Hemp Building Fundraiser

The Hemp Building Workshop was a HUGE SUCCESS!

Thank you to Klara Marosszeky (Australian Hemp Masonry Company), Guy Stewart and Natalie Meyer (Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre), Jenny Creasy, Julia DesBrosses and Binnah Powell (Northern Rivers Hemp Association), Vicki Thrower, and all the other helpers!

We raised $4,000 towards the project and introduced 15 more people to the wonders of working with Hemp Masonry.

Feedback from the group was absolutely fantastic, rating it 5/5. With one participant describing it as the best two-day workshop they’d ever attended.

If you missed out, fill in the form below and we will contact you when we have another opportunity to get involved.

PreWorkshop Promotion

Promo flier for hemp building worksho





Open Gardens 2013

Thank You for an Amazing Event!

The Open House and Gardens was an huge success!

Thank you to all the people who opened their homes and to the incredible team of Volunteers who organised it, especially Diana Roberts and the Nimbin Community Centre.

Over $5,000 was raised on the weekend!

The information below is here for historical reasons.

Open house and garden etiquette and information

These homes, farms and gardens have been created with a lot of love, dedication and hard work.
The owners have generously agreed to open them to the public to raise funds for the 7 Sibley Street Sustainable Living Hub project.

Out of respect for their work, and care for the sometimes fragile plants, animals and objects in their environments, we ask that you follow some basic rules.

Strictly no cats or dogs (except guide dogs).

Respect the privacy of your hosts. Do not enter houses except on open house tours or with the householder’s consent.

Please don’t enter sheds, outbuildings or animal enclosures unless invited. Please refrain from picking flowers, fruit, vegies etc.
No taking cuttings or offshoots. If you ask your hosts they may oblige. Park in marked areas only. Please follow signs.

Check toilet availability before arriving at a house/garden.
To avoid damaging plants, no bush-bashing; stick to obvious paths.

Parents: please supervise children.
Some gardens and farms may have water features and other hazards that could pre- sent a safety risk. Others may have young animals that could be frightened by chil- dren handling them.

Thank you to all the people who generously opened their houses, farms and gardens, and conducted the tours.
Houses and gardens:
Diana Roberts, Samuel Herren, Jim Sinclair, Karl Langheinrich and Wendy Sarkissian, Pam Craven, Mandie Hale.

Farms: Paul Wilson and Kerry Wilson, Silvia Kramer, James Creagh, Mark, James and Wendy Wright.
Tours: Robyn Francis, Ben Grose, Peter Hardwick, Sue Edmonds, Pauline Ahern.

Thanks to all the many people who gave their time to help in numerous ways including helping at the venues, sitting at information stalls or cooking cakes. There are too many to personally acknowledge but you know who you are, and that you have helped us to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Thanks also to Nat Meyer for taking on many extra voluntary tasks as well as her usual demanding workload.

The organising committee: Cat Anderson, Diana Roberts, Jim Sinclair, Mandie Hale.

89 Cecil St: Open garden

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This 10-acre property is part of one of the original farming properties in Nimbin. The beautiful federation farmhouse known as ‘Bellevue’ was built in 1896 by the Stewart family, and the property itself once included Nimbin Showground, Jarlanbah, Djanbung Gardens, Rivendell, Belleridge and more. The property has stunning views en- compassing Nimbin Rocks, Lillian Rock, Blue Knob, the Nightcap and the Border Ranges.

The well-kept, established garden is home to many different types of palms, massive fig trees, over 30 different types of food bearing trees, bamboo groves, bunya nut pines, hoop pines, she-oaks, staghorn, elk ferns and much more.

Surrounding the house are camellias, fan palms, orchids, gardenias, magnolias, rho- dodendrons, aspidistras, maidenhair fern, Davidson’s plums, bromeliads, cliveas and a huge variety of lush undergrowth, as well as mysterious pathways and sunny glades. There are bird-baths and water features, sitting areas for quiet contemplation and a palpable sense of peace surrounds the property.

