LEFT: Rhonda Allis, president of the Aquarian archive at the Library of Southern Cross University in Lismore, Dr Rob Garbutt, Jessica Schultz, SCU student and Dr Jo Kijas. Other photos are of the Aquarian archive at the Library of Southern Cross University.
LEFT: Rhonda Allis, president of the Aquarian archive at the Library of Southern Cross University in Lismore, Dr Rob Garbutt, Jessica Schultz, SCU student and Dr Jo Kijas. Other photos are of the Aquarian archive at the Library of Southern Cross University.

Aquarius – 40 years on

A NEW community history project is seeking new persectives on the 1973 Aquarius Festival.  

Students from Southern Cross University are asking: What did Nimbin think it was gaining and what did it actually get?

Lecturer in Cultural Studies Rob Garbutt said the project was particularly interested in hearing from anyone who attended a meeting in Nimbin in January 1973 where the town voted to support the Australian Union of Students proposal to hold the festival.

The town's police officer Constable Bob Marsh, who did not attend, wrote a letter of support for the festival.

The letter told the meeting Const Marsh had met with organisers of the festival - Graeme Dunstan and Johnny Allen - and the event had his support.

Nimbin had been in decline after the downturn of the dairy industry. The festival was viewed as an economic opportunity for the small community.

However, it is understood many townsfolk thought the festival would come and go and things in Nimbin would return to normal.

"After the festival was a period of rapid change and we want to know how it affected people's sense of belonging." Dr Garbutt said.

"There is still a strong and thriving thread of the pre-Aquarian community in Nimbin."

"We would like to hear from anyone who would like to be interviewed."

Some broader questions the project will explore are:

 What has been learnt about alternative culture?;

 

 What came from the social experiment around other ways society can be organised?; and

 Where is the alternative culture heading now.

Material from the project will form the basis of a book to be published next year to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Aquarius Festival. The research will also be presented at a two-day event, also to be held next year, which will reflect on the festival.

Anyone with information that could prove useful for the project can contact Dr Garbutt on 02 6620 3350 or on Rob.Garbutt@scu.edu.au.

Aquarius Festival

The Aquarius Festival aimed to celebrate alternative thinking and sustainable lifestyles

The 10-day event was held from May 12 to 23 in 1973

Estimated attendance was between 5000 and 10,000

One of the event sponsors was Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes



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