Courses

stone of arc courses

Stone of Arc actively promotes traditional techniques, providing a rare opportunity for people in the Oceania and Asia regions to learn the dry stone construction methods developed over several millennia across the northern hemisphere. A full range of courses are offered to satisfy everyone from hobbyist to guru. 

 

Our Training Centre 

Set on farmland in the foothills of Mount Arthur near Wellington NSW and including a covered training area, Stone of Arc’s purpose built dry stone training centre is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Our training structures are all built to Dry Stone Wall Association (DSWA UK) test standards comprising of different types of stone and incorporating all the styles and features required to advance from beginner through to expert.

Easily accessible, the picturesque country setting also offers great walking, kayaking, golfing and biking opportunities for those with boundless energy. With a range of rustic onsite accommodation from family to double rooms and onsite camping (all with shared bathroom), and numerous options available in and around Wellington there is plenty to enjoy in the local area whilst developing your new skills. 

To ensure the highest standards are met all courses are limited to 10 people, training is delivered by certified DSWA Instructors, and all levels of training align with DSWA structural principles. For those wishing to pursue accreditation, examinations will be conducted by accredited DSWA Examiners.

 

Our Courses

For most people taking an Introductory course is the best place to start. Even those with some experience may benefit from revisiting the fundamental principles. 

Courses provide participants with a clear understanding of the theory and principles of dry stone work, specific techniques, and a metre each of wall to build.  

All courses are run over 2 days unless otherwise stated. For participants' benefit, regular courses are limited to 10 people and demand driven courses are limited to 8. 

A reasonable level of experience or completion of an Introductory course is a prerequisite for further courses and practice events. 

Stone of Arc provides the following for all course types:

  • - An appropriately qualified instructor with groups limited to 10 people 
  • - Tools, safety glasses, and sun protection 
  • - Lunch, refreshments, and reusable water bottle
  • - Alfresco pizza night with your walling chums
  • - Discounted bed and breakfast options
  • - A certificate of completion 
  • - Course information booklet
  • - Access to ongoing project support

Participants are required to bring:

  • - Hat, gloves and strong footwear (preferably steel toed)
  • - The desire to get dirty, learn and create!

 

Use the links below to skip to a certain course or if you're just browsing, feel free to scroll away.

Regular Courses

Demand Driven Courses

Accreditation Courses

Regular Courses - $495*

*Concession information: People with limited funds can register for last minute deals at reduced prices by contacting us with their details.

An Introduction to Dry Stone Walling

Our Introductory courses provide participants with enough knowledge and experience to be able to accurately identify traditional walling methods, commence a basic private project, and pursue further learning.   

  • - Dry Stone: A brief history and contemporary uses 
  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Stripping out and Stone selection
  • - Basic stone shaping techniques 
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound Wall

Cheekend Construction and Advanced Stone Shaping 

All walls need to start and end somewhere so understanding the fundamentals and significance of a cheekend (or wall head) is vital to any construction you might aspire to create. Though stone selection is key, almost all dry stone work requires some stone shaping, and while all courses cover basic techniques, this course includes a greater focus on more advanced stone shaping methods and improved placement. 

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Advanced stone shaping techniques: Stone tools, Shaping, Splitting 
  • - Stone selection
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound Cheekend

Crafting a Curve

Building on previously attained skills, this course focuses on the fundamentals of constructing a curve. With a good grasp of basic walling and shaping principles you will develop your abilities to select the correct stone and achieve tight joints, a smooth curve, and a consistent batter.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Stone selection
  • - Stone shaping requirements and techniques
  • - Working by eye 
  • - Practical completion of a beautifully curved feature

Building a Retaining Wall

This course focuses on the fundamentals of constructing a retaining wall. Retaining walls are built in a way that enables them to hold back earth and rock. You will develop your skills in selecting the correct base and batter, using extended through stones and packing back to the earth face.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Earth bank preparation
  • - Base and batter selection
  • - Stone selection
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound Retaining wall

Demand Driven Courses - $550*

*Concession information: People with limited funds can register for last minute deals at reduced prices by contacting us with their details.

A Women’s Introduction to Dry Stone Walling 

In addition to all the elements of the standard Introduction to Dry Stone Walling course, this option covers specific tips for women in a supportive and exclusively female environment. 