Weather permitting it will be possible to walk through dappled gullies complete with bangalow palms, ferns, stags, quandongs and various other rainforest plantings. There is also a well-established and prolific vegetable garden. No garden of this na- ture is complete without healthy hens foraging around.

Diana & Sam will be serving morning and afternoon tea on their back verandah, over- looking Nimbin Rocks, complete with espresso coffee, a wide range of herbal teas (Diana is a herbalist) and Sam’s famous and sought-after crème caramel.

Highlights at a glance:

Extensive well maintained gardens with a wide variety of plants, a vegetable garden and rainforest plantings.
Delicious morning and afternoon teas with espresso coffee served on the verandah of a beautiful historic house.

Beautiful views.


Access: good
Toilet: yes
Parking: Yes, signed
Wheelchair access: Some. Drive up to house for drop-off Picnic: Yes, plenty of picnic spots

Walagala, 2/269 Upper Tuntable Falls Rd: house and garden

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A visit to this interesting semi-circular, solar passive sustainable house with its beautifully maintained landscaped gardens offers a chance to see what’s good about Alternate living. This home on a small friendly community has been a labour of love for the owners over many years, allowing it to be reasonably low on cost and high on creativity. The house was de- signed after calculating the angle of the sun for each day of the year, ensuring it is warm in winter, cool in summer, and low in energy use. The house opens onto a large plant filled pa- tio area, and the house and a small art studio sit within two acres of mature gardens.

In the house, a spacious lounge and kitchen area opens onto an atrium featuring a small deep goldfish pond which acts as a heat sink and ensures a cool cross breeze between the main bedroom and the bathroom. Double storey windows let in maximum sunlight in winter, warming the water, and in summer admit no direct sun, maintaining the coolness. The white walled atrium functions as a light-filled gallery space for paintings and sculptures as well as a home for sensitive house-plants. It opens onto a tropical pool area.

The interior features creative use of colour, and has a warm and earthy feel, filled with local and indigenous artworks and an eclectic mix of rugs and textiles from the owners’ travels. Flowers, books, and well-curated collections of interesting objects feature here.
A variety of building materials have been used including tumbled brick (both plain and ren- dered) sand/sawdust/cement infill, hardwood timber, and recycled materials. The colourful kitchen features curving red quartzite bench-tops installed by a local stonemason.

Although the house is connected to mains electricity, 16 solar panels feed into the grid and provide a back-up system for the house, and hot water is produced by a heat pump. Heating in winter is a wood heater, using timber from the property. The water supply is rainwater. A composting toilet ensures low water usage and recycles waste.

The house is surrounded by two acres of gardens landscaped according to the terrain. Steps and paths wind through a decorative sub-tropical garden of massed foliage plantings beneath small trees, palms and tamarillos, and lead to a small creek shaded by rainforest trees plant- ed over the last thirty years. Flat open areas of lawn are planted with native trees including culinary, mass plantings of native and exotic flowering shrubs, and a wide variety of citrus trees. There’s an extensive bromeliad collection. A sunny cottage garden surrounds the house and studio. A large walled organic vegetable garden keeps out the wildlife and fea- tures raised tank beds and netted areas, and open beds planted with perennials including edible ginger, turmeric, galangal, asparagus, rhubarb and yacon.

Highlights at a glance:

Creative interiors with an emphasis on creating a beautiful and functional space. Unique semi-circular design with a range of sustainable energy features.
Extensive well maintained gardens with wide variety of plants including many edible ones.

Plants for sale, including succulents, begonias, orchids and a large selection of bro- meliads.


Toilet: Yes. Access to disabled toilet a couple of minutes drive away.
Picnic: yes
Access and parking: easy and signed
Wheelchair access: almost all, including house.

