Field Days and Presentations

Aromatica Conference 2019

1 – 5 NOVEMBER GOLD COAST, Qld Australia

Aromatica Australia Logo
Aromatica Conference 2019

Andrew Pengelly will speak on “Australian essential oils and plant medicines for treatment of resistant infections, with proven and novel combinations”.

Kathleen Bennett will speak on ” The myth and the magic of clinical trials”

For further details:

Woodford Folk Festival


 Dr Andrew has had a 40 year career as an herbal practitioner and naturopath, university lecturer, researcher, field botanist and aromatherapist. He is focused on the distillation of essential oils from the bush, teaching the skills of distillation and combining herbs with essential oils for clinical applications


Using a 40L copper alembic still and a selection of our native plants, Andrew brings to life the ancient craft of distillation.

Fri, Dec 2712:15PMBlue Lotus


The overuse of antibiotics in society has led to the emergence of resistant infections such as MRSA, however various native plants and essential oils have demonstrated activity against such infections.

Sun, Dec 291:45PMBlue Lotus


Heal your skin, repel insects and aid respiratory congestion with these home-made topical applications.

Wed, Jan 0112:15PMBlue Lotus


 SpeakersIdeas |A clinical herbalist, writer, researcher, botanist and lecturer, Kathleen enjoys sharing herbal and plant information with her audiences. In 1959, Kathleen discovered the edible and medicinal field guides of Euell Gibbons which has sparked 50 years of discovery.


Learn how to balance plant actions with your energies and create herbal tea blends tailored to you and your family. Kathleen covers everything from formulation techniques to making teabags.

Sat, Dec 2812:15PMBlue Lotus


The mushroom has been responsible for the advent of penicillin, cholesterol-lowering statins and cancer treatments.

Tue, Dec 3110:30AMBlue Lotus


Bushlands Field School - Social Promo

Held on  January 29th, 30th & 31st check out 10am 1st Feb 2019

For full details click here:

Bushlands Herbal Field School summer 2019


 Report, Tasmanian Field School

Held on 1st-2nd December 2018


Pelverata Community Hall, in the picturesque Huon Valley

The first Tasmanian Field School was held in conjunction with Angie Alexander, previously Angie Rivers – herbalist from the Central Coast of NSW – now practising at Ametrine Holistic Medicine in Huonville.

Angie had just purchased a 30L copper alembic still, which despite some initial technical difficulties, was the centre of attention for most of the weekend activities. Angie’s handyman husband, Des, turned out to be the perfect backup man and trouble-shooter, helping to ensure the distillations ran smoothly when not in the field collecting leaves for the next session.

Twenty-three attendees from all around Tasmania was an ideal group that included naturopaths, aromatherapists, herbalists and those with a general interest in plant medicine. The design of the hall allowed for a combination of indoor classes and activities (welcome as we experienced some rather cold weather) along with ample undercover space outside for the distillations.

tasmania field school alembic

For the first distillation we used leaves from the Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), several tall specimens of which grow along the boundary of Angie and Des’s property. This species is one of the dominant trees in this part of Tasmania, and it can be readily recognized by the distinctive oversize capsules and extra long leaves. For details on this and other Tasmania Eucalypt species, I highly recommend EucaFlip, a glossy foldup chart by Wiltshire and Potts (2007) – see example below.

e.globulus1 002

From EucaFlip, Wiltshire & Potts, 2007.

Given that this species is responsible for most of the world’s production of Eucalyptus oil, it is familiar to most Tasmanians, however, attendees were impressed with yield, aroma and colour of the oil we produced, and were delighted to accept a share of the hydrosol.

In the afternoon we set up a second distillation, this time of Kunzea ambigua. The leaves were harvested from specimens cultivated at an obliging native plant nursery near Mt. Wellington. Although Kunzea oil is produced almost entirely in Tasmania,  the natural distribution is mainly localised in the north of the island, as well as in coastal Victoria and NSW. 

Between distillations we held an indoor class and an outdoor plant walk. We were all impressed by two highly perfumed shrubs in cultivation at the front of the hall,  Diosma (a South African species of the Rutaceae family) and the more local Melaleuca hypericifolia or bracelet honey myrtle, with broad red-coloured bottlebrushes appearing low down on the branches. Later in the day we held a hands-on workshop – students divided into groups and preparing a selection of oil blends, salves, and other products from ingredients and equipment provided.

With rain and colder weather predicted for Sunday, we decided on holding another distillation session along with a shortened field trip. One of the most prolific flowering trees in the area at the time was Leptospermum lanigerum or woolly tea tree, and given the sweet aroma we chose it for the final distillation. While the amount of oil retrieved was quite small, it did produce some pleasant hydrosol. At the time of writing this, I am awaiting results of the chemical analysis with great interest.

leptospermum lanigerum2
Leptospermum lanigerum – woolly tea tree

The other feature of the day was Kathleen Bennett’s lichen presentation, this really captured the attention of the audience – most of whom had little knowledge of lichen identification or lichen dyes. One of the eye-catching images presented was of  Cladonia, a common terrestrial lichen known as the devil’s matchsticks in Australia, and British soldiers in North America and Great Britain.


The weather did remain clear enough for a plant medicine walk at Angie and Des’s property nearby. An interesting mixture of native and exotic medicinal plants were sighted, including three species of Salix (willow bark). Another  spectacular flowering species seen on the walk and throughout the valley was the musk daisy bush, Olearia argophylla . I’m afraid I know of no medicinal uses for this one, some plants are simply there for our appreciation. 

musk daisy
Olearia argophylla – musk daisy bush – adorns the Pelverata Valley

Finally, many thanks to Angie for organizing the event, Angie and Des for sharing their home with Kat and me for five days, and to all of the attendees. We received so much good feedback and offers for visits, it does look like becoming an annual event. We now know the meaning of “southern hospitality”.

We did manage to fit in a couple of extra days at the Lake Pedder Lodge before heading back to the mainland, apart from it being cold and wet it was a most enjoyable retreat.

lake pedder
View from Lake Pedder Lodge


Hunter Valley Aromatic Herbal Field School 2017

Field school program

Rothbury vegetation survey

Field-school-kitchen medicine recipes

4 thoughts on “Field Days and Presentations

  1. Thank you Andrew for an informative, packed workshop today. Kathleen thankyou for your delicious morning tea with so many interesting, specially made delights.
    Kathy Stewart


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