Life in Nimbin

Here I am at the Gallery…Nimbin Artists Gallery. Almost an icon of village life. Established almost 17 years ago by a lady whose passion was to get the Artists of Nimbin together and stay in the village promoting their works and contributing to the life here. Margaret McLaren was a woman of vision and she gave her life to the gallery. She has retired now due to ill health.



What is so special about Nimbin? Many things makes this little village unique….a sister town with Woodstock in the US. The birth place of the Aquarius festival, the famous protest in the 70’s that save our forests from logging and the formation of National parks in our community. The establishment of MO….(Multiple Occupancy) Some communities are on large estate where everyone shares the benefits of the land, but have their own house and little plot. Usually no dogs or cats and decisions to be made by committees. Many people enjoy this lifestyle around here. But for me and Peter not our scene…too many conflicts and resolutions are few. But there are quite a few of these communities around here. Blue Springs, Mundani, Tuntables, Jarlanbah to name just a few.

Festivals, classical concerts, ragae, fashion shows, Blue Moon Cabaret, Mardi Grass, farmers’ markets, Poetry competition, Weaving for healing…there is not a month where Nimbin does not have a special event to offer.

A mixture of old farmers, retirees, academics, liberal professions, restaurateurs and… and of course Nimbin has a reputation for weeds….I mean Grass…I mean pot…I mean the famous or infamous….”I did not inhale”.

The village is well catered for with alternative therapies, doctors, a hospital, community radio, pharmacy, medical clinic, schools of many descriptions like the Steiner School, Tuntables and the local public school ( NImbin Central) that the Gallery sponsors.

The town is in a caldera surrounded forests and national parks. The energy of this village is its opposition to huge business, coal seam gas. Funky art on the streets, shops decorated by local Aboriginals, masons, wood workers, mixture, crafts stall springing up at anytime along the pavement. Oh! And if you fancied a little Indian treat, there is a stall that has just sprung out of nowhere selling you the food! Watch the health inspector there young man! The Japanese tourists or French or German that fancies a little pocket money and who are a young people visa, offer hand made necklaces and earrings for sale on the pavement. Old clothes also appear out of a suitcase sprawled on the pavement, books, plants, eggs, home grown vegetables, coffee, palm and Tarot cards reader sitting on a little stool, all done up, playing the part. Oh! I almost forgot, the “musicians” that appears from nowhere and entertain the passersby. We frequently hear a lone sax payer, a didgeridoo, and the famous drumming every Friday night. Many people get together to perform a night of only drumming in the village. Now, that is something to see! Lots of folks also dance on the pavement to the intoxicating rhythms of the many drums beat. A night out and getting together and rejoicing.

Unfortunately, the local Aboriginals with a a few other people prefer the bench and tables next to the Hemp Embassy to drink their litres of plonk. Shouting, swearing and then go back to sit gazing into the never-never. Harmless. We all know them. But from time to time a dispute arises and this whole side of the street becomes the focal point for a few minutes. Sometimes blows are exchanged, the police comes 30 mns later and everything is back to normal. Police just smile and are on their way. Just a little commotion from funny Nimbin. But if it is more serious then it is not funny anymore!

On the way to buy something:

Oh, I forget to get some milk…a quick run into the village will do. So, here I start the car and say to my husband I won’t be long…just getting some milk. Really? says he. Yes, won’t take long. Of course there is no such thing in Nimbin.
I park the car and ready to walk into the little supermarket. Hi, G says Russell, the local artist who has spent 15 years in France. Here we go exchanging the latest news on France and the current political atmosphere.
Ho! Hello Tim! So Tim tells me all about the new house he just moved in and what is happening in the Gallery. Tim is treasurer there. Another 20mn later, Steve says:” is this ok for Saturday’s catering” no sorry, the spot has been given to someone who can do coffee for the classical concert in October. 20minutes later AGAIN I am still saying by this time “good afternoon” to Vicky, David, John and so on.
What did I come to buy? Oh! yes, the milk. So, I walk in the supermarket and head for the milk. Hi! says Fabien…long time no see. What have you been up to? another 10 mns inside the supermarket chatting about the latest happenings. By that time I am getting quite frantic. It has been over an hour and am still no back.I am supposed to be on duty at the Gallery and have 20mns to eat and get going. I rush to the car and Liz says: “you are in a hurry today” Oh boy! Liz, “I am sorry can’t stay and chat… have to get back I am at the Gallery today” “Ok catch up soon” she says. “I’ll drop in later and say hello”, “sure I am there all afternoon”. Phew! the car is starting and I am off.

EMporium Little supermarket

Bringabong shop

Upon arriving back home, Peter smiles and says: “Just the milk I suppose”. “Sorry can’t explain have to eat and rush don’t have any more time to chat”!
So, my little quick trip ended up just over an hour. And it is like that almost every time we need to buy something in the village. Now, we ask each other: “who is going to the village to get something”? We decided to take it in turns or go together. No more reprimands on either side.

As you all can see life here is not without its tribulations and beauty. All surrounded by the magnificent Mountain range of Blue Knob, Lilian Rock, Nightcape ranges and the famous very famous Nimbin Rocks. Every tourist that comes here must have a photo of the rocks. But, of course “Nimbin” in Aboriginal Banjalung language tribes means Big Rock.
3 to 4 buses packed with tourists young and old arrive daily to visit this little village which has become an icon world wide I am pretty sure.

See link below for the picture of the Rocks.

Till next time!

2 thoughts on “Life in Nimbin

    1. Hi there and thank you for your comment.

      I could not find the art that you talking about on the phone on Friday afternoon. Can you direct me on that one.


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