Nimbin Valley Dairy: 392 Tuntable Falls Rd: Artisan Cheese Makers

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On this one hundred and twenty hectare farm, with spectacular panoramic views, a herd of around one hundred and fifty lucky goats range freely in the rich pastures, can access shelter when they need it, have regular health checks and even have their own nutritionist. On this farm Paul and Kerry place an emphasis on the welfare of their animals, the sustainability of their farming practices, and a commitment to re- ducing their environmental footprint.

Pastures are improved with legumes and composted manure, greenhouse gas emis- sions from the animals are offset by a rainforest tree regeneration program, and packaging is recycled plastic.

Nimbin Valley Dairy has a commitment to producing food free of chemicals, hor- mones, antibiotics and genetically modified ingredients. Come along and hear them explain how they do this.

Above all, they make great cheeses! Both Paul and Kerry grew up on dairy farms in the local area, and Paul’s passion for cheese making has seen the dairy win a num- ber of awards, including the gold medal at shows in Brisbane and Melbourne. The dairy also supplies milk and kefir;; you may have seen their produce at local farmers’ markets. Paul and Kerry are generously offering the public the chance to taste a range of their cheeses on this farm visit. They will begin the milking early so that peo- ple can see how it’s done, and there will also be kids (baby goats) to pet.

This is a real working farm where the cheeses are made and packaged on site. There will also be ice cream available.

Highlights at a glance:

The opportunity to see best practice animal husbandry, food production and sustaina- bility.
A rare opportunity to enjoy a free tasting of these delicious cheeses.
Informative hosts

Wonderful views.


Parking: yes, signed
Wheelchair access: yes
Toilet: no…but toilet avail at three venues further along the road, including disabled. (See Tips on Page 2 and the Map)
Refreshments: cheese tasting and ice cream only.

Note: This event is open one day only. Tours on Sunday from 2 -4. Max 30-40 peo- ple. You’ll need sensible shoes, boots if it’s wet.

Toffee Apple Farm, 258 Upper Tuntable Falls Rd

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This five and a half acre organic farm is situated in the Tuntable Falls valley, which it shares with the Co-ordination Co-operative (from whom the owner leases a further five acres) and the smaller Walagala Community. Its backdrop is the beautiful forested hills, and it is bordered by Tuntable Creek, which provides the water supply. The owner and her family have lived here for nearly 8 years, enjoying a semi self- sufficient lifestyle, which includes baking bread and cakes and making cheese and quark.

With fruit trees, mainly citrus, a vegetable garden, chickens supplying eggs and a small herd of milking goats, there is always some fresh farm produce on the table. Milk production will start again at the beginning of September, when the goats are due to kid. There is also a cow and calf, though the cow is no longer milked, as she is quite old.

The goats and cow come running to Silvia’s call, and she has provided a very nurturing and comfortable environment for them. The chickens have a spacious pen and free range during the day, and there is a small open barn where Silvia stores hay, which provides shelter for the goats and the cow and calf. Nearby are a number of compost bins, which utilise the animals’ bedding and manure to produce rich compost full of earthworms. This is used in the vegetable garden.

A lovely feature of the property is the creek; with a flat rock bed to sit on, small cascades running into pools deep enough for a swim, and behind it all the lush rainforest. It is the perfect place for quiet contemplation.

Sylvia will be serving morning and afternoon tea on the veranda, and her legendary cheesecake is a must to try. There will also be a stall selling small SE Asian craft objects for the family’s charity ‘Kids for Elephants’, which supports the rehabilitation of sick and injured Asian elephants. All proceeds from the weekend will go to this chari- ty.

Visitors are welcome to relax at the creek and it may be lovely to grab some of Sil- via’s cakes and picnic there. Rugs will be available for visitors to use. Be aware that the track leading down the bank to the flat creek area may present difficulties for anyone who is unsure on their feet. Children must be supervised at all times as the water is deep in places.

The name of the farm originates from the name of the family’s first goat, Toffee, and her daughter Apples. Note: The two dogs are friendly.

