Document Type

Article

Publication details

Garbutt, R 2014, "Aquarius and beyond: thinking through the counterculture. M/C Journal, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. e911.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

This paper is shaped by personal experience of time and place. In January 1973 I was a 12-year-old child living in the conservative, rural town of Lismore, northern New South Wales. Twenty miles to the north was the village of Nimbin. The Australian Union of Students had just chosen the village as the site of the second Aquarius Festival, a biannual arts and cultural festival, and at a town meeting the village agreed. The Festival, held later that May, altered the course of history for Nimbin from a declining banana and dairy economy, to countercultural capital of Australia. The village now attracts a daily crowd of tourists from the nearby global backpacker destination of Byron Bay, who are in search of something of the ’70s in 2014. Nimbin is a country village where shops are rarely vacant and the commercial buzz is mixed with drumming and incense. As Lismore is the closest service town to Nimbin, it also experienced changes, albeit more subtly. To its then predominantly rural, agricultural and conservative outlook, Lismore added a countercultural current that flows through and around the town to this day. It brought new people, books, clothes, music, ideas, religions, architecture, therapies, foods, medicines, politics, celebrations… I’m not sure I could make the list comprehensive.

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