Originally a logging
town in the sub-tropical
North East of New South Wales, Nimbin was transformed in 1973 by the Aquarius Festival
. It was an alternate lifestyle
festival organised and attended by thousands of young people, mostly university students
from the cities, who wanted to find alternative ways of living.
When it ended, many of these young people, having fallen in love with the beauty and abundance of this part of Australia, decided to stay and actually realise their Utopian dream. A few groups got together, pooled their money bought land, which was at the time incredibly cheap, and formed communes in the valleys around Nimbin. The largest of these was, and still is, The Co-ordinated Co-operative at the head of the Tuntable Valley, near Tuntable Falls
The people that set up these communties often had little or no money and worked very hard building their own houses whilst living in tents, as well as growing their own food and starting schools to teach the children that were beginning to spring up everywhere.
They gained a reputation for being big cannabis users because at that time in Australia, it was very rare not to drink a lot of beer in main stream society, whereas these people, who could not afford beer, found another recreational drug to use to unwind.
People in Nimbin became better off as unemployment benefits and the drug trade grew. Along with the growing drug trade came the reputation which in turn led to a new demographic entering the town. The newer breed was less interested in the lifestyle and ideology of the Aquarius people and more interested in the drugs and the percieved 'anything goes' attitude. This was the beginning of the end of the Aquarius dream in Nimbin.
As the reputation of the open attitude to drugs grew to international status, tourists began arriving to see the communes, gawk at naked hippies and get stoned. More people came to take advantage of the new market and soon heroin use was rife in the town, with junkies selling cannabis on the street to maintain their habits.
I used to live in this town. I left in the late eightees and I've return to the area a few times since. Gradually, over the years, the people I consider good people, those that are kind, have real concern for humanity and our planet have retreated from the town of Nimbin. They stay in the hills where it's peaceful and they don't have to watch people overdose on opiates and they travel through Nimbin and go to other towns to get supplies and do business.
The local cannabis produced in Nimbin is not as potent as the hydroponic skunk grown in the cities and the real hippies are gone. It's time to leave this bleeding sore alone to heal.