Brett, puppeteer extraordinaire, The Channon, 1993
A Rare and Wonderful Thing
When the clowns and tightrope walkers and African dancers and students and bludgers and ravers and loonies were straggling back to so many other realities...some stayed. Not because life could not be rich for them elsewhere, not because they were filled with fear and loathing, not because of all the possible negatives; but because they had a rare and wonderful thing going for them that through the ages had made humans pause and make new choices.
They had a collective vision, but no watertight agreement, no unified dream. It had a vague shape and infinite possibilities, and was founded on one basic premise - that private ownership of land was the root of all evil. Embodied in this idea was the principle of collective land acquisition and the understanding that this would require human qualities that were not being overwhelmingly demonstrated in the western world at that time. It meant being prepared to accept less materially, in order to experience more emotionally and spiritually. Groups of people formed into collectives and 900 shareholders bought Tuntable Falls from the local sawmiller...
There was no paid work to speak of, so many 'new settlers' accepted the dole and looked upon it as a rural subsidy. The few cars and trucks that survived the appalling roads and first two wet seasons became pretty much communal vehicles. Nobody had much money and if you did get some together, you went on a pilgrimage to India to find bliss, then home to have babies and onto another meeting and a community work day and a Celtic dance in silk and velvet at the local hall.
There was a special feeling in Nimbin in the mid-70's. Once the changes started to happen, the place developed a magic drawing power that attracted people interested in alternative lifestyles from all over the world. Writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, dreamers, lecturers, monks and members of similar communities came to visit and stay. As the word got around on the alternative networks that something special was happening in Nimbin, the support and criticism and love and guidance of the whole world seemed to pour in in many forms.
Jeni Kendell, filmmaker, Nimbin