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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

A Benny-Fit for Zable

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Benny Zable. Photo Tree Faerie.
Benny Zable. Photo Tree Faerie.

Local environmental-activist Benny Zable, recently injured in a tripod accident, will be honoured in a gala farewell/benefit tomorrow (Thursday) at the Nimbin Bush Theatre.

The  special BennyFit in honour and support of local art activist and international icon Benny Zable.

Benny had a tripod collapse on him at a recent Byron Bay event.

After a brief stay in hospital, Benny has ongoing costs for his rehabilitation. The Benny-fit is a fundraiser to help him with these costs. Benny is also retiring from Nimbin, which has been his regular base since the Aquarius Festival of 1973.

The concert will be hosted by S Sorrensen and will feature a variety of performers who want to help and honour Benny. These artists include Steady Eddy, Mookx Hanley, Diana Anaid and the Nomad Bellydancers of Nimbin.

The award winning documentary Behind the Mask – Benny Zable speaks about his art by David Lowe will be screened along with the world premiere of a new Cloudcatcher Media production Benny Zable – Imagine.

Benny Zable’s life story reads as if Tom Robbins wrote Mad Max. He came from a family of Jewish socialist activists and cannot remember a time when he was not directly involved in some way with the conscientious objection to unethical environmental and human rights issues.

It was during the anti-Vietnam war protests of the early 1970s that Benny became a full-time activist. He travelled to Nimbin during this time and was at the Terania Creek protests. After Terania he and a small band of activists travelled to the mid-north coast of NSW to protest against deforestation.

Benny describes a grim scene: only a few protestors, many police, no cameras, no media. In those days activists did not have the safety that the digital age has enabled.

Benny was arrested and could not return to the scene of the protest. That night he crept in unseen to the scar left that day in the otherwise pristine forest habitat. He sat and meditated all night on the devastation around him – seeking a way he could have more impact, go unseen and make a greater statement. He says that night he had a ‘personal awakening’.

This was the night that Benny donned the mask.

It started as a simple cardboard skull mask. It hid his identity as well as bringing a fresh dramatic approach to protesting that engaged his artistic streak.

By the 1980s, Benny’s gas-masked character ‘Greed Dozer’ had fully emerged. It is Greed Dozer who has appeared in media all over the world since the 1980s when Benny first started his international activism – all from his home base of Nimbin.

A true art activist to the core, Benny developed a clear and distinctive style of banner writing. It has been used in campaigns all over the world and continues to be widely used. Benny has won awards for his efforts to protect the earth and is an official Ambassador for Peace for the Universal Peace Federation. He has been a champion of Indigenous Australians, and holds a deep respect and love for the Aboriginal people of Australia.

‘Nimbin is one of the most progressive places in the world’, says Zable.

‘It’s controversial and a front runner for issues relating to caring for one another, healing the earth and the freedom to express. It has also been a place for the inclusion of Aboriginal people. We learnt a lot from the true custodians of this land.

‘The elders are our leaders. We must care for the Aboriginal people. We must care for their country and listen to them. It always was and always will be Aboriginal land.’

Rainbow Region Gigs in association with The Nimbin Bush Theatre and Cloudcatcher Media will present this special BennyFit with dinner from 6pm at the Phoenix Rising Cafe.

Show starts 7pm in the Bush Theatre. Entry is a suggested donation of $10.

The line-up includes MC S Sorrensen, Diana Anaid, Connor Cleary, Steady Eddy, David Hallett, Mookx Hanly, Ilona Harker, Jarmbi, Sara McCafferty, Davey Bob Ramsey, Jo Satori, Sarah Stando, Luke Vassella, the Nomad Belly dancers – and, of course, there will be a Welcome to Country – plus a few surprises yet to be announced!


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