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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

My favourite Valentine

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Photo Jeff Dawson
Photo Jeff Dawson

By Aslan Shand and Brian Mollet

He is spoken of in hushed and respectful tones by the tattooed and the dreadlocked hipster-doofers to whom the ultimate badge of honour is to head bush and boogie all night with him. His letters to the editor show erudition, keen intellect and deep application of the ethical and philosophical, as well as the logical. His uncluttered low-impact lifestyle suits him well and must be the envy of many a stressed and over committed mortgage slave. If you wanted to find the exemplar of ‘living the dream’ it would be hard to go past the sage from the hills, James Valentine Nutter.

Jim or Jimmy Nutter was awarded the Echo’s own eccentric of the year award in 2006 and was one of the first hippies to move to the area and set up a community, Nerada, up the top of Main Arm outside Mullumbimby.

He had headed up from Melbourne in the early 1970s in his beetle with old friend Kenny Moate and they stayed opposite his mother who was living in Banora Point. ‘I felt that the cities were fucked,’ said Jim. ‘We were looking for land in the Tweed and we ended up here.’

‘He was one of the original shareholders in the Nerada community along with Kenny Moate, Jan Praetz and Damien Wilkinson,’ said friend Liz Jackson. ‘They called the company that set up the community the Cosmic Song and Dance Company. He’s a mad doofer and dancer.’

‘Doof parties – I bumped into them about 1993,’ said Jim. ‘I’d given up dancing to rock ’n’ roll it’s too predictable. I like to freestyle. To me it is about illustrating the music. Dancing in the space. I don’t like disco or house and funk is very, very boring. Good electronic music is going somewhere all the time and changing dynamics.’

‘I remember one morning I was just about to turn onto Main Arm Road when I saw Jimmy coming past on his motor bike,’ said another friend Ron Priestley. ‘He was going really slowly as he came up to the corner but then just kept going straight ahead into the bush. I jumped out of the car to check he was ok, he’d been off dancing all night and just fell asleep on his way back. He was going so slow by that point he wasn’t hurt – classic Jim.’

A passion for rocks and Aboriginal culture has filled Jim’s life, and house, with rocks and he has provided parts of his collection to Southern Cross University for study. Around his house Jim has found plenty of evidence of Aboriginal culture. ‘The pool is the first mirror of humanity, rocks are the second face,’ said Jim as he showed me photos of the many rocks he has collected over the years. The striking shapes of faces that can be recognised in them is remarkable. ‘I think it is part of a cult of sharing beautiful stones, picture stones. You can see them best in the late afternoon in the tangental lighting. Most people tend to see the world as physical but it’s all connected. We are really seeing a sea of consciousness that expresses itself in different forms around us.

‘Serendipity is my favourite Goddess. I see our main function on Earth as explorers of both the environment and the inner realm.’

On Valentines Day Jim celebrates his 80th birthday. He is inviting all his family and friends to join him in celebration this Saturday 18 February at Durrubmbul Hall from 3pm – with the reminder to please not to bring your dog.

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  1. Many happy returns Jim – hope you have a great day (and year). A good coffee with something sweet in Mullum gallery would be nice – . from Yoga and Sanatan.

  2. Happy Birthday Jim! You are truly ageless. I had the good fortune to be a guest at Nerada when both Jim and Kenny Moate were there in the early 1980’s. I remember having my eyes opened up in an entirely new way when I was shown how to see the faces and images in the stones and rocks. They were so clearly there. We were all living naked on the hill in those days and I remember Jim used to keep a pair of shorts in his letter box at the bottom of the driveway for trips to town.He would slip then on and take them off and put them back when he got back to walk back up the hill. Naked and free again.Your wisdom, grace and vitality continue to be an inspiration to me as the years click over.

  3. Happy Birthday Jim. You are truly ageless. your wisdom,grace and energy are an inspiration to me as the years click over. I had the pleasure of being a guest on Nerada when both Jim and Kenny Moate were there in the late ’70’s/early80’s. I remember having my eyes opened in new ways when I was shown -And clearly saw the faces and images in the stones and rocks. We were all naked on the Mountain in those days and I remember that Jim used to leave a pair of shorts in the letterbox at the bottom of the driveway for trips to town. They would come off again on his return as he walked back up the hill naked and free. Keep living long and free and in mind and body, mountain man!

  4. Wow. My mother and I lived across the street from you at banora point. Carole and dreuin Ellison
    I still have the photo of burning candles you took…
    Happy birthday


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