Eddie's Nimbin Rocks Page

Also see My free Galleries for 800*600 images (thumbnailed) including photos from Nimbin Rocks.

This is a relatively old web page, it was created last century and is not really maintained - but it is still popular.
Any opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of the co-op.

Images which have a border are click-able (to enlarge).

I met Len Martin (our current chairman --1999) in 1984. It was my first day working at the University of Queensland and I was introduced to this long haired, Englishman who had just come back to work after a week or two in Nimbin and he didn't seem pleased about it at all. We worked within the same department (more or less) for around seven years. Len and his partner Kay also became keen on doing reef trips so I heard lots about "the co-op". Despite many invitations to visit the co-op and also to join if I wanted, I declined both offers until 1996.

The land is about 4 klm south of Nimbin, beside the Nimbin-Lismore road.
The rock to the right is Cathedral Rock, Needle rock is hidden behind it, slightly left of centre is Thimble rock. The area around the rocks is an aboriginal sacred site.

I found these staghorn ferns near the top of the ridge just to the right of Cathedral rock (see previous photo).

I've wanted to get out of suburbia for a long time and around 1995 started looking seriously at selling the land my house is on and moving the house into a rural area to the west of Ipswich (Ipswich is near Brisbane). I got a quote to move the house and I looked for land. I found some lovely places (which I probably couldn't afford) but after doing some soul searching I decide I couldn't live in the country by myself.
Then I read about communities in their various forms. I talked to a few people about forming a new co-op. My preferred location being in the mountains to the east of Killarney. A few people expressed an interest but the idea never reached critical mass and I gave up on it.
By divine guidance or dumb luck (take your pick), on the next reef trip we shared an Island (Masthead) with a bunch of people from the Nimbin/Lismore area. I got on well with some of them and visited one of the communities near Nimbin a few months later. I was mostly impressed. I still had not visited Nimbin Rocks but decided to check it out.
I've given the subject of communities a page of it's own.

This is the view from the base of Cathedral Rock. The new community house is just visible to the right of the dam. Click the image for a larger version. The horizontal line of trees is the creek which is the eastern property boundary.

When I visit the property I sometimes stay in this house. It's at the southern end away from the rocks. It's a bit rough by city standards - no mains power, water, fridge, phone, TV or mail service. It does have a composting loo, solar lights, gas stove, and a shower. It takes 10 minutes to drive to the front gate then 3 minutes to get to town. There's a gorgeous stretch of creek behind the house - about 5 minutes walk away.

Nimbin Rocks was not quite what I had in mind. My perfect place would be away from main roads, cattle and have less cleared land. It would also have larger, more active and diverse membership, and be closer to Brisbane. The illusion of living in the wilderness is somewhat shattered by the noise of trucks driving past. There are places on the property which are more quiet and secluded but council requirements make these expensive (or impossible) to build on.
On the plus side it has it's a magical places, a share was for sale and I was welcomed. In a nut shell I weight things up and bought a share (after the six month cooling off period).
Things are continually changing. Land usage may well change over time to favor less beefy things such as growing bamboo, timber, (legal) cash crops or even eco-tourism. Co-op legislation has changed making it possible for us to create new classes of membership. Trees are being planted, a greenhouse is being erected - progress is being made.

The view from the veranda is very changeable. The mornings are often beautifully misty and the mountains sometimes hide behind rain showers and clouds.

These lemon trees have been growing wild for decades, along with peach and guava. The rich volcanic soil and reasonable rainfall make Nimbin a good area for growing things - not all of them legal.

I bought my share with the personal goal of having a change of lifestyle by the year 2000. This didn't necessarily mean a house there but something I could live in on a temporary basis and fewer working hours in Brisbane. The education cuts in 1997 put this way ahead of schedule with my job being made redundant. I was also given the use of an existing building so I have somewhere to hang my hat when I visit the property.
My (casual) work, friends and aging parents (one with early stages of dementia) keep me tied to Brisbane to some extent so I haven't relocated yet. Living in two places is the best of both worlds in some ways but it also divides ones energy. It could also place strain on romantic relationships but this isn't an issue at the moment.

Oh yes, the creek I told you about. It's full of life, mostly little stuff, shrimp, fish, crayfish. There are also large mussels which grow to 200mm or so and there are platypus!

Here's the swimming hole. It's full of fish including small rainbows, large mullet and bony brim.

The swimming hole from the other side. The sheoaks of the far bank are being killing by "cats claw" vine. Killing these vines is a priority.

The cascade into the hole.

Ok -so I've got too many photo's of the swimming hole.

As Above.

For the first two years after my joining, most of the co-op energy was directed towards obtaining council approval to move a community house onto the property. Our co-op was the last one in Nimbin to be zoned as multiple occupancy (MO) prior to legislation changes in 1992. Unlike most co-ops in the area we did not build without council approval and obtaining approval was a lengthy expensive process. The list of conditions placed on us was long and was complicated further by the presence of a sacred site and other sensitive areas on the property. In all it took around six years before we could have another house on site - bringing the total number of homes to three. One more house is planned for early 1999 and may be conditional to the intersection of Shipway Road and Lismore Road being upgraded.

On the 18'th of September 1997, we finally got council approval to move this house onto the property. This house will function partly as a community house and partly as a residence. Here one half of the house is being moved into place.

Here the first half is in place.

The property was initially purchased from the Charters family who now run the hardware store in Nimbin (and a good hardware store it is too!). It was purchased around 1981 and divided into eight share-holdings and registered as a co-operative. Co-ops were the way to go in those days but this way well be different now. Some time later the shares were further divided into 16 share-holdings (of 10,000 shares each) and this is still the present situation. The intention was for a village of 16 homes but this is unlikely to eventuate with the present membership. Currently there is only one type of share-holding, all shareholdings are equal. This was a legal requirement. With each share holding comes the right to build a house. Now the law has changed to allow different classes of share-holdings so we *may* look into creating "non-building" share-holdings.

This is a view of the newly moved house as seen from the dairy. The roof isn't finished yet.

I have been interesting in alternate (appropriate) technology for a very long time. Nimbin Rock has given me the opportunity to put this interest into practice. The Nimbin Rocks community do not intend to connect to the utilities. It will be self contained in power generation (mostly PV solar panels), water supply, human waste disposal and gray water treatment. It will connect to the telephone network but this may (or may not) be with wireless technology such as wireless local loop (WLL) if it becomes available. The original farm house in connected to grid power but is not intended to form part of the community village.
Last year (1998), I tried out a few of my ideas and mostly they worked well. You can see what I got up to in my Projects page. One such project was to design and build a low cost chainsaw mill. This not only provides a cheap source of timber for personal and co-op use but also has potential to earn me (and others) some money in a time when work is not as easy to find as it used to be - particularly in Nimbin.

Some of our members own and run Motdang Thai and are sponsors of Nimbin radio's podcasting service

You may also be interested in my free e-book. It is fictional with two chapters set on a community.
My community links have moved to my community page
My green links have moved to my factor 4 page

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