Nimbin farewells Plantem
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org "Hemp Hemp Hooray."
That was the chant from the people of Nimbin as they carried the body of Chicken George, aka The Plantem, down the main street of the town on the way to his final resting place in the Nimbin Cemetery.
Born in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1941 as John Kenneth Taylor, Chicken George was described by his friend Troy Power as, "a five foot warrior, a very tough man in a very little body."
George arrived in Nimbin 10 years ago after hearing about the annual Mardigrass Festival on the radio.
According to Hemp Embassy President Michael Balderstone, he started out as a volunteer doing the cleaning at the Embassy and soon became the public face of the HEMP Campaign (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) by donning the green suit of The Plantem character.
It was a very Nimbin send off, featuring the ganja fairies flitting through the crowd and the coffin painted with a rainbow and the Plantem character.
The procession stopped outside the Hemp Embassy where one pall bearer said, "He did a lot to bring this community together. The Plantem will never die."
At the cemetery George's friend Doctor Budd, aka Peter Hendrix, led the tributes and read highlights from George's autobiography called 'Almost, Nearly, Never.'
Growing up among scenes of incredible domestic violence, the young John Taylor shot his step father in the arm after he saw his mother with two black eyes and two broken arms.
He spent much of his youth in boys' homes and detention centres and graduated to jail where he was known as "The Kid."
Always the gentleman, an inmate once said to him: "If you ever shot someone, you'd be the first to call the ambulance."
Apart from his time in and out of detention, Chicken George was married four times and fathered fifteen children.
He also had a love of travelling and spent many years on the road working as a 'carnie' with various sideshows.
He had a love of horses, Australian Rules football and was the 1990 Coffs Harbour Racing Pigeon Champion.
His lived his live by the motto, "never give up, never give in and you might just be OK." Write cutline Text: NS2909_main.IMG.TXT Image: NS2909A FOND FAREWELL: The funeral procession for John Taylor aka Chicken George aka the Plantem at Nimbin. DAVID NIELSEN