Highlights at a glance:

Small homely organic farm where the animals’ wellbeing is a priority.
Delicious morning/afternoon teas.
A chance to get close to goat kids and Silky chicks; children of all ages will love this. ‘Kids for Elephants’ charity stall.
Magical creek area.


toilet yes. Disabled toilet nearby—see tips on page 2.

Refreshments: morning and afternoon teas, delicious cheesecake a specialty.

Access: easy. Parking: yes, signed.

Tutti Fruitti Farm, 4148 Kyogle Road, Lillian Rock: Food Gardens

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The gardens on this large property have been created by a group of passionate gardeners who practice permaculture, bio-dynamics and organics in growing mostly fruits and vegetables. The three huge vegetable gardens are a testament to the effectiveness of these methods; all the plants are very vigorous and healthy. The hard work put into the gardens is evident; the beds are weed free and highly productive.

The gardeners here have planted hundreds of fruit and nut trees. There is a very large citrus orchard, and also many unusual varieties of fruit trees including yellow sapote, mamae sapote, rollina, soursop, jackfruit and yellow mangosteen.

There are around twenty beehives, and James is always keen to share information about the importance of these amazing insects. James is a firm believer in making strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture and has been growing food for his local Blue Knob Farmers market since it began. Workshops on bio-dynamics and beekeeping are occasionally offered on the farm, and on Sunday’s tour Brad and James will include a simple step-by-step demo of planting out a bed of veggies.

Highlights at a glance:

Extensive, well-maintained and highly productive market gardens Variety of unusual fruit trees
Enthusiastic growers who are happy to share their knowledge Unusual varieties of fruit trees

Views of the caldera
A must for anyone interested in biodynamic growing.


Access: easy
Parking: up to 30 cars.
Toilet: yes
Refreshments: No
Wheelchair access: yes, to vegie gardens and bees, but possibly not orchard. Mostly flat ground but dirt paths.

Tours at 12 pm Sunday only.

White Beech’ Farm 277 Blue Knob Road: Sustainable Hardwood Plantation

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For anyone interested in sustainable mixed hardwood plantation forestry, or wanting to know more about the best timber species to grow on a small acreage, this is a fantastic opportunity to see best practice.

The owners, siblings Mark, James and Wendy Wright, recently won the Australian Forest Growers NSW Tree Farmer of the Year award for their business Super Forest Plantations. Over the past thirteen years they have trialed a range of timber species on 250 acres of the 500 acre former grazing property.

In choosing the trees, consideration was given to their suitability for local conditions, as well as their usefulness as timber products. An impressive stand of Gympie Messmate eucalypts shows how well adapted these trees are to our heavy clay soils.

A passionate commitment to sustainability and using environmental farming methods underpins the practice on this farm, from collecting the seed to returning the nutrients from the bark to the soil. The family business is also undertaking remediation of the riparian zone on this property with a variety of rainforest species. A large landslip has also been remediated.

Original trees have been retained, and a highlight is a stand of habitat trees, which includes Turpentine, Ironbark, Bloodwood and a magnificent White Mahogany, estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old. The plantation is home to wallabies, possums, microbats and a variety of birdlife.

Mark is a storehouse of information on everything from the cultivation of trees to the properties of timber, and he is happy to share his knowledge, including the things that haven’t worked well. The business supports the local community in a number of ways, and provides an information bank for people starting their own plantings. Timber products are sold at the farm gate at affordable prices.

Highlights at a glance:

An example of best practice large farm forestry
A very informative and enjoyable tour
A beautiful stand of old-growth habitat trees
A number of spectacular views can be seen from the property.

