Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Dry Stone Walling

What are dry stone walls?

Dry stone walls are built without mortar and rely solely on the forces of gravity and friction for their strength. Where once these structures were used as a means of survival, for shelter to contain livestock, they are now being used in gardens as retaining and feature walls and indeed more contemporaneously as sculptural artworks in public open spaces.

Learning the craft

Geoff Duggan, Landscape Planning Manager at the Australian Botanic Garden, began building dry stone walls in 1991. In 1995 Geoff was awarded the Friends of The Gardens Horticultural Scholarship to study the craft with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain.

Geoff has returned to Britain twice since 1995 and undergone a series of progressive, practical tests leading to the Master Craftsman Certificate in dry stone walling. As a Master Craftsman, Geoff is pushing the boundaries of his craft to new limits. He has created sculptural artworks and sees a future for the craft in public places. Over 1000 people have acquired some basic skills of their own developing over 1000 metres of dry stone walls.

You can see some of Geoff’s work at the Australian Botanic Garden.  The Garden’s impressive entry gates are set in an ornate dry stone wall. There is also a sculpture titled ‘Door to the Sun’ on the Education Lawn, and dry stone walling retaining walls in the Banksia Theme Garden.


Geoff conducts weekend public workshops in dry stone walling at the Australian Botanic Garden. This training is based on traditional techniques and principles developed over many hundreds of years.

To find out what courses we are running in 2015 go to our What's on pages.

>> Download Dry Stone Walling Application form.

A Door to the Sun
'Door to the sun' (1.5 x 2 m) at the Australian Botanic Garden. Installed as part of the ‘Stone upon a stone’ dry stone walling exhibition.

Dry stone walling

Dry stone walling Course
Participants in a dry stone walling course.

Opera house gate
Course at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

The knot
The Knot, Australian Botanic Garden