In the beginning the museum was a second hand shop catering to hippy needs, which was a nightmare because hippys are such good scroungers.
For about 8 years it bought and sold old junk, particularly from neighbouring farm dispersal sales. Always called the Nimbin Museum, we put huge prices on rare pioneering artefacts we didn’t want to sell and ended up with a local collection of oddities from early European days in the area.
As tourists began to visit Nimbin curious about the hippy experiment – with endless questions – we decided to make a walk through experience to give visitors some idea of the hippy mind.The museum in its current incarnation opened on Boxing Day 1992.
The journey begins outside on the foot path where the head of the Rainbow Serpent rests. Don’t be put off by the feral rabble often outside, this is the end of the road, the last bus stop – the plug hole. And they are the search party that we send in after you if you haven’t reappeared in a couple of hours!
Follow the winding serpents path, beginning with the local dinosaurs and Burri’s creation dreaming paintings you soon enter the aboriginal dreamtime in the Bundjalung Room. Painted by Burri Jerome, around the top of the cave the entire history of aboriginals in the area is painted in symbols.
The path continues into the Pioneer Room, the serpent fades to grey as the forests are decimated. English pasture and cows replaced the rain forest and the environment is changed forever. Early hippys, if not beatniks and farm boys earlier, discovered magic mushrooms growing out of the cow shit- just one of the attractions which led to Nimbin becoming the hard core of the alternative back to the earth movement.
In 1973 University students held the Aquarius Festival in and around the village of Nimbin, which by then, was a country town on the verge of closing down. Most of the shops were closed and the hippys bought many buildings for a song following the huge success of the festival and the consequent settling in the area of many festival goers.
And so it grew, Nimbin becoming a mecca for seekers, freaks and generally those looking for a new way of life with values that made sense. After visiting the hippy shack the journey continues along the forest walk to the cave- which can be anything that you can imagine it to be- a place of re-birth perhaps. The serpent then leads you in to the former Timbarra Cafe which was run by environmental activists whose dedication stopped the cyanide gold mine at sacred bold top mountain at the head waters of the Clarence River. Currently you will meet the local youth who are using the cafe as their halfway house! Very educational for many visitors who see the consequences of the war on drugs all over refugee camp Nimbin!
The last stage of the Museum journey is the Hemp Room, which also acted as the Nimbin HEMP Embassy until it leased its own HQ over the road. The display of cannabis information and culture in the hemp room has taken a belting as many museum displays have, thanx again to the war on pain relieving herbs. The Museum is dedicated to ending the stupid drug laws amongst other things but in particular the american driven war on Cannabis has had a huge impact on the endangered hippy lifestyle.
Finally you are back in the Bundjalung Room and can either walk the path again or go back out the front door.
The Timbarra Cafe and the Museum are both run by volunteers and please talk to us if you are interested in helping. We pay rent of $1851 per month, as well as electricity , phone, repairs and rippoff insurance etc…… so your donation is critical. Thankyou!
Soon we plan to have all sorts of archival material relating to Nimbin’s history on this web site…. If you would like to contribute either time or material please e-mail us.