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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Nimbin’s Aquarius Festival interviews now available

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A photo taken during the 1973 Aquarius Festival. (supplied)
A photo taken during the 1973 Aquarius Festival. (supplied)

Seventy-five hours of interviews with Nimbin locals about the 1973 Aquarius Festival have been released online, with a plea to ‘digital volunteers’ to help transcribe them.

Using a new innovative online tool called Amplify, developed by the State Library of NSW in partnership with the New York Public Library, anyone from anywhere can now search, listen to and help transcribe the audio collection.

Acting NSW State Librarian and Chief Executive Lucy Milne said Amplify would give the public unparalleled access to the library’s extensive oral history collection, which contains over 13,000 hours of digital sound recordings to be explored and transcribed.

The first audio collection available on Amplify is from the library’s historic Rainbow Archive, which documents how the alternative lifestyle and counter- culture movement came to northern NSW in the 1970s.

‘With a wonderful cast of characters and incredible stories about Nimbin and the 1973 Aquarius Festival that transformed the region, the Rainbow Archive is the perfect collection to launch Amplify,’ State Library curator Alison Wishart said.

Early hippies basking in the sun. (supplied)
Early hippies basking in the sun. (supplied)

‘The Archive contains 75 hours of entertaining and enthralling interviews about this fascinating period in our recent history and is really a delightful collection. You won’t want to stop listening,’ says Ms Wishart.

She said the library was hoping to recruit a community of digital volunteers around the world for the important task of transcribing the interviews so that more people could learn about the amazing stories they hold.

Interviews with Sydney Harbour Bridge builders, Holocaust survivors and Indigenous communities are some of the other amazing stories in the Library’s collection, with plans to release more digitised oral histories over the coming months.

To start exploring, visit amplify.sl.nsw.gov.au


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