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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Nimbin on track to restore its heart

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Louise Grenfell outside the Nimbin Bush Theatre building, where Bringabong is being relocated after the fire.
Louise Grenfell outside the Nimbin Bush Theatre building, where Bringabong is being relocated after the fire.

Darren Coyne

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.

Matthew Raikes and his wife Jade. Photo supplied
Matthew Raikes and his wife Jade. Photo supplied

Mr Raikes told Echonetdaily that the refuge operated at the back of the Nimbin Museum so its loss had hit him hard.

But after a call-out on the Nimbin Hook-Ups Facebook page, Mr Raikes’ idea for a fundraiser has started to take shape.

‘Everyone wants to chip in and do everything they can to get things back on track,’ he said.

‘We want a museum back on the site because it really was the heart of the town.’

The fundraiser, to be held in Peace Park, will include children’s activities, a sausage sizzle, a raffle, music and market stalls.

Mr Raikes said all proceeds would be stored in an account to hopefully buy the land, and if not, to relieve the debt of the business owners.

The fundraiser will run from 9am to 4pm, and is being supported by the Nimbin Community Centre and local businesses.

Meanwhile, one of the businesses affected by the fire, Bringabong, is in the process of rebuilding in a new location.

Owners David Hyett and his partner Louise Grenfell have taken out space in the Nimbin Bush Theatre building.

Ms Grenfell told Echonetdaily that the new Bringabong would feature a café, aptly named Pheonix Rising.

She said while the fire had been a shock, it was important to ‘be positive rather than be depressed’.

The business was aiming to open for trading on 4 October, and would be holding a formal opening on 11 October.

The All Tribes business has relocated to a premises near the hardware store in Cullen Street, while the Rainbow Café owners, the Tuntable Cooperative are still waiting for insurance.

Meanwhile, Nimbin Museum founder Michael Balderstone has raised the idea of creating a ‘living museum’ on the site, although the owner of the building which housed the museum has told Echonetdaily that he has no firm plans.

Sydney businessman Richard Andary has said he would like to see ‘what was there restored’.

Mr Balderstone said the Nimbin community would like the opportunity to buy the land, and he welcomed Mr Raikes’ initiative in organising the fundraiser.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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’.


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.


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.


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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