Straw bale building workshop

The Straw Bale Building Workshop “Building Your Straw Bale Home” from foundations to the roof

I offer two different kinds of workshop:

1. Eight week theory of how to build a straw bale house
2. A practical hands-on weekend.

The theory workshops are all online and delivered through our sister site:
This contains much, much more information than I could fit into a weekend (or even four-day) workshop.

Straw Bale House Building Workshop

Practical Weekend Workshop

NEW! Saturday October 28th and Sunday October 29th 2017

Saturday March 24th and Sunday March 25th 2018



$550 per person –   ($50 discount to people already enrolled in the online course)

The feedback from course participants is that those that have completed the online course prior to doing the practical course go away from the course with a better understanding of the complete building process. I guess this is because they have already been exposed to the theory and have a base to hang the practical application onto. However, people doing just the practical course find it extremely helpful, and this is truly the only way to know if you are up to the task of building your own home.

The workshop will be held at our new straw bale property in Inglewood Victoria, which is about 40 minutes north of Bendigo. There is a good low cost Motel and caravan park about 10 minutes’ walk from the property. This is the project that I have been writing about in the Owner Builder Magazine so many people will be somewhat familiar with the project and its challenges. We commenced the build in June 2016, and completed the top coat of render on the inside just prior to Christmas 2016 and are now enjoy the comforts of this new home. Consequently you will have plenty of opportunity to have a good look at the finished product and ask lots of questions whilst you experience firsthand the peaceful ambiance that comes with a straw bale home.

We commence each morning at 9-00 am sharp with questions and answers for the first hour, which is appropriately followed by smoko. (Tea coffee & bikies provided). After smoko we head outside on the first day you will commence building a small straw bale load bearing building. You will assemble the bottom boxing to support the bales and then lay the bales in a manner that reduces the risk of the wall bowing when you compress it. You will learn how to fit the compression strapping and get plenty of opportunity to practice fitting the compression strapping to the straw bale wall, with particular emphasis on efficient installation of the high strength joining buckles. You will fit a window buck, fit the top boxing and compress the straw bales. You will insert electrical cables into the straw bale wall and make connection between the straw bale and internal timber framed walls. At the end of the straw bale laying section you will have been shown how to lay bales properly, but almost more importantly, how to fix stuff ups. Whilst this is a load bearing building I will clarify the difference between load bearing and our system of structural infill.

On the second day you will learn firsthand how to mix and apply the first coat of render to your straw bale building. This is a very tactile experience using just your hands to bond the render into the straw. We will talk about how straw has grain/direction much like the course hair of a Jack Russell dog, and how to get the render right up into the straw for a good bond. You will learn the difference between each of the coats of render and what they are designed to achieve, and have the opportunity to experience each of the processes first hand.

You will learn the secrets of how to hold a trowel, and when to trowel more and when to stop. You will have some failures and some wins when trowelling and that is the best way to learn. Failures in trowelling at the workshop are great as we have then exposed the challenges and overcome them before you get anywhere near your own walls.

The 2 day practical workshop will be a great hands on fun experience in a relaxed atmosphere where there is no such thing as a stupid question. Whilst this is strategically a practical course I will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible, however on occasions I will need to refer people to the online course which covers virtually all issues related to straw bale construction from the ground to the roof. In the past we have taken up to 21 people into a course, however I am now only taking 7 bookings for each course. This means more time for questions and guidance for the 7 attendees so that by the end of the course you will be well equipped to make the decision of how to move forward with your project.

For more information call
0428 246 868
or email me on



  1. Dear Brian,
    I have enjoyed reading your sensible, practical and well written thoughts on this type of housing!
    I am absolutely in love with the idea of it but need some practical experience before I start on my own land in QLD.
    I will keep watching your website but if you do have a mailing list for workshops, I would appreciate being on it.
    Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Tess

    Hi Brian, just wondering when the next 2 day practical workshop is scheduled for?


      Hi Tess,
      sorry for the delay in updating the website regarding the practical workshops. We have been without a straw bale home for a while since the sale of Ladys Pass so I have not felt that running a course on vacant land was appropriate. As you may have noticed from the Owner Builder Magazines we are now in the process of building our new straw bale home in Inglewood Victoria so I am happy to start doing courses again. Consequently we will be running a course on the weekend of November 5th 2016. I have decided to reduce the number of places in each course from 21 to 7 so that I can spend more time with everyone. I have also reduced the number of engineering, design and consulting jobs that I take on to 10 per year so to run big courses would make this difficult to fulfill. This gives me a bit more time to do things like Shelley’s working bee etc. and to fully support our clients throughout their project.

      Given the drastic reduction in places available, might I suggest that you book as soon as you have made the decision rather to wait and risk missing out on a place. I am often on site in Inglewood so it is best to phone me on 0428 246 868 if you want to clarify anything or book into the course rather than to email me as I am not able to get emails as easily when I am on site.



  3. Hayley

    Hi brain,
    I am enjoying navigating through your website.
    Question- will there be any more workshops scheduled for 2017?
    Disappointed to see I missed the Easter one.
    Many thanks,


      Hi Hayley,
      thanks for the question, which has prompted me to set the date. The next workshop will be on the weekend of October 28th & 29th. I only take 7 bookings to workshops these days so if you want to book in it would be a good idea to do it sooner rather than later, as the last workshop was booked out well in advance.



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