Hippy counterculture and the Main Arm area lost one of its heroes last week when Doug Manning died at home with his family and loved ones after a long battle with cancer at the age of 61.
Cheeky, laconic and likeable, Doug’s early life and schooling showed that he had plenty of talent in mechanics, music and communication, but didn’t quite ‘fit into the box’.
His easygoing manner and gift of the gab saw him talk his way into and out of trouble with equal ease. At 14 and nine months, he left school and travelled in Western Australia, QLD and Victoria, meeting first wife Sue and starting a family.
His skills as a boilermaker and studies in early childhood education served well enough to keep the wolves from the door.
Doug found his niche when he came to the north coast in 1980, establishing himself at the famous Tuntable Falls commune in Nimbin and, in, an area that celebrates its characters, he more than held his own.
This attracted the attention of life partner Ingrid, who first kissed Doug at a gig at Durrumbul Hall in 1997 and was to marry him there some years later.
Together they ran the popular Wacky Wax stall at the local markets where a generation of kids had fun and got creative making candles under Doug’s always colourful tutelage.
A true Aussie character with a lightning wit, he guided and entertained visitors to the area, running the Nimbin Bus tours from Byron Bay, and it would be true to say that his fame is worldwide as many a backpacker from England, Germany or Japan has taken his anecdotes and photos home with them.
Doug and Ingrid’s long association with Durrumbul Hall began in 1998, when they took on the role of caretakers and wove themselves into the fabric of the Main Arm community. No stranger to hard work, he could turn his hand to tasks such as re-stumping a house or changing the transmission on his beloved red bus, then with equal facility pick up his mandolin or flute to have a jam.
Doug’s intelligence, caring nature, humour, talent and positivity gained him a wide circle of friends and an indelible place in local history.
Dec 7 send-off
Fittingly his send-off will be at Durrumbul Hall, which has seen the benefit of so much of his energy and skills over the years.
Friends and community members are invited to attend from 2pm this Thursday, December 7, to celebrate his life and loves and to offer respects and farewells to a true character and champion of the local area. Please wear colourful clothes, bring a plate, a drink and lots of Dougie love to share.