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Nimbin community spaces remembered as fire ruins cleared

CLOSURE: Crews begin the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen St, Nimbin.
CLOSURE: Crews begin the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen St, Nimbin. Cathy Adams

FOR some it was closure on an unlucky chapter in Nimbin's history, for others it was just sad.

Yesterday mounds of charred corrugated iron and burnt detritus was unceremoniously collected by an excavator's claw and loaded into a pickup on the asbestos-contaminated site of last month's fire.

The two-day operation, expected to wrap up today, attracted a few spectators peering over the safety fences wanting to take a last glance at the devastation.

Two men clad in asbestos protection suits and masks eventually helped line the dump truck with plastic and off it went.

The truck was headed three hours north for the Ipswich asbestos dump, a massive ex-coal mine.

The loss of the Rainbow Cafe and the adjacent Aquarius museum has been felt hard in the community.

Crews began the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen Street, Nimbin.
Crews began the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen Street, Nimbin. Cathy Adams

They were key meeting places for the people of Nimbin and many were "feeling lost", according to local Kaye Wood.

"Some of us have lost our spot," Ms Wood said.

"The museum was always about community space; so was the Rainbow, and the big tables in the land between them.

"It was the big communal gathering area."

Crews began the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen Street, Nimbin.
Crews began the demolition of the businesses destroyed by fire in Cullen Street, Nimbin. Hamish Broome

Michael Balderstone said yesterday's clean-up operation felt like "closure", and people were looking forward to the fences being removed.

"It's a bit haunting looking at it all," he said.

He recalled how "dozens" of wanderers used the shower in the museum when they were couch-surfing or homeless. "We're really missing the whole centre of town closed up, so the sooner it's opened up the better."

He said he managed to salvage a ute-load of souvenirs including several carved totem poles and some old steel pioneers' farming tools.

Topics:  nimbin fire




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