This site is for people who would
like to learn about the self sufficiency, sustainable living, wilderness
survival skills and other ways of living that people knew in ancient times — before we became dependent on modern fossil-fuel-based technology. That includes myself,
i.e. I am learning this as I go, and writing it up on the site
as I get around to it.
The What's New? page shows more details of updates to
HOT:This Permaculture survival video by Geoff Lawton is one of the best, most hopeful, and most inspiring things I've seen on the internet. I'm not the only one who thinks this either, e.g. from the YouTube comments, "This is probably the most moving and astounding video I have ever seen. Love it." Just watch it!
If you'd like to see more from Geoff Lawton, you can sign up here for free at Geoff's website to watch more videos (and other material) explaining these concepts in much further detail.
NEW: Also there's an Online Permaculture Design Course available, which will teach you how to do the kinds of things in the video above, with recorded video lectures by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. Click here to read more.
Popular pages on Survival.ark.au
Bush Tucker Plant Foods Section
This section of the website shows some bush tucker plant foods that can be found in the Sydney and Blue Mountains and other regions of Australia.Never eat any part of any wild growing plant unless you are absolutely certain you can identify it.
This section shows some edible weeds. Most of these "weeds" are introduced species, rather than natives of Australia. They grow in and around developed areas, rather than on undisturbed bushland like the traditional “bush tucker” foods.
Australian Birds - Sydney and Blue Mountains Bird Species
This page shows some birds from Sydney and the Blue Mountains and other regions of Australia. The birds are listed in order of size, from smallest to largest. This ordering is more useful for identification than the order they are usually found.
This page describes some of the types of radio that can be used for survival purposes. Radio would allow long-distance communication following a disaster, war, economic collapse, and/or if lost in a remote area.
In many bookshops you are presented with hundreds of books and not much idea which one(s) to get. So here I have described the books that I've used to learn from myself, and that are the most popular and the most recommended.
This pageshows some Australian bush tucker survival foods that are found in the Mitchell Park (Cattai) region of sydney. This regoin is typical of much of the Sydney region and much of Southeast Australia.
Test out your skill at identifying Australian wild-growing plant foods. There are both native "bush tucker" and introduced "edible weed" plants in the quiz currently. In a later version you'll be able to choose to do either of those, or both.
The Australian Continent provides plentiful animal and plant foods.The traditional bush tucker diet provided all the energy and nutrients needed for excellent physical development, superb strength and stamina and overall good health.
Test out your skill at identifying Australian birds. The questions are generated randomly from website data.
This is the second of many quiz pages on survival.ark.au. This one has a lot more images than the spider quiz...
How to Find Water (Finding Water in the Wilderness)
Just as there is the problem of finding food in the bush, so too is there the problem of finding water, and many explorers and backwoodsmen died because they did not know how or where to look for water in apparently dry and arid regions.
Learning to track is not only a useful wilderness living skill, and a way to learn a lot more about nature and the wilderness — but it is also a great way to slow down, and adopt more of a "wildernes mind".
The easiest way to make fire by friction (that is, by "rubbing two sticks together"), if you don't have any cordage, is the bow drill fire. The easiest way to get started is to buy a pre-made kit, which is what I did.
Permaculture, Self Sufficiency And Sustainable Living Books
This page will contain mostly Australian books, and some international books. The Australian books are mostly still relevant in other countries though. Permaculture was invented in Australia so many of the classic (and best) permaculture books are Australian.
This page describes some of the things you can do to survive a nuclear war, or other attack by nuclear weapons. "A Family Emergency Action Plan will do more to save lives than almost any activity carried out by the government."
Survival Essentials: How To Survive In The Wilderness
This page is about how to survive in the wilderness for a short period of time — such as might happen if you got lost on a bushwalking or camping trip. It also covers the most basic and important skills to learn for anyone just getting started.
This page shows a collection books to survive a collapse of modern society. Of course there are a lot more books you could get. I've selected the best ones I've found so far in a few essential categories that would fit on a single shelf.
The easiest way to make fire by friction (that is, by "rubbing two sticks together") is the bow drill fire. For beginners, I'd recommend starting here. The easiest way to get started is to buy a pre-made kit, which is what I did.