Register your interest

Corner Construction

This course focuses on the fundamentals of constructing a square corner. You will develop your skills in accurately selecting and placing stones to tie both sections of wall together with an even inner and outer batter.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Tying stones with correct batter
  • - Stone selection
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound square Corner

Register your interest

Lunky Construction

This course introduces the use of lintels in dry stone features and provides ideal preparation for those intending to move through the qualification process. Typically used as a stock control feature (enabling sheep to pass where cattle can’t) lunky’s can also be used to straddle waterways or other obstacles.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Incorporating lintels 
  • - Stone selection
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound Lunky

Register your interest

Building on a Slope

Building walls or features on sloping ground requires an increased level of skill, whether you are maintaining a level or a height. This course focuses on appropriately stepped foundations, equidistant placement of through stones, horizontal coursing and self-supporting placement of cope stones.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Stepping foundations, maintaining the level, and incorporating mid-wall cheekends
  • - Stone selection and through placement
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound wall on sloping ground

Register your interest

Building a Stile

This course allows participants to learn and practice the construction techniques of both a Step-stile and Squeeze-stile. Developed to allow human traffic across a walled area both stiles require advanced skills in terms of incorporating throughs and lintels, achieving tight joints and strong ties, maintaining an accurate batter and good use of copes. 

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Incorporating steps and anchor stones
  • - Stone selection and alternative batters
  • - Practical completion of structurally sound Step and Squeeze stiles

Register your interest

Building a keystone Arch 

This course introduces the use of a former. You will learn how to create and set up a former, how to build over it, and remove it. You will also focus on the selection, shaping and fitting of keystones and how they are integrated into the overall structure.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Working with formers
  • - Stone selection and the integration of keystones
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound keystone Arch

Register your interest

Building a Pillar 

Pillars are an attractive addition to a wall head or gateway. This course focuses on the integration of quoins and methods to maintain a vertically accurate and stable structure. 

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Profile techniques 
  • - Stone selection and the integration of quoins 
  • - Practical completion of a structurally sound Pillar

Register your interest

Random and Vertical Walling Techniques

Here we have an opportunity to move away from standard coursed horizontal walls and apply the same fundamental principles to random stone placement and vertical stone placement.

  • - The fundamental principles and applied construction techniques 
  • - Safety, Set up, and Tool use 
  • - Applying the principles to random stone placement 
  • - Applying the principles to vertical stone placement
  • - Stone selection and shaping requirements 
  • - Practical completion of structurally sound Random and Vertical walls

Register your interest

Accreditation Courses and Test events – Contact us for prices

For those who aspire to become a qualified or professional waller, or to have their existing skills and experience formally recognised we offer a range of test specific features and 4-day test preparation courses for all four levels of the Craftsman Certification scheme. Where demand exists a Test event will take place on the 5th day. Applications for tests must be submitted 6 weeks prior to a Test event. Register your interest or call us for a discussion.

In addition to the numerous courses we provide covering structures pertinent to the certification scheme, these courses offer a detailed insight into the standards required by the DSWA UK. We also look at ways to improve your speed and efficiency for the timed test elements and offer significant pre-test practice opportunities to prepare you for success. 

 

DSWA Craftsman Certification Scheme courses

Initial – Level 1 Certificate

In the presence of the Examiner/s, candidates are required to strip down and rebuild a straight-forward free-standing 2.5 square metre section of wall within a single 7 hour period.

The standard required places emphasis on a sound and solid construction rather than on a quality finish. Candidates must obtain the minimum mark in each section and an overall pass mark of at least 50 in order to gain certification.

 

Process Maximum mark Minimum mark
Stripping out  10 5
Laying foundations 24 12
Building/Packing 1st lift 20 10
Placing through stones 6 3
Building/Packing 2nd lift 20 10
Copestones and finish 15 7.5
Approach to safety  5 2.5
Minimum total marks required to pass 50

Register your interest

Intermediate – Level 2 Certificate (Professional) 

In the presence of the Examiner/s, candidates are required to strip down and rebuild a 2.5 square metre section of wall not less than 1 metre in height below the copestones and incorporating a vertical cheekend within a single 7 hour period.

In addition to the standards required for level 1 certification emphasis is placed on; line and straightness, adequate hearting, selection of stones for all parts, batter, accurate laying of through stones and secureness of copestones. Candidates must obtain the minimum mark in each section and an overall pass mark of at least 69 in order to gain certification.

 

Process Maximum mark Minimum mark
Stripping out  5 2.5
Laying foundations 10 5
Building/Packing 1st lift 12 6
Placing through stones 6 3
Building/Packing 2nd lift 12 6
Line and straightness  10 5
Batter 15 7.5
Copestones and finish 10 5
Cheekend 30 15
Approach to safety  5 2.5
Minimum total marks required to pass 69

Register your interest

Advanced – Level 3 Certificate

This certificate has two parts which must be conducted separately and in order. Candidates must hold the Intermediate Level 2 certificate before applying for this certificate. Candidates must obtain the minimum mark in each section and an overall pass mark of at least 87 in order to gain the full certificate. As there are no time constraints for Part A of the test, Examiners expect the work to be of a high quality.

