Sadly, on August 13, 2014 a disastrous set of fires demolished three iconic buildings in the northern NSW township of Nimbin. The fire engulfed the Rainbow Cafe along with two other buildings in Cullen Street, including a museum celebrating the town’s drug culture. Nimbin, is located in northern New South Wales (NSW) close to Bryon Bay, and has become a tourist attraction for those wanting to embrace its hippie lifestyle, where marijuana is sold openly in the streets.
Nimbin’s alternative community stems back to the ‘Age of Aquarius’ festivals in the early 1970s. By 1973, the community urchined into spiritually-motivated art, which comprised large paintings which were adorned above the shop awnings; thus becoming the dawning of street art within this community.
These became known as the “Nimbin muralscapes”. The top sections of many main street commercial and public buildings were elaborately illustrated; mostly using psychedelic or aboriginal themes. The main artist was Benny Zable. Zable was recently engaged to help repaint and restore his murals. However, some of the buildings were also painted by renowned visionary artist Vernon Treweeke, who was the subject of a comeback exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery in 2003.
Some ‘not-so-locals’ have speculated that it must have been ‘a grass fire’! But, if that was the case, they would also believe that “Everybody must get stoned!” (sorry Bob).