Two tours –Sunday only, Tour One at 10am and Tour Two at 11.30am. 90mins tours.
Meet at car parking area.
Parking: yes, signed

Toilet: no

Jahlanbah Permaculture Hamlet Tour including Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Education Centre and two open gardens and houses

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The tour begins at the renowned Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Education Centre (74 Cecil St). Designer Robyn Francis has transformed a barren cow pasture into five acres (two hectares) of edible landscapes supporting a wide variety of plant spe- cies ranging from tropical to cold temperate species. This permaculture demonstra- tion site showcases sustainable water systems, technologies, animals and wildlife in- terconnecting in harmony. Buildings include an interesting earth brick education cen- tre and three railway carriages that provide accommodation for students and guests.

During the half hour tour visitors will be shown the gardens, food forest, buildings and animals.

From Djanbung Gardens a short guided creek-side walk will lead to Levity Gardens, a community garden that is part of the Jarlanbah Permaculture Hamlet, before walking along Jarlanbah’s attractive tree-lined internal roads, to visit an open house and a house and gardens.

NOTE: For anyone in a wheelchair we would advise that after seeing Djanbung gardens, you drive the short distance (well signed) to Levity Gardens, from where the tour will proceed along the sealed roads within the Jarlanbah hamlet.
* A toilet at the Jarlanbah Community Centre will be available to tour participants.

Lot 10, Rhubarb Road, house and garden,

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included in Jarlanbah tour This unusual timber house, situated on a half acre, north facing block, comprises three distinct spaces on differing levels linked by timber walkways. The attractive house has been described as having a Balinese or African feel about it; certainly it has an appealing openness that typifies the relaxed lifestyle of the subtropical North Coast. Verandahs overlook a small paved courtyard that provides a visual link be- tween the house and the surrounding gardens. A feature of the house is the well de- signed and colourful council approved commercial kitchen, which suits Jim’s small catering business. The home is nicely furnished with antiques, small artworks and ethnic finds.

The house has a number of sustainability features. It has 8 solar panels connected to the grid; Jarlanbah buys the electricity in bulk and the residents buy it at a relatively cheap rate from the community. Two large tanks provide the house with an abun- dant water supply and hot water is heated by solar with a gas back up. The compost- ing toilet is a simple but effective wheelie bin model; the bins when full are left in the sun for about 6 months, then emptied into an old spa bath for further composting and then used in the garden.

The garden was almost non existent when Jim moved onto the property just over 2 years ago and is still very much in the development stage. It features mainly bird at- tracting natives, but also many of Jim’s favourite exotics. The soil is a very heavy clay and consequently the plantings are generally done to suit. The garden has bor- rowed views of mature native plantings and a community pond where water birds can sometimes be seen.

Highlights at a glance: 

unique expanded house design
Tropical style garden including native plantings Environmental features
Attractive interiors with antique furnishings and artworks.


Toilet: if required
Access: Easy.
Wheelchair access: sorry, not at all. Parking: limited on-street, signed. Refreshments: no

Lot 4 Neem Road

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The house is a 2/3 bedroom dwelling designed by a young designer from Brisbane based on the owners’ description of objectives and desired functions and then owner- built over a 4 year period.

The house design reflects Christopher Alexander’s notion of a pattern language. The house incorporates specific pre determined patterns. For example, a place to sit your shopping while looking for the keys or freeing a hand to open the front door. The de- sign as far as possible reflects some 50 living patterns. One thing the owners original- ly forgot was a place to chop and store wood. This has since been resolved.

The house incorporates all the features required for a couple ‘to age in place’. It is designed to enable an aged person to be cared for at home, it includes a separate living space for a carer and is wheelchair accessible.

The articulation of the house reflects the owners’ desire for the building to open up to the environment, rather than hide in it.

Highlights at a glance:

Interesting attractive house
Sustainble features
Well thought out design for living and ‘ageing in place’.


Wheelchair access: Yes Good access and parking Toilet: if required Refreshments: No

Suburban Wild Food Foraging Tour: NIMBIN VILLAGE

Led by wild food expert Peter Hardwick, this tour will take you foraging around the back streets of Nimbin. Peter will introduce you to the season’s edible weeds and native bush foods, and point out which are safe to eat.

