Bill Mollison was born in 1928 in the small fishing village of Stanley, Tasmania, Australia. Bill Mollison left school at the age of 15 to help run the family bakery. He soon went to sea as a shark fisherman and seaman bringing vessels from post-war disposals to southern ports, and until 1954 filled a variety of jobs as a forester, mill-worker, trapper, snarer, tractor-driver and naturalist.
Bill joined the CSIRO (Wildlife Survey Section) in 1954 and for the next nine years worked in many remote locations in Australia as a biologist doing field work on rabbits, locusts, muttonbirds, and forest regeneration problems with marsupials. In 1963 he spent a year at the Tasmanian Museum in curatorial duties, then returned to field work with the Inland Fisheries Commission surveying the macrofauna of inland waters and estuaries, recording food chains and water conditions in all the rivers and lagoons of Tasmania.
Returning to studies in 1966, he lived on his wits running cattle, security bouncing at dances, shark fishing, and teaching part-time at an exclusive girls' school. Upon receiving his degree in bio-geography, he was appointed to the University of Tasmania where he later developed the unit of Environmental Psychology. During his university period (which lasted for 10 years), Bill independently researched and published a three-volume treatise on the history and genealogies of the descendants of the Tasmanian aborigines. In 1974, he with David Holmgren developed the beginning of the permaculture concept, leading to the publication of Permaculture One.
Since leaving the University in 1978, Bill has devoted all his energies to furthering the system of permaculture and spreading the idea and principles worldwide. He has taught thousands of students, and has contributed many articles, curricula, reports, and recommendations for farm projects, urban clusters and local government bodies. In 1981, Bill Mollison received the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes called the "Alternative Nobel Prize") for his work in environmental design. In recent years, he has established a "Trust in Aid" fund to enable permaculture teachers to reach groups in need, particularly in the poorer parts of the world, with the aim of leaving a core of teachers locally to continue appropriate educational work.
Bill Mollison is the founder the first and original Permaculture Institute, which was established in 1979 to teach the practical design of sustainable soil, water, plant, and legal and economic systems to students worldwide.
Bill currently lives in Sisters Beach, Tasmania