Nimbin says goodbye to George

Scotsman George Forsyth's coffin is escorted through the streets of Nimbin in a silver VW Kombi, led by a bagpiper.
Scotsman George Forsyth's coffin is escorted through the streets of Nimbin in a silver VW Kombi, led by a bagpiper. Cathy Adams

NIMBIN’S favourite Scotsman, George John Forsyth, 61, was laid to rest in true hippie style yesterday.

Hundreds of mourners followed George’s hand-painted casket as it was carried through the main street of Nimbin in the back of a silver VW Kombi.

The cortege was led by a sole bagpiper, George’s family and the Nimbin Headers soccer team to the Nimbin Town Hall.

As his casket entered the hall those gathered to celebrate his remarkable life broke into cheers and applause to honour a man well-known and respected by many in the Nimbin community.

George was an accomplished musician with a resonant, husky voice.

He made Nimbin his home in the mid-1970s.

Close friend Grahame Ward described George as a colourful, excessive, pessimistic man with a singing voice which ‘stopped people in their tracks’.

“When he found out he was dying, he said, ‘I can’t complain, I’ve had a good life’,” Mr Ward, who was with George immediately after he was told he would die from cancer, said.

Mr Ward said George was not a religious man, but took inspiration from one passage in the Bible, ‘Go forth and multiply’.

He fathered five children with four wives. Three of his former wives were at his bedside when he died.

His life was celebrated by his family and friends at the service through shared stories, recollections and music.

George founded the reggae band Loose Joints in the 1970s. He described the experience as like being married to five women all at once.

In recent years he became known for his lunchtime solo performances in Allsop Park and his evening appearances at Nimbin Pizza and Trattoria.

George died in a Nimbin farmhouse, surrounded by friends and family with birds singing and a summer breeze blowing on December 16. His friends said this was just how he wanted to go.

As his casket was lowered into the ground at Nimbin Cemetery a recording of his own song, Back in the Highlands Again, was played.

The song title will be also on his headstone.

George was born in Robroyston, Scotland, on May 5, 1948.

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