Alternative lifestyles


Some 30 kilometres north of the city of Lismore is the small rural village of Nimbin. This idyllic village set in the green southern foothills of the Nightcap Range was a declining rural town in the 1960s and 1970s as the dairying downturn hit hard. It had lost its resident doctor and its only bank closed in 1964.

In 1973 all this changed.

Alternative thinkers around Australia organised the Aquarius Festival, a festival of love and peace which lasted for some three weeks. A generation of people who eschewed the mainstream capitalist lifestyle converged on Nimbin to discuss new ideas and embrace sustainability and communal ways of living. Nimbin thus began its life as the hippie capital of Australia.

The organisers of the Aquarius Festival poured new life into Nimbin with many festival goers deciding to stay in the village or settle permanently in one of the new communes established in the surrounding areas.

Over a period of time the alternative culture began to have an effect on the original 'locals'. Many saw the advantages of preserving the environment, using organic methods of farming and alternative lifestyles. Lismore slowly became a more diverse and tolerant community, accepting different lifestyles and approaches.

Today, the city and greater region actively encourages acceptance of alternative cultures and this liberal tolerance has become the hallmark of Lismore.

Image by Peter Derrett