The tour will be from 1.30 -3pm on Saturday only. Meet at the Nimbin Apothecary (see Map) just before 1.30. 

1557 Upper Tuntable Falls Road: house and garden

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This impressive house, many years in the making, is a superb example of craftsmanship and atten- tion to detail. It sits beautifully within extensive gardens, and makes good use of the lovely surroundings. A large water feature frames one side of the front entrance, while a deck off the kitchen catches the morning sun and overlooks the valley.

This is a building on a large scale, and features include huge timber beams, and some notable wrought iron work. As you walk in there is a sense of space, with double height handmade windows overlooking a side courtyard with a water feature. However, other rooms are intimate and cosy. The well equipped kitchen features unique hand crafted timber cabinetry.

Colour has been thoughtfully chosen throughout the home, and the recycled furnishings, fittings and objets d’art all contribute to the overall aesthetic, which is predominantly Art Deco. Everything in the house has been well chosen and there is a lot to look at here. An extensive range of building materi- als and fittings, often sourced from demolitions, has been harmoniously integrated throughout the timber house. Some massive timber beams in the house were serendipitously sourced from the Ar- nott’s biscuit factory in Brisbane, days before its demolition. Many other pieces have a story to tell.

The solar passive designed house has a number of sustainable features including a grid interactive solar system, composting toilets, solar hot water. The property also features an attractive three bed- room rendered ferro cement cottage. A feature is the use of railway bridge timbers. Another feature of this cottage is the creative use of space.

In the mature and well maintained garden, paths wind through massed plantings of decorative shrubs, mostly native. There is a wide variety of interesting feature plants and an orchard. A plantation of edible bamboo surrounds a large dam, which has a generous deck for relaxing on in summer.

Highlights at a glance:

Impressive craftsmanship.
Interesting and attractive interiors
Environmentally sustainable features
Lovely cottage demonstrating thoughtful use of space Lush gardens.


Parking: yes
Disabled access: mostly. (Disabled toilet is 3-4 minutes drive away) Picnic: yes
Refreshments: yes, morning/afternoon tea and light lunch.

What is 7 Sibley St: Nimbin’s Sustainable Living Hub Project?

7 Sibley Street is a social enterprise project which will:

Promote Affordable and Sustainable Housing Create Jobs
Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Enhance Local Food Security

If you are interested in joining the Project Working Group or email list please contact NNIC on admin@nnic.org.au.

For more info including How to Donate and the Master Concept Plan, please see the project’s website


Angel Auction

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The Angel Auction is now FINISHED!

Thank you to everyone that offered their support as either angels or bidders.

We are now contacting everyone and will post another update with the total funds raised.

If you haven’t heard from us and expected too, please contact Cat at the Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre on 6689 1692.

Latest News

Sustainable House Day Northern Rivers has grown up and got its own website and is no longer piggy backing off the Sibley St website. The Design Comp for 2016 is now open – the categories are Professional: Design a Tiny Neighbourhood, Community: Design a Tiny Home, Young people: Design a teeny tiny home. Check it out here.

7 Sibley Community Design-In Day


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On 24th February 2013, members of the Nimbin community, invited guests and other interested people gathered in the Nimbin Town Hall to discuss the 7 Sibley Street project. It was a very successful event, with 71 people attending from 10am until 3.30pm.

To enable the inclusion of parents and carers, childcare was provided at the Neighbourhood Centre and 15 children attended this.

A key element of the Event’s success was the different perspectives brought by the participants in attendance over the day, including planners, community development workers, architects, permaculture specialists, builders, and the consideration of the design issues presented by people throughout the event.

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Key issues considered at the Design-In included:

  • Design criteria
  • Site considerations and their implications for the layout of the project design
  • Elements e.g. productive spaces, clean presentation spaces and outdoor/landscaping that the community wish to see included
  • Fate of the existing structure
  • Ideas for future fundraising.

