The Nimbin Museum is open for business and the Nimbin HEMP Bar will soon be opening its doors again, with locals banding together to save the two iconic buildings from closure.
The landlords of both buildings were advised several weeks ago they would have to comply with a strict set of conditions or police would declare them ‘restricted premises’ under the Restricted Premises Act of 1943, which allows police to search or raid at will. Museum tenant Michael Balderstone was also told he could no longer manage the tourist drawcard, however, his business partner Elspeth Jones has stepped into the breach and advised the landlord she will take over tenancy of the building.
Nimbin local Elspeth Jones has advised the landlord she will take over tenancy of the Nimbin Museum.
The landlord will be required to install CCTV and enclose the backyard, while Elspeth will be required to enforce the $2 entry fee and report any illegal or potentially illegal activity immediately to police.“There will be new rules, cameras and fences, not quite the hippy way, but we are very adaptable,” Elspeth said. “Hippies have been judged and criminalised for several generations now so we know how to adjust, and we’re here for the long haul.”
Elspeth has now appointed Michael ‘curator’. She said while it’s an honour to take over his role, it’s also a bit of a poisoned chalice, but she could never sit idly by and let one of Nimbin’s most enduring features shut down.“When we began the Museum there was a trickle of visitors but now the village is on the global backpacker map and draws an estimated 150,000 plus visitors a year,” she said. “The credibility of the hippy lifestyle has gone from ridicule to respect. Permaculture, organic farming, solar panels, health food, meditation and yoga were all laughed at 30 years ago, now they’re mainstream. It’s a pity ending war hasn’t caught on yet, particularly the war on drugs in Nimbin’s case!
“The Museum is not without it’s problems and it’s a huge baby to hold but it’s a place where anyone can come, the tourists, the locals and the lost souls. For many people it’s home.”
Meanwhile, Michael, president of the Nimbin HEMP Embassy, is busy across the road renovating the HEMP Bar so it can be re-opened soon. The Nimbin HEMP Embassy has agreed to run the place and allow several groups to work together under one roof.It will re-open as the headquarters for M.O.B. (MardiGrass Organising Body) while a group of locals plan to use it to re-invigorate the political HEMP Party and reapply for registration.“Others include the Medical Cannabis Research Board (Australia) Pty Ltd and Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd, which will also be using the HEMP Bar to do a detailed survey of long-term cannabis users, seeing we can’t convince the government to do it,” Michael said.
“We live in hope that Kevin Rudd will sometime bother to question and actually look at the war on drugs and what it’s doing to millions of Australians. California just celebrated 10 years of regulated medical cannabis but here in Australia John Howard’s psychosis propaganda has still got most people bluffed and drug law reform is in the too hard basket.”