Nimbin wants site of fire to become open air shared space

MAIN PICTURE: Michael Balderstone with totem poles rescued from the ruins of the Nimbin Museum and surrounding businesses destroyed by fire last month.
MAIN PICTURE: Michael Balderstone with totem poles rescued from the ruins of the Nimbin Museum and surrounding businesses destroyed by fire last month. Cathy Adams

AN OPEN air community and cultural space is what the Nimbin community is now dreaming of for the site of last month's devastating fire.

Nimbin Museum director Michael Balderstone said a plan had been hatched to buy the former site of the museum and shops Bringabong and Tribal Magic from its owner, Sydney businessman Richard Andary.

"He wants $500,000 and we're looking at crowd funding or forming a co-op," Mr Balderstone said.

A Nimbin outdoor plaza or communal space would build on the unique village atmosphere that made the town such an interesting place to visit, he said.

Mr Balderstone painted a picture of buskers, artists, and open-air markets alongside a rebuilt re-imagined Rainbow Cafe and possibly a new site to house the surviving Aquarius archives.

"Nearly all the locals are saying the same, we need more green space.

"The street scene is a big part of the Nimbin attraction. Hippies want to be outside.

"We want a bit of the commune in the village. An outside, living museum of people."

Mr Balderstone said his ultimate dream was a regular "legal cannabis market" at the site.

"The police would absolutely love it," he said.

The new Aquarius museum might be built of natural building materials such as hempcrete and include a rainbow serpent pathway leading to the entrance.

Meanwhile, the owners of the adjacent Rainbow Cafe site where the devastating fire started, the Tuntable Falls Community Co-operative, are still waiting for the insurance company to make an offer on the property, according to the co-op's secretary James Fuller.

Mr Fuller said the future of the site, insured for $330,000, remained under a cloud until the offer came in, with some in the co-op debating whether they should sell the site.

"My personal belief is something will be built there, with a cafe in it… (but) we won't be able to build anything for at least three to four months."

He agreed it would be important to build something consistent with whatever was planned for next door.

Topics:  nimbin nimbin fire nimbin museum

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