Welcome to the Nimbin Community Centre
Located in the heart of Nimbin Town is our vibrant and colourful Community Centre.
The Nimbin Community Centre is a hub for community services & non-profit groups working in Nimbin, and represents the diversity, creativity and versatility of our local community.
The people of Nimbin are proud to have this valuable asset in community hands forever.
The village of Nimbin is situated 30 kilometres north west of Lismore and is the service centre for a much larger district population. In the 2011 Census the population of Nimbin is 1,668 and is comprised of 48.7% females and 51.3% males. Due to a high level of transient visitation plus anecdotal accounts of statistical non-compliance within the alternative culture, it is likely that ABS figures underestimate the actual population serviced by the village. Within the Lismore Local Government Area, Nimbin functions as a district centre in its own righ tand has become a service town to the hamlets of Blue Knob, Tuntable Creek, Lillian Rock, Bishops Creek, Stony Chute, Coffee Camp and Larnook. Residents of Mt Burrell and Barkers Vale (within neighbouring Tweed & Kyogle Shires) also use the village services.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE SITE
|In 1904 Mr. Hugh Thorburn donated two acres of land to the Department of Public Instruction for the purpose of providing a secure site for a school in Nimbin. Mr. Thorburn had housed the original school, established in his barn in 1891. In 1906 the first schoolroom (today's Bark Hut) was built. By 1910 a new school building and residence for the teacher (today's Banksia House) had been constructed and a fig tree was planted to mark the official opening. By this time the school had 120 pupils enrolled.
Additions in 1917 and 1927 created the Acacia House of today. In the late 1920s the department bought two acres of land across the road from the school, for playing fields and paddocks for the students’ horses. Originally this land was acquired for teaching animal husbandry and agriculture but became the school’s playing fields and horse paddock, as many students came to the school on horseback. This land is now the Nimbin Peace Park. In 1935 enrolments jumped to 188, a figure not to be surpassed in the primary school until 1990. 1950, 1963 and 1966 saw new classroom buildings constructed. The last of these, at a cost of $60,000 was the brick science block (Casuarina Building). Form 2 planted the cypress trees in the front of the school in 1965. The Aquarius Festival in 1973 saw new people move to the area and a gradual rise in school numbers. In 1977 the art and craft room (Bottlebrush Studio) was constructed and 1981 saw the first improvements to the playing fields - pipes, fill and leveling.
In 1987, due to increasing enrollments, the primary school was moved to temporary accommodation in the village. A new Primary School was constructed in 1995. In 1997 Nimbin Central School was completed to house both Primary and Secondary students, vacating the original school site, an historical occasion for the community of Nimbin.
ACQUISITION OF THE SITE
Armed with the knowledge that a new school was to be constructed, the Nimbin community was faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to keep the very heart of Nimbin in the hands of the community forever, an opportunity to create a focus for community activities and beautiful parkland. The Department of School Education offered the two sites, the old school grounds and the now Peace Park, to Lismore City Council for $280,000, approximately half their commercial value.
In August 1995 a community committee was established to explore the option of purchasing the site and in 1996 council agreed to buy this land for Nimbin, provided that the community itself raised $140,000 prior to purchase and undertook to repay the balance, plus any funds required for development of the site, over the following ten years.
So began a period of tireless fundraising and by January 1998 the community had raised the $140,000 required by council. Major financial contributions towards this figure included:
$37,000 Nimbin Community School Cooperative who sold a building to finance their contribution.
$30,000 "Visions of Nimbin" trade and cultural expo.
$30,000 grant from Casino Community Benefit Fund.
Significant donations from numerous individuals and organisations within Nimbin community.
The additional funds were raised through a multitude of fundraising activities.
While fundraising was underway the Nimbin Community Development Association (NCDA) was incorporated as a non-profit community organisation.
NCDA undertook extensive community consultation to develop the vision for the sites and a long-term plan to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability. NCDA subsequently became custodians and managers of the sites on behalf of the wider community, facilitated through a lease between NCDA and Lismore Council.
