace the development of the property from the purchase of a steep weed-infested site, through the early stages of blackberry slashing, dam construction and tree planting to the “finished” product of family home, office, workshop, greenhouse, and integrated living systems with perennial plants and a range of animals fulfilling many functions.

Hepburn is in central Victoria, 470 metres above sea level, in the Great Dividing Range, north of Melbourne. It is an arboretum for cool climate Permaculture and the book has an extensive species list (over 170 listings). Twenty years on from the first draft of “Permaculture One”, this book shows that Permaculture works….”

The updated eBook

The eBook includes all the original book text Melliodora: Ten Years of Sustainable Living (1985-1995), along with high resolution zoomable graphics and full colour high resolution versions of the photos as well as linkable new photos of key views showing the changes and growth over the following decade (1995-2005). Available here.

Built in navigation bar, jump buttons and text links allow you to cross reference, move around the eBook and get back to where you were.


The eBook works best with Adobe Reader 5 or 7 (a free download available from and contains HTML content that will open up in your web browser. The software should run well on Mac OS 9.1+, Windows 95+ and Linux based systems.

Features and additional content includes:

• 150+ pages of zoom-able plans, graphic diagrams, photos and text
• House thermal performance upgrade and review
• Grid feedback photovoltaic installation and performance
• Cool cupboard review and design
• Animals update including goats and soil management
• Seasonal cycle photos

Demo available here (7.7MB pdf)

The download version of this eBook is around 95MB, compressed into a ZIP archive (.zip) and may take several attempts to download successfully if you have a satellite or mobile internet connection – dial-up connections are not recommended.

Additional Information

Weight .840 kg
Dimensions 425 x 297 x 7 mm

1 review for Melliodora: Ten Years of Sustainable Living

  1. 4 out of 5


    A site report from a master designer
    By T. Hemenway on July 12, 2005

    David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept, has made a valuable contribution to ecological design by documenting the planning and construction of his 1 hectare homestead in Victoria, Australia. This large-format book details his site analysis using zone-and-sector and other permaculture tools, land use history, microclimate and soil types, and other criteria that guided his home-site selection, planting strategies, water systems, and passive-solar design.

    Idealists may quibble with Holmgren’s decisions to use nearby grid power (off-grid systems being far more expensive), small engines (indispensible to all farmers), and a farm truck (the only vehicle shown in the book), but these choices point to the real value of the work: what happens when sustainable design is attempted in the real world. Holmgren is honest about where he compromised and where he held fast. What distinguishes his efforts from a typical back-to-the-land farm is the use of sophisticated design tools that reduce energy use, conserve soil and water, emphasize perennial species and natural materials, and apply patterning tools to the overall design. One look at the design and implementation and it will be obvious that permaculture design offers a far better toolkit than conventional methods.

    A fine field report from a master designer. I wish there were more such site reports from ecological designers.

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