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Farewell Carolyn… and thanks…

Farewell Carolyn… and thanks…

Story and photos by Russ Grayson, April 2023

Friend, colleague, author, and teacher. The sad news has just arrived that Carolyn Nuttall has left us.

It is some time now since Fiona and I last visited Carolyn. In the time since I have thought of her from time to time. She was such an easy-going and smart woman who went about her permaculture work and her life with an enviable ease.

Keynote speaker on school gardens

Carolyn was a regular keynote speaker on school gardens at the early annual Community and School Garden gatherings.

Carolyn Nuttall will share her experience of teaching a whole curriculum from the garden, and her personal journey from classroom teacher to school garden and Learnscape author and consultant.

Learning in the Garden keynote, 4-5 March 2006, Adelaide

Allow me a few remembrances of Carolyn:

  • the incredible coincidence of running into her in bookshops in a couple different cities
  • her putting us up in her spare room when Fiona and I were in Brisbane
  • her traditional Queenslander house of weatherboard and galvanised iron roof, raised high above her backyard with its banana and pawpaw trees, on tall poles and her neat vegetable garden at street level in the front yard
  • staying in the little shack in her backyard, the big tree casting a welcome shade over the outdoor table in the Brisbane heat
  • the ritual of sitting out on the verandah with her on those lazy Brisbane afternoons, glass of wine in hand as we gazed absentmindedly over the galvanised iron roofs of Highgate Hill towards the buildings of the city not all that far away.
Past the banana trees, beyond the pawpaws… the path to Carolyn’s shack in her back garden. The Brisbane city skyline in the distance.
Carolyn’s front garden was a neat and compact arrangement of vegetables and herbs.

A True Permaculture Pioneer

Carolyn’s books were valued by permaculture educators. She pioneered the use of food gardens and permaculture in schools while a teacher at a Brisbane primary in the 1990s. Here she created a school food garden and made use of it as an outdoor classroom. Out of that came her books:

  • A Children’s’ Food Forest
  • Outdoor Classrooms: A Handbook for School Gardens (with Janet Millington)
  • The Food Forest Resource Guide.
Carolyn’s school garden education resources

Carolyn was a true permaculture pioneer.

I wish, Carolyn, that we could have visited you in more recent times. You are still here, though, as a friend and colleague in memory.

So, thanks, Carolyn, for your friendship and your contribution. It is a privilege to have known you.

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