More Photos re Nalawala!

……”Seeing this building coming from a nation that has a history of killing local flora and fauna for their immediate needs with no thought for the future is very refreshing”

Aboriginal elder Aunty Norma Shelley

The truth window, displaying a portion of the 300 or so bales sourced from the Leeton area for the project.

(Smithfield MP Ninos Khoshaba, Liverpool MP Paul Lynch, Aunty Norma Shelley, Mayor Nick Lalich and Cr Del Bennett cut the ribbon.)

Some young chaps from James Busby High School play the didge at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

A view form above of the partially constructed straw bale building.

Internal walls, displaying the straw bale design.

A view of the final product…wonderful!

Navigating the New Web Site

We will continue to update this web site with any relevant straw bale building information that comes to hand. In order to get the best out of visiting our site use the drop downs on the left hand side of the page.  This will give you further areas to research e.g. under workshops you have the following areas to look at:



Straw Bale Workshop # 103

March 7th – 11th 2009


We are very happy to announce that we will be back in Tasmania again.  Our client has an exiting community hall to build using our latest methods of erecting walls and the use of render.

Plenty of theory, power point presentations and good discussion assured.

More details as soon as possible.

Sunrise in Tasmania

Huff ‘n’ Puff in the News!

With the help of Huff’n’Puff, Graham and her council team set about building the largest community-owned straw bale construction in the southern hemisphere. Named Nalawala, which means to “sit down”, the hall was officially opened in July with an exhibition of children’s art on calico bags.

“It’s one of the most holistic designs for such a small-scale building,” says Graham. “We’ve really looked at everything – energy, water and waste. The insulating factor of the strawbale is terrific so we were able to reduce the need for heating and cooling.”

The hall won Fairfield City Council an environmental award at the Local Government Sustainable Development Conference. And it was not just the walls that merited the honour.”

Not so today

Modern technology has changed natural harmony. As much as 10% of the total world economy is dedicated to the building and construction industry, to constructing, operating and equipping homes, offices and factories.

In terms of materials this economic activity uses even larger shares:

Strawbale Buddhist Meditation Centre at Whyalla

40% of the world’s wood, minerals, water and energy is used in the manufacturing and transportation of construction materials.
In terms of energy we find an alarming statistic:
45% of all the energy consumed in the world is consumed by the manufacture and transportation of building and construction materials.

This is almost more than all other uses combined, and clearly unsustainable.

World Watch Magazine, Vol.7 #6

Strawbale building can help to redress this energy imbalance in the building and construction industry. For example, it costs the environment:
6000 MegaJoules to manufacture 1 tonne of concrete; or
115 MegaJoules to produce 1 tonne of straw — and 1 tonne of straw goes further than 1 tonne of concrete.*
* Calculations performed by Richard Hoffmeister from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Scotsdale, Arizona.


Huff ‘n’ Puff Constructions run regular workshops in many regions of Australia. You can learn all the fundamentals of strawbale building by actually doing it. Please contact us, or fill in the online enrolment form to secure a place. (See the Home page for more contact details.)

Some comments from some of the strawbalers in the Easter workshop in Ganmain:

“Thank you. I have changed my mind five times in three days. So many ideas!” Sam and Steve from Parkes

“Brilliant! Now we can plan!” Herb and Jenny from Balmain and Canowindra

“I will definitely be building load-bearing strawbale with earthen render.” Tony from Preston Victoria

Our workshops feature discussion on and hands-on experience with:

strawbale wall systems: pre-stressed, load-bearing, bale in-fill and hybrid methods
bale characteristics: weight, size and modifying the bales; moisture, types of straw etc.
foundations: matching foundations to the building site and conditions
door and window openings: different methods
bale-wall finishes: plasters and rendering
electrical and plumbing: electrical wiring and plumbing requirements for strawbale building.
Typical agenda for a five-day workshop

Day 1
Load-bearing versus bale in-fill; low-cost footings and foundations; engineering details

Bottom and top plates; window and door framing; wall raising

Day 2
Wall systems; council requirements; Australian test results

Windows and door fitting; pre-compression


Power point slide straw bale building show.  Shows many straw bale buildings in Australia from chook sheds to wineries and of course homes of beauty.

Day 3
Design parameters for strawbale; roofing for strawbales; render theory: cement, lime and earth

Preparation for clay/chaff renders

4 & 5
Hands-on learning; render mixes: cement/lime/clay-chaff; clay/Ganmain chaff render application; lime putties/colour
Workshop fees

Our costs have not risen for five years of running workshops around Australia. We can keep the costs pegged for a short while, and your investment is still only $500 (includes GST) per person for three days, $550 (includes GST) per person for four days, or $605 (includes GST) per person for the full five days. This includes smoko, lunch and afternoon tea every day.

You will need to send a 50% deposit to confirm your registration (see the Home page for contact details). But please book early. Our workshops are very popular, and a booking with a deposit will take precedence over bookings without a deposit.

Our public liability insurance premiums have just doubled! So we are going to have look at raising our workshop fees at some stage sooner than later. This is unavoidable, and I am told we are lucky to get public liability insurance for this type of activity. We expect the rise to take place sometime in 2009.