Acquisition of the sites saw two subdivisions take place. One created land for the Nimbin Volunteer Bushfire Brigade where a new fire shed was constructed. The other enabled Lismore City Council to build new public toilets, following closure of the public toilets belonging to the Nimbin School of Arts.
The loan with Lismore City Council was paid up in full in 2008. This was achieved through the fundraising initiatives and grants listed above, and through rental income from local groups and community services who rented spaces in the community centre. At the same time NCDA changed their name to Nimbin Community Centre Inc. and took the title to Nimbin Community Centre in July 2008.
After much negotiation, a few false starts, some intensive negotiations with neighbors the Nimbin Skate park was finally constructed in the Peace Park area in 2011. Whilst the completion of the project was supported and facilitated by the Nimbin Community Centre as an important part of our support for youth facilities and infrastructure we soon discovered that as an unfunded organisation dependent on tenant rents to fund out activities we could not afford the insurance required to cover the skate park (at the time the quote was over $10,000). As a result the Nimbin Community Centre could no longer afford to keep the Peace Park area and so after some negotiation they gifted the Peace Park area to the Lismore City Council who could afford the required insurance in 2012.
7 SIBLEY STREET SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT
|In January 2012 the community became aware that 7 Sibley Street in Nimbin would be auctioned in late February 2012, and the Team Leader of the Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC) together with the Secretary of the Nimbin Community Centre (NCCI) met with Gary Murphy, General Manager of Lismore City Council and submitted to Council a Project Plan with a view to Council purchasing the site for the purposes of the NNIC's identified "Sustainability Hub" project.|
In the meantime NNIC commenced a fundraising campaign and around fifteen thousand ($15,000.00) dollars were pledged by community members towards the purchase of the site by the date of the auction.
A few days prior to the auction Council advised that it was unable to purchase the site or assist with financial contributions towards its purchase due to budgetary constraints. As the property was passed in at auction, NNIC continued to seek pledges from the community.
By late March 2012 pledges had increased to around thirty thousand ($30,000.00) dollars and NNIC had committed fifteen thousand ($15,000.00). Gerhard Weihermann (“the Mortgagor”) approached NNIC and offered to provide bridging finance to enable the purchase of the site, on the condition that NCCI take title over the property.
The Mortgagor's reasons for this included:
NCCI offers a greater security for the loan given its asset base;
NCCI has significant experience in property management;
This will enable NNIC to focus on the development and implementation of the project;
The potential for NCCI to regain ownership of the adjoining former skate park/basketball court thus expanding the potential for the project;
A partnership between NCCI and NNIC will increase the collective energy and experience behind the project.
An initial offer of one hundred and forty ($140,000.00) dollars was made and accepted, but the property was eventually purchased in May 2012 for the sum of $145,000.00 plus $2,000.00 legal costs.
Donations to the project have been made by community members on the understanding that the site will be used for the Sustainable Living Hub project. The parties acknowledge their obligation to honour the considerable community good will and funds contributed to the purchase of the site for the purposes of the project.
In 2017 once the site was secured and paid for (2016) the Nimbin Community Centre entered into an MOU with the Nimbin Neighborhood and Information Centre to define the terms of their joint ownership (50% each) and partnership in this important community Project. The NCCI agreed to remain silent partners with the NNIC taking control and responsibility for the development of the Sibley Street project. Under the terms of the agreement NCCI also agreed that once the Neighborhood Centre had increased their equity in the site to 75% of the value of the site, the NCCI would transfer full ownership of the site to NNIC. We are pleased to announce that in December 2019 the transfer of full ownership of the 7 Sibley Street Site and the Sustainability project to NNIC has occurred. Stephanie Seckold is the Coordinator of this wonderful community project and the space now hosts work shops and volunteers projects to develop the site. More information about how to get involved can be found at http://nnic.org.au
THE BIRTH AND BEYOND STORY
In 2013, following a protracted legal dispute over ownership, Nimbin Community Centre took title to Birth & Beyond at 54 Cullen Street, a building with a long and varied history. Built on the main street of Nimbin around 1906 it has housed a barber’s shop, a billiard room, a boot store, an auctioneer’s and the local branch of the RSL. In 1973 it was purchased for $500 from the RSL to serve as a hub for the Aquarius Festival. Following the festival the building was sold to six individuals for $500 plus costs.