The aim of this page is to show that it can be extremely easy to start a vegetable garden. The important thing is to get started growing stuff, without worrying too much about getting it exactly right. You will learn a lot from just getting in and doing it.
15-part YouTube Video series on showing how to make a bow drill fire. Shows two different setups, one made from locally found native Australian materials. If you are new to bow drill firemaking, watch the last two videos on the page first.
Make an Instant Tracking Box to Learn Animal Tracking
This page shows how to set up a very quick, cheap, and easy tracking box, which you can use to learn a huge amount about animal tracking. See the tracks left by animals you may not even know visit your backyard regularly at night...
Test out your skill at identifying Australian spiders. The questions are generated randomly from website data.
This is the first of many quiz pages on survival.ark.au. Some will be a lot easier than others...
Nuclear War Survival - Part 2 - How To Survive a Nuclear War
Since the original Nuclear War Survival page was already plenty long enough, I've added some new information on this second nuclear war survival page. This page describes some of the things you can do to survive a nuclear war.
Survival (and Other) Books About the COVID-19 Coronavirus
This page shows a collection of books about the COVID-19 coronavirus. Most of them are quite new (since the pandemic is itself new) and have been published in the last few months, or more recently than that even.
New Australian frogs page with five frogs so far. Also 4 new reptiles. I'll add more frogs soon, and add to and improve the data as I learn more about the frogs (and the other animals I'm learning about and putting up on the website).
You don't often see spiders faces, which adds to our fear of them. This is a new section still partly under construction. There are 25 spiders so far, and more on the way, with information still being added.
Long distance running is perhaps the original and the most natural human sport. This page calculates a table of gradually increasing training distances. It loads with a schedule for the next City to Surf.
Five new mammals found in Australia (though two are introduced). The koala, the common wombat, the southern hairy-nosed wombat, the red fox, and the black rat. Soon I'll be adding more mammals, and more details e.g. their tracks.
This page shows some fish that can be found in Australia and in coastal waters around Australia. This section of the site is quite new and I will add more animals as I get around to it, and more information about the fish that are there already.
Your secret spot is somewhere you can sit alone in nature and just be. It's a proven way to awaken your connection to nature. It's much more useful than it seems like it would be at first. Try it here...
Ancient people were very familiar with the moon, knowing its phases and where it would be in the sky at different times. You can learn the phases of the moon too, by looking at the moon every night (or nearly every night) for a month.
An EMP is much more likely than you probably realise. James Woolsey, who served as CIA director under President Clinton, agrees that an EMP attack is “the most significant threat” to the U.S. and its allies in the world...
One thing I have always loved is to spend time outdoors, in unspoiled,
natural settings. This came quite naturally to me as a child. My
childhood home backed onto bushland and a large amount
of my time was spent exploring this green world. Almost every rock
and every tree had a name or some kind of significance.
Even when removed from fast paced environments, very
few of us are able to slow down enough to appreciate the full splendour
of nature.... Yet that connection can be reestablished—in large
part simply by awakening and nourishing our innate awareness. With
a few simple skills and some dedicated practice, any person can open
his or her senses to the full richness of nature, regardless of what
he or she seeks there. Tom Brown Jr, Tom Brown's Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking.
The idea I have adopted for myself, as a path to learning
self sufficiency, sustainable living, and wilderness survival skills, is
to isolate a small enough number of core topics that I can feel
proficient in them, after
practiced them myself. The skills I have chosen are in four
categories: Plant food, animal food, fire, and cordage. I
have left out water, since in the area where I live it's easy to find water. I have
left out shelter, since I think it would be possible to make some
without a lot of knowledge. I think I could figure out the essentials
of shelter if I really needed to, and more than that can be learned
The site will start off very small, and simple, and I will add content
to it as I go. Photographs of how to perform the techniques will
be included as I get around to it.
Why This Site?
There is a wide variety of (mostly non-Australian) sustainable
living, self-sufficiency, and wilderness survival material existing
on the web already. I am not
reproduce what is already available, but rather
provide a record of my own development that could be used as an
introduction to the techniques.
I feel that much of what is already
experienced in wilderness survival, tracking, nature observation,
awareness, and/or self-sufficiency. Or, is written for beginners,
but does not include enough details for
little or no
able to follow easily. Or, it is written by North Americans and
featuring North American plants and animals, which are mostly
from what we have here in Australia.