Fire destroyed several historic buildings in the northern NSW town of Nimbin, the site of the 1970s Aquarius Festival, early this morning.
The Nimbin Museum, the village’s key tourism attraction was completely destroyed, along with the adjacent Rainbow Cafe. Neighbouring buildings have also been damaged, including the marijuana paraphenalia shop “Bringabong” and another store, All Tribes.
The Nimbin Museum opened in 1992 and is run by Michael Balderstone, a former stockbroker who dropped out, becoming the village elder, spokesperson and historian. The museum was a ramshackle tribute to the area’s counter-culture history of protest, environmental activism and dope smoking, and won numerous tourism awards.
The cafe is owned by the Tuntable Falls cooperative community.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell inspected the damage this morning, telling Business Insider that while many were in shock, they were already talking about future possibilities.
” There were some tears and hugs. It’s pretty devastating, but the community out there is pretty resilient,” she said
“These two sites were the main, iconic tourist venues for Nimbin and the museum was filled with one-off irreplaceable items. A whole slice of the town’s history, for others to see, has gone.
“There’s still smoke rising from the old Kombi that stuck out the front of the building. The clean up will take some time.”
Police believe the fire was deliberately lit and specialist forensic investigators are combing the site for evidence. Police are appealing for any information about the fire.