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NIMBIN - A Step Away from the Mainstream
NIMBIN - A Step Away from the Mainstream  
The first white settler at Nimbin rode on horseback, with her husband and two daughters in May 1882. Her husband had been injured and she had piled their wagons high with everything they needed to start a new life.
The Aborigines were startled. Nimbin was not women's land. For them, it had been a place of male initiation, a place to meet, to learn, and then move on.
Other European settlers in the Northern Rivers must also have been surprised. Nimbin then was covered with thick, succulent rainforest.
 
But Mrs Britt and her family managed to carve a life for themselves and eventually more settlers came, clearing the rich stands of timber to grow dairy and beef cattle.
Nimbin seems to go hand in hand with the idea of taking a step away from the mainstream and starting a new life.
At the southern foothills of the World Heritage Nightcap Range, a magnificent rainforest, the village of Nimbin has become renowned for its 'alternative' label.
 
Northern Rivers people call their home the Rainbow Region. The area records a high number of spectacular rainbows, largely to its landlord of valleys and hills. But the Rainbow Region label was born mainly from Nimbin's reputation for being at the forefront of new ways of thinking and alternative living. This all started in 1973, when Nimbin was a declining dairy township.
Abundant in native flora and fauna and physically beautiful, the tiny rural village was selected by the Australian Union of Students for the location of the now-famous Aquarius Festival. It was far from the urban and campus structures which had been the objects of student protest - protests against imperialism, authoritarianism, sexism, racism and progress as any price.
 
According to one of the original organisers of the Aquarius Festival, Graeme Dunstan, the festival was about asking, "What future do we want to create for ourselves?" It was called a lifestyle festival. Visionaries, prophets, conservationists and social activists came from across Australia. From healers offering holistic medicine, architecture students and engineers talking low and alternative energy to Aborigines discussing land rights, the festival was a meeting circle of alternative ideas.

Out of this a new community was born, gaining momentum as leaders in the alternative lifestyle and environmental awareness movement. Today, it is this culture for which Nimbin, in fact the Rainbow Region, is internationally.
People from around the world come to study Permaculture and an energy-efficient housing hamlet is being built to expand the residential village. Earth-friendly technology is widespread. The visitor to Nimbin is treated to a glimpse of the original 'Spirit of Aquarius', particularly in the main street with its colourful facade adorned with psychedelic murals.
 
Nimbin is music and theatre, often in three or four venues on the one short street in the one long night. There's the Bush Theatre - a converted butter factory - for good films and a variety of events ranging from local fashion shows to concerts. The recently refurbished Town Hall offers entertainment on a scale unheard of in most small villages, with regular variety shows featuring comics, poets, dance, drama and music.

Nimbin is good food; from the main street cafes to restaurants and Blue Knob Gallery also hosting the BLUE KNOB FARMERS MARKET (every Saturday from 8 am-1 pm) on a short drive from the village. Visitors notice a strong emphasis on wholesome, healthy and home-made products.
One of Nimbin's attractions is the plethora of craft shops and other retail outlets that display the talent of Nimbin's artists, craftspeople and designers. The Rainbow Power Company, at the appropriate address of "1 Alternative Way", offers a glimpse of the future in its highly successful range of sustainable technologies for power generations. The company in fact sells electricity back to the mainstream grid.

 
Nimbin is earnest conversation in cafes, poetry in the park, hippy memorabilia in the museum. And it is a sensational environment. It is at the doorstep of pristine rainforest - the Nightcap, Border Ranges, Mabbin National Park and Wollumbin (Mi. Warning) National Parks. The Nimbin Rocks are the other major environment masterpiece of this area. According to the legend of the Nimbinjee Aborigines, the sleeping warrior of the Nightcap Range still lies in watch over the village. He can be seen in the form of the Nimbin Rocks, which are now under the custodianship of the Bundjalung Tribe. The Rocks are considered mystical and it is said that visitors are welcome but must not set up home there. For the reason, legend has it that nothing prospers in the shadow of the Rocks. Ironically, businesses in this area change regularly.

The village is continuing its theme of moving away from the mainstream and introducing new ways of thinking to the rest of Australia.
22-11-2017
06:01
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