Tully Ward from Upper Tuntable Falls with his daughter Indiana-Valentine at the site of his home that is currently under construction. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Tully Ward from Upper Tuntable Falls with his daughter Indiana-Valentine at the site of his home that is currently under construction. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

Aquarius kids home to roost

FORTY years after the Aquarius Festival, the third generation of Nimbin's original countercultural settlers is busy in the making.

Children of the Aquarius "revolution" such as Tully Ward, after spending years away from the communities they were raised on are now coming home to roost.

Many of the stories are similar. A remarkably free upbringing of roaming outdoors, simplicity and connection to nature, followed by a teenage yearning for bigger things and the inevitable escapade.

But three years ago Mr Ward, 35, moved back with his partner after 12 years in Sydney where he was a performer and rigger in physical theatre company Legs on the Wall.

He has an 18 month old daughter and is building his own house, following in the footsteps of his parents - albeit with a little more style.

"We've got a big flat screen television, a front-loading washing machine, and a really nice coffee machine," Mr Ward said. "I'm also putting in a really big solar power system to run everything."

"I'm certainly not planning to spend the rest of my life here - there's a lot more to see in the world," he said.

 

Mr Ward's sister Panya, 33, now a yogalates instructor in Melbourne's northern suburbs, recalled her primary school years as "running around in gangs of 10, living off fruit trees and swimming in creeks".

Kids on the community were given a lot of responsibilities and treated very much as equals.

It was an idyllic time to be a youngster, but by 16 she was desperate to move on, trading Nimbin for Lismore's Richmond River High School and later Melbourne and Europe.

She now calls Nimbin her favourite holiday destination, and is amazed at the new buds springing up in the community.

Not everyone's coming back. Some who found the social experiment confronting and grew up craving a straighter lifestyle are staying away - but others are flocking home in their 30s to raise kids.

"Ten years ago none of my generation was living here, but now the local school is full of children of kids I grew up with," Ms Ward said.

"Our parents didn't have any guidelines when they moved here, there was no model…they were creating something from nothing."

"I think this is the ultimate sign they did something right."

AQUARIUS AND BEYOND

WHEN: May 23-24

WHERE: Nimbin Town Hall

DAY ONE: Reflecting on the past:

Johnny Allen and Graham Dunstan in conversation with Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell.

BauXhau Stone on involving local Aboriginal communities in the festival.

Vernon Treweeke on Nimbin's artful "makeover".

DAY TWO: Stepping into the future

Second-generation Aquarians reflecting on growing up in intentional communities

Community protest - from Terania Creek to coal-seam gas with Natalie Meyer and Aiden Ricketts.

MORE INFORMATION: facebook/AquariusandBeyond



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