It is the self-proclaimed cannabis capital of Australia, but some Nimbin residents want their community known as more than a drug destination.
A marketing campaign called Faces of Nimbin has just been launched with the aim of debunking the stereotypical image of the village as a drug-takers’ haven.
Lismore City Council’s tourism services coordinator Andrew Walker said the concept was created by the Nimbin Marketing Campaign Focus Group, set up to boost tourism after the 2014 fires that destroyed several local businesses, including the Nimbin Museum.
“Nimbin is a melting pot of dynamic individuals and the reason it’s so special is because it celebrates its diversity and individuality,” Mr Walker said.
“That’s what brings the myriad of visitors from all over Australia and the world there every day.
“We wanted to get the message out there that Nimbin’s full of thinkers, artisans, comedians, farmers and lots of different types of people with a myriad of beliefs, pastimes, past lives and talents.”
Mr Walker said visitors who travelled to the village on day trips often did not see past the cannabis puns on tie-dyed t-shirts.
“Once you spend more than a few hours there, you start to understand what an eclectic community it is and that the community has strength and comes together for a lot of different reasons,” he said.
“There’s a sense of community with all of the different sporting clubs [and] organisations as well as our poetry, our artists and activists.
“We’re hoping to highlight Nimbin to people who may have already heard of it but perhaps aren’t fully aware that there’s something there for everybody.”
The Faces of Nimbin campaign features images by photographer NATSKY of 15 locals who will be featured on the Visit Nimbin website and in social media campaigns.
One of the featured subjects is village baker Darren Butcher who is a fourth-generation Nimbin resident.
“I’m a proud Nimbinite, and I think it’s time to let people know there are ‘other’ people here,” Mr Butcher said.
“[The stereotype] gets a bit upsetting and you get a bit defensive when it was where you are born and bred.
“When you meet people the first time and tell them where you’re from, they’re often a bit shocked and you have to tell them there are ‘normal’ people out there too.”
However, Mr Butcher said the conservative residents of the village lived harmoniously alongside the more alternative residents.
“My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all dairy farmers and, like so many others, with the demise of that industry in the 1960s we moved onto other things,” he said.
“The community back in the 70s needed a change; the dairy industry was struggling, and the Aquarius Festival brought along a new lease on life for the town.
“Everyone’s respectful of everyone’s point of view and chips in when they’re needed.”
Mr Butcher said he hoped the campaign would bring tourists to the village who were interested in a diverse range of experiences.
“I enjoy being there every day, seeing all the local people and meeting all the tourists,” he said.
“Sometimes people are after cookies and they want happy cookies, and I say I’ve got lots with smarties in them but I’m not sure that’s what they’re after.”
The first stage of the Faces of Nimbin campaign runs until Easter, when Lismore and Nimbin Tourism hope to add more photos and faces to the collection.