When Nimbin agreed to host the 1973 Aquarius Festival, the influx of university students and hippies changed the small dairy community forever.
A 10-day ‘festival without a program’ was proposed where people lived in ‘an experiential community’, built their dwellings and lived in tribes.
Many locals were shocked by the festivalgoers’ nudity and free-living style but appreciated the new energy and the money that came to Nimbin.
After the festival, a few intrepid souls stayed on as New Settlers to continue the Aquarian dream and sow the seeds for today’s vibrant, innovative and sustainable community.
The name ‘Nimbin’ comes from the legend of the Nimbinjee, who are the totem of the local Wyabul people of the Bundjalung nation. The towering, ancient and sacred Nimbin Rocks can be seen from the village outskirts.
From Dreamtime to farming time to Aquarius time, this Soundtrail is a sonic journey through the heart of Australia’s most famous alternative lifestyle destination.
Soundtrails acknowledges the Wyabul people of the Bundjalung nation, traditional custodians of the land on which this soundtrail is located, and it pays tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.
Learn more about Nimbin at Visit Nimbin and the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the New Settler movement through the Aquarian Archive.
Click and drag the map to discover all 18 stories.
Safety warning – While using the Soundtrails App on site, please be aware that your attention may be diverted from dangers of traffic on roads you may be required to cross.
Content warning – This Soundtrail contains nudity and coarse language.
CREDITS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Thanks to all interviewees and contributors, the broader Nimbin Community and to Lismore Nimbin Tourism for your support.
Nimbin Soundtrail producer Jeanti St Clair.
Births, Deaths and Marriages Megan James.
Campfire Murmurings Bob Tissott, Ven. Pannyvaro, Moppy Chiring Chuden, Judy Arpana, Michael Murphy. Music composition Neil Pike.
Daisy’s Cafe Daisy Stewart. Festival Without a Program Graeme Dunstan, Johnny Allen, Judy Arpana, Bob Tissott, Maireid Sullivan.
From Buttery to Bush Factory Greg Matheson, Jennie Dell, Ruth Miller.
Hare Krishnas vs Hare Gumboot Bob Tissott, Ven. Pannyvaro. Music composition Neil Pike.
Life on Nmbngee Pauline Ahern. Excerpt of Blue Skies Orchestra recording, courtesy Ruth Miller.
Longtime Sunshine Ven. Pannyavaro, Paul Joseph, Bob Tissott, 'Longtime Sunshine', performed by Paul Joseph, used with permission.
Nimbin Fire Michael Balderstone.
Poem 'Rainbow’s End' written and performed by David Hallett.
Nimbin Murals Vernon Treweeke.
Performers Galore Bob Tissott, Judy Arpana, Johnny Allen, Michael Murphy, Moppy Chiring Chuden, Maireid Sullivan, original piano composition performed by Harry Freeman.
Sauna Sex Bob Tissott, Judy Arpana, music composition Neil Pike.
Slim Dusty Ruth Miller, Jennie Dell, Daisy Stewart. 'Wild Mountain Thyme', performed by Ruth Miller and George Scott, used with permission.
Terania Creek Protest Neil Pike, Nan Nicholson, Hugh Nicholson, Victoria Murphy, Michael Murphy, excerpts from film 'Give Trees a Chance' and songs, performed by Paul Joseph, 'Hey Terania' and 'Let’s Go Down to the Forest', used with permission.
Town Hall Meeting Eric Bazzana, Daisy Stewart, Johnny Allen, Northern Star article excerpt read by Ian Slade.
Welcome to Nimbin Uncle Cecil Roberts, Darren Butcher, Sapote Hudd.
Wyabul Country Uncle Cecil Roberts. When the Hippies Stayed Vernon Treweeke, Paul Joseph, Maireid Sullivan, Eric Bazzana, Graeme Dunstan. Music composition Neil Pike.
Minor Birds Longtime Sunshine performed by Nimbin Central School students from Years 2 -5, directed by Val Mace and Gail Pierce.
Friday’s Lunch Longtime Sunshine performed by Nimbin Central School’s secondary vocal ensemble. The students are from Years 7-11 and are directed by Vale Mace.
Vocal Minority Nimbin’s adult community choir, directed by Val Mace, also perform 'Longtime Sunshine'.
Harmony Song by Mookx Hanley and performed at Byron Vista Social Club in Ewingsdale Hall circa 2006, featuring Mookx Hanley, Julie Oliver, Evan Sun, Soozah Clarke, Lina Eve and Gabi Bliss.
Thanks to Neil Pike, Val Mace, Ruth Miller, Harry Freeman, Mookx Hanley for musical contributions, Paula Glenn-Bland for permission to use Paul Joseph’s songs, Mike Heron for permission to include the 'Longtime Sunshine' chant, which is based on the Incredible String Band’s 'A Very Cellular Song', and Paul Tait and Jeni Kendell of Gaia Films, for 'Give Trees A Chance' film excerpts.
Photography acknowledgements Thanks to Lismore Nimbin Tourism and natsky, Peter Derrett, Pauline and Amelia Ahern, Terania Native Forest Action Group, Jackie Garland, Harry Watson-Smith (CC-licenced), Ruth Miller, Megan James, Daisy Stewart. Photographs used with permission. Painting of Cecil Roberts by Neil Liddell.