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Nimbin Murals

Nimbin is famous world-over for its colourful main street art and shop-front murals.

Nimbin is famous world-over for its colourful main street art and shop-front murals.

In May 1973, in the lead up to the Aquarius Festival, Australian psychedelic artist, Vernon Treweeke, came up with the original idea to 'paint up' the village of Nimbin. Festival organisers Graeme Dunstan and Johnny Allen assisted in the project and permission was sought from the local shopkeepers.The Rainbow Cafe was the first place painted by Vernon, featuring rainbow stars. This inspired many other artisans, among them Lindsay Burke and Dick Weight, who spread the 'rainbow' theme to neighbouring village buildings.

The Tomato Sauce building was converted from a general store to a food co-op during the Aquarius Festival and was painted by Vernon Treweeke with the famed Tomato explosion.

The RSL was purchased by the Aquarius team, later to become the Media Centre, and was painted with a large Union Jack. In 1978 the front door was painted with the finest brush strokes and remains a valued village icon to this day.

The plumber's shop became the learning exchange with a mural of flying saucers painted by Peter Painter. This survived until 1992 when Susukka Trading replaced it with a mural by Colleen Saulwick from Melbourne.

In 1997, Graeme Dunstan as director of the Lismore Festival of Arts, facilitated a mural project, where local artists designed and painted new murals. Rolf Harris was invited and weaved a story mural, at the Nimbin Hall, while the children looked on and gave instructions. The Rolf Harris mural in the Nimbin Hall was removed in 1990 and a section of that mural was on the Nimbin Museum Rainbow Lane wall prior to the fire.

The mural restoration 90's projects saw the Tomato Sauce building facade become the Hemp Embassy Mardi Grass billboard. Richard Bingham and Bob Hopkins were part of a group who painted the Tomato Sauce building during the Youth Club and Neighbourhood Centre tenancy period. Elspeth Jones painted up the facade to advertise the Nimbin Mardi Grass.

Elspeth also painted throughout the Nimbin Museum, together with Helen Rodriguez and the late Burri Jerome. Dreamtime murals were also painted by the Laurie and Roberts families, commissioned by the Nimbin School of Arts, to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous people.

Alan Barker and Herbie Roberts added bits around town while Burri Jerome, who painted the Nimbin Rocks facade and the interior of the Rainbow Cafe, also painted a new mural over the former Nimbin Garage.

This was recently revamped into a beautiful work of art by Elspeth Jones and Julie de Lorenzo.

The community's commitment to its arts community and culture is permanently on public display, a unique representation of the village's Indigenous and alternative communities. Nimbin's street art enriches the lives of residents and visitors alike, promoting cultural and economic development by attracting Australian and overseas visitors, while providing the community with a visual vehicle to promote issues and values of importance. Street art and village beautification is a priority for the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, working alongside local organisations, businesses, and artists, to maintain and revitalise the colourful and iconic, heritage-listed village streetscape.

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