The next day we drove to Nimbin. We took a wrong turn and having to go miles out of our way. I plan to tell everyone that we weren’t lost we were taking the scenic tour instead.
The town is said to be a mixture of hippie come country culture with some artistic licence thrown in for good measure and the town did reflect that. This life style kicked off at the Aquarius festival first held in 1973. The festival brought back life to the once dying town and that life has just developed over the years to become an icon for Australia.
I am not old enough to remember the 60s so I did find the town interesting. We missed the great markets which are held twice a month but that was ok as the town itself offered a lot to see.
One of the themes of the town is Hemp. We are not talking marijuana, (although I did learn that the name “marijuana” was given to the plant by the American in order to emphasize its connection to the Mexican people,) we were talking about the hemp plant itself, which is one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans. The plant produces nature’s longest, strongest and most durable fibres, making it ideal for making produce cloth, paper and other necessities of daily life. Hemp was also used to make sails and ropes, which were used to fit out Captain Cook’s ship when he made his voyage to Australia. (In the day of sails an average ship would carry about 70 tons of hemp items.)
Hemp was a labour intensive crop to produce so cheaper crops like cotton took over as the main fabric until synthetic fibres were developed taking over from cotton. Nowadays the use of hemp is slowly trickling back into production. Why? Good question to ask. I learned the hemp cloth is softer and warmer than cotton with 3 times the tensile strength making it more durable. A bonus that hemp cloth has over cotton is that it doesn’t harbour bacteria, which makes it perfect for medical use. Another bonus is that hemp does not require the same amount of agricultural chemical and pesticides that is used in cotton production. The list of advantages for using the hemp plant just keeps on going, even down to turning it into fuel and food. (I buy the seeds every now and again to put into smoothies as they are high in protein.) On one of the walls in a shop I read, “It is estimated that if just 6% of all our arable land was planted in hemp (or other biomass plants) it could supply us with all our fuel, gas and oil needs.” It makes the mind boggle but then Henry Ford’s first Model T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp. (Hemp was outlawed around that time largely due to the fact the hemp would damage the powerful steel industries.) Ok I did gain all this information from the town and they may be a bit biased in their information but I did find it thought provoking.
Adrian and I went into every shop in the town (Nimbin isn’t very big.) Bob Marly featured in most of them. No surprise there. I really like the town and could have lived there even though I did feel a little over dressed with my shoes on and my hair combed.
As we drove away I had vision of myself with a little hobby farm, growing all my own food and raising some chickens. Maybe even a goat to milk. With the milk I could make my own cheese. Yep I could just seem myself doing that…………… until I realized how much work it would take. The vision changed somewhat then. I wasn’t so interested in stay anymore.