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January 26, 2022

Future of Nimbin fire site up in the air

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A brick firewall, built following a fire in the 1920s, may have helped save other buildings from being destroyed. (Darren Coyne)
A brick firewall, built following a fire in the 1920s, may have helped save other buildings from being destroyed. (Darren Coyne)

Darren Coyne

Sydney businessman Richard Andary has ‘no plans’ for the site on which the Nimbin Museum and adjacent shops once stood before a fire last month.

Sydney businessman Richard Andary, owner of the site where the Nimbin Museum and shops once stood. (file pic)
Sydney businessman Richard Andary, owner of the site where the Nimbin Museum and shops once stood. (file pic)

Mr Andary told Echonetdaily the demolition of the site was ongoing and he had spoken to a couple of architects but nothing had been decided.

Nimbin Museum founder Michael Balderstone said the community would like to see the site transformed into an open-air meeting place, a ‘living museum of people’.

Mr Balderstone said the community would like the opportunity to purchase the site by crowd funding, but the owner would not set a price.

Prior to the fire it’s understood a figure of $1.2 million had been set, although Mr Andary maintains it ‘wasn’t on the market’.

Mr Balderstone said attempts had been made to get a price from Mr Andary, with the possible figure of $500,000 put forward.

‘It may be a fantasy but we would like the opportunity to buy it by crowd funding,’ Mr Balderstone said.

‘We would need at least three months to try to raise the amount but he (Mr Andary) won’t give us a price.’

Mr Andary would not be drawn on a price when approached by Echonetdaily.

‘Someone spoke to me about it being a community space but we have no plans at this stage,’ he said.

‘I reserve my rights on this one. No real offer has been put forward and that’s the bottom line.’

He did say it was most likely that ‘we would reinstate shops and what was there before’.

Michael Balderstone surveys the site of what used to be the Nimbin Museum. Photo Darren Coyne
Michael Balderstone surveys the site of what used to be the Nimbin Museum. Photo Darren Coyne

Meanwhile, contractors cleared away the last of the debris from the site yesterday, hauling away tonnes of rubble.

With much of it likely to be contaminated with asbestos, Mr Balderstone said nothing had been able to be salvaged.

The contaminated rubble is destined for a disused coal mine in the Ipswich area of Queensland, according to the contractors.

Mr Balderstone said most locals agreed that the village needed more open space, adding that his ultimate dream would be to have a legal, regulated cannabis market on the site.

Rainbow lane, between the Rainbow Cafe and the museum, had been a popular spot for dealing cannabis to tourists.

Since the fire, the dealers are operating at various sites around the village, although regular police patrols are keeping them on the hop.

Meanwhile, the Tuntable Falls Community Co-operative, which owned the Rainbow Cafe, is still considering its options.

The site was insured for $330,000 but the Co-op was still waiting on the insurance company to make an offer.

Police investigations into the fire are continuing.


More stories about the Nimbin Fire

Plan to rebuild Nimbin’s ‘heart’ gathers pace

The new owners of the former Nimbin Museum site and associated shops will meet with staff at the Lismore City Council tomorrow.

0

Nimbin considers future of sites following fire

The future of the iconic buildings burnt to the ground in Nimbin in August is still up in the air.

1

Nimbin on track to restore its heart

A fundraiser will be held this Saturday aimed at ‘Restoring the Heart’ of Nimbin. The fundraiser is the initiative of Matthew Raikes, who was born in Nimbin, where his mother Cathie McIntosh ran a youth refuge for nearly ten years.

0

Future of Nimbin fire site up in the air

Sydney businessman Richard Andary has ‘no plans’ for the site on which the Nimbin Museum and adjacent shops once stood before a fire last month.

1

Police appeal for witnesses to Nimbin fire

Police have issued an appeal to anyone who may have seen ‘a number of people’ in Nimbin’s main street shortly before a fire broke out which gutted the Nimbin Museum, Rainbow Café and other buildings last week.

1

Nimbin clean-up gets underway

The clean-up of Nimbin as begun. Heavy machinery moved onto the site of last week’s fire this morning to begin the process of removing damaged awnings and other debris.

1

The man who holds Nimbin’s heart in his hands

The millionaire owner of the building that housed the Nimbin Museum wants to restore it so that it is ‘better than before’.

3

Nimbin laments loss as fire investigations continue

Nimbin has been left reeling following a fire which destroyed the Nimbin Museum, Rainbow Cafe, and a number of other businesses yesterday morning. But in true hippie spirit, locals are already talking about what will rise from the ashes, as police investigate the cause of the blaze.

3

Here & Now #67: Nimbin, my place of dreams

I came to Nimbin in the early 80s, a refugee from north Queensland where the police had taken to shooting hippies. Keen to try something new, I started working. The Rainbow Cafe had been empty for some months so my north Queensland family and I took over the lease.

5

Nimbin’s iconic buildings go up in smoke

Nimbin has lost some of its most iconic buildings including the Nimbin Museum and Rainbow Cafe in a fire that ripped through the heart of the village early this morning.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Maybe a new police station complex with 360 degree viewing booth staffed 24hrs ? A drug and alcohol centre with rehab and information booth on living a drug free, productive life?
    Army Reserve barracks? With work for the dole facility ?

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