Aquarius legacy lives on

EVER wondered why composting toilets, acupuncture, and organic health foods are common around the Northern Rivers?

It's the Aquarius Festival!

It might be common knowledge to most, but if the Aquarians had never fronted up to Nimbin in 1973, the region might be a very different - and perhaps less colourful - place.

With the Aquarius Festival's 40th anniversary coming up next month, Richmond River Historical Society is holding a special presentation next Sunday about its cultural legacy.

Including archival footage of the event juxtaposed with images of Nimbin in the "old days", the presentation will feature a series of talks from those who were there.

"Of the six people who will give talks, three are 'old settlers' and three are new," vice-president of the Richmond River Historical Society, Geoff Kerr, said.

"We're trying to get both sides of the story."

Some of the original Aquarians including Terry McGee and later Diana Roberts would go on to become Lismore City councillors, legitimizing the thrust of the alternative movement.

"There was quite an integration of the community by the newcomers into the establishment," Mr Kerr said.

"They were interested in alternative forms of land settlement, and by joining council they were putting themselves in a position to represent that movement."

Today there are some 60 multiple occupancies, or "MOs", across the Lismore local government area, with state legislation passed in 1988 to accommodate the novel form of settlement.

But aspects of the movement, particularly alternative health and nutrition, have certainly entered the mainstream, with the Northern Rivers is now famous as an alternative health hotspot.

Sustainable building expertise has also become concentrated around Lismore, along with technologies such as composting toilets, permaculture, and organic gardening.

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