Since 1973 the building has continued as a community meeting place and provided a home for many organisations including; Birth & Beyond, Treeworks, the Nightcap Action Group, a local Down to Earth branch, Nimbin Film Society, Rainbow Information Centre which gave birth to Nimbin News and Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre, Seedsavers, and Brackets & Jam folk nights.
It has also provided a healing space for many health practitioners of various disciplines, and birthed successful local businesses such as Rainbow Power Company and Fashionating.
In 1990 Nimbin Apothecary, an herbal and homeopathic dispensary, was established alongside Nimbin Environment Centre. Once sharing the same room, both have long established themselves as core tenants of Birth & Beyond, growing and prospering independently as valued community services.
In 2013 Nimbin Community Centre purchased the building from four of the six post Aquarian owners for $200,000. The remaining two owners, Co-ordination Co-operative Limited (Tuntable Falls Community) and Gael Knefner, donated their shares in the building.
Birth & Beyond is now in community ownership, secure for future generations, and continues to be used by a diverse range of community organisations and local healers. NCC would like to publicly acknowledge Tuntable Falls Community for their additional and generous financial contribution to this outcome. We would also like to thank the community member who assisted the Community Centre’s acquisition with an interest free loan.
11a ALTERNATIVE WAY
|The Nimbin Community Centre is excited, pleased and proud to announce the successful acquisition of the property at 11a Alternative Way for the Nimbin Rainbow Road Walking Track Project. The contracts were signed by the Nimbin Community Centre Executive and the deposit was paid just before Christmas 2020. This parcel of land is integral for the success of the Rainbow Road Project and when it became available for purchase while the funding application for the Rainbow Road Project was being developed we saw an opportunity to secure this for the community. The Rainbow Road crosses this beautiful undeveloped 2.29 ha property.|
Its acquisition will enable the community to develop the land surrounding Rainbow Road into a park incorporating bird watching, picnic areas, interpretive signage, a sculpture park and, importantly, rehabilitation of a significant wetland within the village boundary.There is a proposal to call the area Aquarius Park as an acknowledgment of the significance that that initial festival with its “Aquarian” ideal is, to the history, development and culture of the village since then.
Finance for Acquisition: The recent acquisition of 11a Alternative Way has been financed by Nimbin Community Centre, Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, Jungle Patrol Street Cleaning and Security, Nimbin Hemp Embassy, and Nimbin Headers Sports Club in partnership with Rainbow Power Company. There has been much behind the scenes work between these groups to secure the funds for this offer. That the community has raised the funds required to acquire the property is testament to community enthusiasm and commitment to the Rainbow Road project.
Donations: The Nimbin Community Centre is still seeking donations from the wider community for the acquisition. We have 60 days from the signing to complete the payment for the purchase and it would be great if we could get donations in before that date (21st of February). In order to secure the sale NCC needed to dip into funds set aside for capital works at the Centre and it would be great if we could recover some of that commitment. We couldn’t start a public campaign to seek donations earlier as it would have weakened our position when negotiating a purchase price. Any donation no matter how big or small would be gratefully accepted and would be dedicated to this wonderful project.
If anyone would like to contribute to this project they can deposit funds into a dedicated account:
Summerland Credit Union- BSB 728 728
The Nimbin Community Centre
Project A Account- 22269890
Please put your name with the deposit as we would love to keep a record of and acknowledge the generosity of individuals from our community. You can also go into the Summerland Credit Union and ask for the Rainbow Road Account.
The 11a Alternative Way block is marked in blue.