End, Tuntable Community, Nimbin, early 1990’s.
Image: © Harsha Prabhu
Up in Tuntable
Growing up in Tuntable in the aftermath of the Aquarius festival, in
the most picturesque part of the country and surrounded by truth seeking
wisdom hunters, I always felt blessed. I learnt lots about organic food
and natural living and knew that those around me cared for each other
and the environment, more than they cared for money or social status.
There were always so many things for us kids to do, especially for a
small country town. We had the kids circus, there were felt making workshops,
drama and dance teachers, yoga and meditation advisers, permaculture
and land care projects that we were always involved in.
I was a meat-eater in my early years, but hanging out with people who
knew about vegetarian diets and the ethics of meat eating, I soon became
I loved making tracks and cubby houses in the lantana and playing hide
and seek with my friends, climbing trees and swimming in the creeks,
taking bush walks and camping at the amphitheatre. There is not a lot
of lantana now - its all native trees and fruit orchards - a far cry
from the bare, eroded valley that was initially bought by some university
students as a spot to hold a festival back in the 70’s.
I was pregnant at 16 and the support and help from my community was
incredible. In fact, my extended family was initially more supportive
than my actual dad and brothers!
I had a home birth with my son. It was the best birthing experience
with a fantastic midwife and not at all frowned upon in Tuntable.
One of the most beautiful things about this area is its connection with
the Bundjalung people, and the way that they are respected as the traditional
owners of the land.
Another lovely thing is the connection between the hippies, who invaded
the place in the 70’s, and the farmers, who were watching the
town turn to a ghost town before the Aquarius Festival came.
The rich are still getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer,
but even if one of us on Tuntable went bankrupt, they wouldn’t
be able to take our home off us. That is one of the beauties of communal
living. Taught to grow our own food, make our own clothes, and build
our own houses, we gained the skills to survive if the world turned
against us (if the world can find us!).
I believe that all the adults on the community strive for a change in
the world and that they have instilled this passion in each and every
one of us kids, creating a whole generation of like-minded people out
to save the planet. We run on solar power, use composting toilets and
car pool whenever we can. People ride their bikes to town and even walk!
Tuntable for me is home. It’s more than just having a house there.
The people are my family and my strength, and visa versa.
Anaid, singer & songwriter, Tuntable, 2009