About Yeomans

“No artist or artisan ever has such broad control of the medium through which he expresses his own character and personality as does the farmer or grazier in the control he can exercise over his land. The landman can create his own landscape, but the artist gives only his impression of it …”

PA Yeomans

from Wikipedia

Percival Alfred Yeomans (1905 – 1984) was an Australian inventor known for the Keyline system for the development of land and increasing the fertility of that land. As a mining engineer and gold assayer, Yeomans had developed a keen sense of hydrology and equipment design. Upon his brother-in-law’s death in a grass fire, PA Yeomans assumed management of a large tract of land he later named Nevallan in New South Wales. Here he developed improved methods and equipment for cultivation. His designs won him The Prince Philip Design Award in 1974.

His Keyline principles or concepts (Keyline Design) have been adopted by farm owners in almost every country in the world. Yeomans’ Keyline concepts are now part of the curriculum of many sustainable agriculture courses in colleges and universities across the world. His ideas have also been a key factor in the development of permaculture design. P.A. Yeomans wrote four books; The Keyline Plan, The Challenge of Landscape, Water For Every Farm and The City Forest.


  1. Ian Chapman
    Posted 1 Apr ’13 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I just stumbled on this page after many years in the past studying and practicing the work of PA Yeomans. Great to see this project and I look forward to reading more on this site. I have to refer to one of my favourite quotes from PA that we used in a TAFE learning guide on Rural Property Planning.
    “Just as a picture needs a crayon sketch or a line drawing before the real colours are applied, so our farm work needs a planned simplicity of performance that will fix all the sections and pieces together in orderly and in coordinated design. Oils will not make this picture. It is a watercolour. And farm water will mix and spread the pigments of our picture, the delicate balance of many shades of green, the warmer tones of the improving soil dark with stored moisture.”

    PA was an artisan and a genius. Thanks for help keeping his work alive. Cheers.

    • Lucas Ihlein
      Posted 2 Oct ’13 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Ian, that’s a lovely quote. Do you know where PA wrote it?

      Where are you located? We’d love to hear more about your experiences studying and practicing Yeomans work.

  2. Ian Chapman
    Posted 8 Oct ’13 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Lucas,

    I just had a look at “The Challenge of Landscape” and I see we may have combined two paragraphs from Chapter one for this quote.

    I’m based at Wellington in NSW, but work in Orange and the Central West of NSW. Currently running a Land Planning unit based on PA’s Scale of Relative Permanence”


    Ian Chapman
    Head Teacher Agribusiness
    Primary Industries & Natural Resources

  3. Robert Yeomans
    Posted 16 Jan ’14 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    My grandfather was born in 1905 not 1904. He died in Nov. 1984 aged 79 not 80 !

  4. Robert Yeomans
    Posted 30 Jan ’14 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Where can I find the pictures and recorded interviews of the symposium held on Wednesday 22nd January, 2014?

    • Lucas Ihlein
      Posted 3 Feb ’14 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      hi Robert – for the moment, the audio recordings of the Yeomans Project AGNSW conversations are up here.

      I’ll upload photos from the events soon, and also transcripts of the conversations will come eventually.

  5. Roslyn Yeomans
    Posted 3 Feb ’14 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The properties ‘Yo Barnie’ was named as a combination of his & his first wife Rita Barnes surnames, ‘Nev Allan’ were his first 2 sons. The footage and everything is very interesting and well presented.

  6. Tais Louly Quinan
    Posted 24 Nov ’17 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    ood morning,

    My name is Tais,I’m braziliang and I read the book ” Water for every farm” .it was and still is a book that I use everyday to learn and to use my resources in a sustentable way.This book is like as a bible to me.
    So I would like to translate to portuguese in order to help a lot of farmers friends and also to include it in a program called “PROAGUA” which studies and teach how to save water and to how to use Yeomans technology to use in a sustainable development way.

    This program PROAGUA is a city program to teach and help the population how to improve in a sustantable way the resousces of the farms. PROAGUA is a very important program in our city,My city has a population of 400.000 people and we are in the middle of Brazil,(the city of Anápolis, in the state of Goias, very near the capital of Brazil, near Brasilia) a place that has a lot of water but at the time we are having some problens in using it and a lot of wasting.So the city goverment are working very hard to teach the best way to use water.

    I hope to get your help to translate the book, or if you can help me to find the responsible for the lincense to translate it.I would thank you very much.

    We need very much of your book, but in portuguese and I need to know how I can get license to translate it.

    Can you help me ?
    Tais Louly Quinan

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  • This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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