In 1973 an Aquarius Festival was held in the mountains of Queensland, Australia. This event was a gathering of university students, aboriginals and like-minded folks. They painted, sang and danced. They offered workshops on various farming and aboriginal skills. Many attendees brought their hippie lifestyle to town and stayed. Their influence marked the development of the Nimbin that is present today. The parallels to the community of Jerome, Arizona cannot be overlooked. (Read the book “Home Sweet Jerome” for more on that) The beauty of the weather and the surrounding forests drew the group of counter-culture hippies to town also appears to be what is keeping it alive. Currently Nimbin survives primarily on tourism, events and farming.
We traveled the long and winding roads after dark. We booked into a room at the local saloon. Part backpacker hostel, part vintage boarding house and full of character. Our room was sparse, but the value was in the veranda!
We watched the streets roll up for the night and watched the town open up the next morning. We watched the wheels on the school go round and round through town and pick up local kids.
We strolled around a bit and reviewed the street rules and found the decorative public toilets.
The murals on each shop in town are remaining markers from the festival in 1973. Original artists who have stayed and the next generation that are here for the freethinking opportunities maintain these bright paintings.
Even the roundabout in the middle of town has a message-
The hub of town seems to be the Hemp Embassy; a self-appointed information center on legalization of marijuana and suppliers of products and accessories. This is also the agency that sponsors the well-attended annual town festival called Mardi Grass (spelled correctly).
Across the street is the tantalizing “Mingle Park” with its collection of inviting shade canopies and household furniture (recliners, dining tables, hassocks). Mingle Park is clearly the center for purchase and sharing of the local herb. The local shops sell baked goods, coffee, meals, handicrafts and a wide selection of hippie clothing. A few street vendors offered their artwork and beadwork. The town included a post office, dentist, hospital and even a police station (although they may turn BOTH cheeks to some of the local hobbies).
We wandered around for a couple of hours and chatted with a few locals (slowly).
Then we were back on the highway to Sydney. We have hatched a new plan to get to the Great Barrier Reef for a dive- and we need to explore the sites of Sydney.
Sign up to get the next installment by clicking on the box that says FOLLOW and we will email you future stories.