 

Part A: Candidates must build 5 square metres of curved wall plus an additional 5 square metres of wall incorporating either a lunky, built on sloping ground of at least 20 degrees, or to a height of 1.8 metres.

Process Maximum mark Minimum mark
Construction of curved wall  20 13.5
Construction of special feature: Lunky, high wall or wall on sloping ground 20 13.5
Minimum total marks required to pass 27

 

Once Part A has been successfully completed candidates have 12 months to pass Part B. There are no restrictions on how many attempts are made within the 12 month period. If a candidate fails to pass Part B within the timeframe, they are required to reapply for Part A, submitting new features. 

 

Part B: In the presence of Examiners candidates are required to strip down and rebuild a 4.5 square metre section of wall, retaining to the base of the copestones and not less than 1.2 metres in height, within a single 7 hour period.

In addition to the standards required for level 1 and 2 certification, emphasis is placed on; solid secure foundations and preparation of earth bank, adequacy of packing, selection and placement of building stones, sufficient through stones relative to the height of wall, batter, line and straightness, retaining to base of cope stones.

Process Maximum mark Minimum mark
Stripping out  5 2.5
Earthbank & foundations 15 7.5
Building/Packing 1st lift 10 5
Placing through stones 10 5
Building/Packing 2nd lift 10 5
Line and straightness  10 5
Batter 15 7.5
Copestones and finish 10 5
Approach to safety  5 2.5
Minimum total marks required to pass 60

Register your interest

Master Craftsman Certificate

This certificate has two parts which must be conducted separately and in order. Candidates must hold the Advanced Level 3 certificate before applying for this certificate. Candidates must build an overall total of 30 square metres of wall, obtain the minimum mark in each section and an overall pass mark of at least 128 in order to gain the full certificate. As there are no time constraints for Part A of the test, Examiners expect the work to be of the highest standard. 

Overall, this level of certification requires candidates to prove their ability to produce quality work at the prescribed work rate, build all features to a high standard, and produce quality work in a commercial situation.

 

Part A: Candidates must build 3 features each within a minimum of 5 square metres of wall, excluding the pillar which must have a total face area of at least 3.6 square metres. At least 5 constructed metres must be built on ground with a slope of 30 degrees or more. Work must also demonstrate at least 2 building styles (i.e. coursed and random) and 2 different stone types.

In addition to the standards required for previous levels of certification, emphasis is placed on; high standards of finish and the ability to produce high quality work.

Optional features are shown in the following marking table:

Feature Maximum mark Minimum mark
Round end OR round corner OR square corner  24 18
Set of steps OR stile 24 18
Arch OR pillar 24 18
Work on sloping ground 24 18
Minimum total marks required to pass 54

 

Once Part A has been successfully completed candidates have 12 months to pass Part B. There are no restrictions on how many attempts are made within the 12 month period. If a candidate fails to pass Part B within the timeframe, they are required to reapply for Part A, submitting new features. 

 

Part B: In the presence of Examiners candidates are required to build a Part A feature not previously demonstrated, using appropriate stone that can have been selected beforehand but not overly shaped or laid out (stripping out is not required at this level). The work should incorporate at least 5 square metres of wall and be constructed within a single 7 hour period.

In addition to the standards required for level 1 and 2 certification, emphasis is placed on; solid secure foundations and preparation of earth bank, adequacy of packing, selection and placement of building stones, sufficient through stones relative to the height of wall, batter, line and straightness, retaining to base of cope stones.

Process Maximum mark Minimum mark
Preparing and laying foundations  10 5
Placing through stones 10 5
Building/Packing 1st and 2nd lift 15 7.5
Line and straightness 10 5
Batter 10 5
Copestones and finish 10 5
Approach to safety  5 2.5
Appropriate selection and use of stone 5 2.5
Chosen feature 24 18
Minimum total marks required to pass 74

Register your interest

DSWA Instructor Training 

For people holding Intermediate Level 2 certification or above, an online Instructor training course is available. This program has been specifically developed for professional level wallers in Australia and is provided in conjunction with the Dry Stone Wall Association UK. 

The course takes potential DSWA Instructors through learning and teaching styles, delivery techniques and training course standards. On successful completion of the course, trainers will be able to access DSWA approved training materials and conduct DSWA dry stone workshops. This course has been developed to improve the number and capacity of qualified trainers in Australia, encourage the teaching of traditional dry stone principles, and improve national training standards.

Register your interest

Custom Training events, demonstrations and information sessions

Stone of Arc can deliver external training events, demonstrations and information sessions to community groups, agencies and individuals based anywhere in the country. To date we have conducted 1-2-1 training, practice events, taster/information sessions, trade show demonstrations and pathway to employment youth workshops.

For further details keep an eye on our Events section, register your interest in hosting an event or contact us to discuss your ideas.

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EMMA KNOWLES
0432 350 125

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