Brian Bruce, an elder of the Mullumbimby alternative community, a source of love and security for many, died on Tuesday evening.
He passed peacefully and, ironically for those who knew him, quickly, at home in the company of his beloved wife Margi and son Liam.
He was 75.
Brian was born in Gundagai and was a country boy who loved fishing and hunting with his brother Don. That life changed at 14 when his father died, and he went to Canberra Grammar School before studying economics at Sydney University.
After a stint of stockbroking and travelling, he returned to academic life at the University of NSW during the early 1970s and took to the hippy lifestyle and values.
He first came to Mullumbimby with Margi and Sam in 1977, drawn to the area after meeting David Miller at the first Down to Earth Festival at the Cotter a year earlier. Stuffing their split-screen Kombi with the cushions they used to make and sell at the Paddington Markets in Sydney, they embarked upon a new life.
Not long passed before they moved into the house that became known as ‘The house with the Kombis’, where Brian and Margi had two more children, Amy and Liam.
There they created a most special and welcoming space for their friends and family.
Along with Ian Howden, Brian was instrumental in introducing homeopathy and flower essences to the wider local community and empowering people to look after themselves.
He was a gently passionate man, who loved nothing more than to see his family happy and healthy. And he was a man of simple needs.
All he needed was a cup of tea, his chair, and a friend or client (there was no difference for him) to chat to.
He operated on true ‘Mullum Time’ where life was not to be rushed, but savoured, where there was always time for another cup of tea, and another yarn, where human connection and communication was valued above all else. His door was always open, creating a space where people entered as clients and left as friends, and friends entered, leaving as family.
His heart was open, his ear was patient and he could offer up more than a homeopathic dose of dry wit and sage advice.
As a collaborator in the genesis of Durrumbul Preschool, Durrumbul Hall, Cape Byron Steiner School and The Crystal Castle, Brian’s presence in the fabric of Mullumbimby and the greater Byron Shire will be forever evident.
His artful chuckle, his great wisdom and kindness will be greatly missed and Mullumbimby will be a little different now. In the community he held so dear, he lives on. Vale, Brian.
Friends and family will gather to celebrate the Life of Brian at Durrumbul Hall at 1pm this Sunday, May 21.