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Hope for renewal after Nimbin fire remains

LUCKY: Kara Forsyth, owner of Daizy clothing. Her shop neighbours Bringabong and was saved from destruction by a brick fire wall built in 1927.
LUCKY: Kara Forsyth, owner of Daizy clothing. Her shop neighbours Bringabong and was saved from destruction by a brick fire wall built in 1927. Doug Eaton

IN PLACE of the iconic Rainbow Cafe and the Nimbin Museum now stands a hazardous waste site, but life in Nimbin goes on.

Yesterday the wreckage was covered in thick plastic and sprayed with PV glue to prevent dangerous asbestos fibres from becoming airborne.

Security guards patrolled the fenced-off area while an asbestos removal crew wearing disposal protection suits and masks worked on the site.

But outside the fences, Nimbin has quickly returned to its old self - despite losing its "front teeth", as long-time local Alan Salt put it.

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THERE'S still plenty to do in Nimbin despite the town losing a couple of iconic attractions.

Franca Wolfe, from the Nimbin Visitor Information Centre, said "the street and the colour and the culture" remained in full effect. Here's a list of five key attractions worth checking out:

  • The Djanbung Permaculture Gardens
  • The Nimbin Arts Gallery and Nimbin Craft Gallery
  • The Candle Factory and Bush Theatre
  • The Rainbow Power Company
  • The Hemp Embassy

"Anyone who was here for the Aquarius Festival will miss these buildings," Mr Salt said.

"It's a bit like you've had a chunk of your past washed away.

"We're all used to it, but we're going to miss it because we can't go there anymore," he said of the museum.

Other locals were generally philosophical about the loss, and looking forward to the new chapter beckoning the town's history.

Nimbin identity, Trevor, said while the town would never exactly return to its old self, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"It won't return to normal. But change happens, and you just get on," he said.

"I don't live here for the architecture; I live here for the people.

"Something else will happen here.

"There's mountains you could do.

"No one died. No one will starve, even though some people will struggle."

Local businesswoman Kara Forsyth's shop Daisy, next door to the now blackened Bringabong was spared the inferno by a brick fire wall built in 1927, soon after the last fire that burnt through the town.

"I'm suffering what's called survivor guilt," she said.

"We're all really good mates along here.

"I was just devastated for them.

"But I don't think it will ruin Nimbin.

"The rest of the place is still standing.

"The other thing that's lucky is it's a quiet time of year. The alternative movement goes on."

Having just returned from a trip to Bali, she declared that Nimbin was more famous overseas than Byron Bay.

"They've heard of Nimbin before they've heard of Byron. It's internationally famous."

Topics:  fire, nimbin, recovery



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