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A number of key points emerged from the discussions, including:

  • The importance of acknowledging the role of the prevailing natural systems, in particular seasonal breezes and airflows, the passage of sunlight across the site and viewsheds to and from the site (including impact on the nearest neighbour )
  • The importance of considering the whole life cycle of any materials used and  buildings themselves – ‘cradle to grave’
  • Acknowledging the potential use and value of the existing house within the new site design
  • Identifying a number of key elements that the community wishes to have included in the project design and some ideas regarding how this might occur on the site
  • Identifying the importance of complimenting not duplicating any existing community facilities present within Nimbin
  • Identifying a number of ideas for raising the balance of funds owing on the land.


The Participants concluded that it was strongly preferable to keep the existing structure and move it to the street-front boundary of the site.

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Participants preference for the old house was indicated by voting with their feet.

Agreed actions

A number of actions were agreed by participants during the course of the Event. These include:

  1. A (brief) Outcomes Report will be prepared for circulation to participants and other interested parties and posting on the 7 Sibley Street project website (Michelle, Guy & Nat).  NNIC will continue to gather feedback and input.
  2. A photographic and video record of the Event will be prepared (Guy)
  3. The Design and Scope team will be reconvened (with some new members) to consider the outcomes of the event and commence work on the overall site design (Nat)
  4. A chart of fundraising ideas will be distributed throughout the community and community members invited to assist with events or take responsibility for implementing the ideas and estimating of how much funds they believe would feasibly be raised and a date/s for the relevant activity (Nat)
  5. This information will be collated by NNIC which will then develop a calendar of events and activities which aim to raise the targeted amount by the end of 2013 (Nat)
  6. People who have committed to leading fundraising activities will implement the activities together with people who have committed to assist them, with NNIC providing a support , coordination and resourcing role.


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Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC) in partnership with the Nimbin Community Centre hosted a Community Forum (“Design-In”) on 24th February 2013 to bring together community members, planners, community development officers, architects, builders, permaculture specialists and other experts to discuss design ideas for the 7 Sibley Street project.

The Event was held at the Nimbin Town Hall (Attachment 1– Forum Agenda).

Design-in Objectives

The Design-In was specifically aimed at bringing together community members and guests interested in the 7 Sibley Street project, with a view to:

  1. Obtaining further community input and creative ideas for transforming the 7 Sibley Street and former skatepark into Nimbin’s Sustainable Living Hub
  2. Providing direction to the Design Team working on the 7 Sibley Street project
  3. Generating ideas for raising the remaining funds owing on the purchase of the land.

Format of the Design-In

The agenda was developed by Diana Roberts and Karlin Bracegirdle with input from a small working group.

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The Design-in was designed and conducted as a series of small group discussion to explore options for the design of the site with feedback and discussion as a larger group. This flow of ideas throughout the day allowed the small groups to benefit from the larger group’s knowledge and experience to improve on their ideas.


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At the start, five short presentations were given to provide everyone with some insights and ideas to inform the design process. These included:

  • Background to the project and achievements to date – Nat Meyer
  • Site design considerations – Robyn Francis
  • Existing house options – Mark Floate (architect)
  • Integration with the Rainbow Road project – Lois Kelly
  • Regulatory and Council considerations – Peter Jeuken, Lismore City Council (LCC) Manager of Development and Compliance.


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A group with expertise in a range of relevant topics were also introduced by Diana as being able to contribute their knowledge throughout the day. They included: Yagia Gentle (builder) Samuel Herren (builder), Simone Weihermann (former architecture student with drawing skills), Adrian Williamson & Dick Hopkins (members of the design team that explored options for the existing house), Klara Marosszeky (industrial hemp expert including as a building material) and Alan Ross (draughtsperson).

A set of Design Criteria were identified prior to the workshop from previous community meetings and input from Council. These are illustrated in Attachment 2 – Design Criteria.

Following the short presentations, participants organised themselves into small groups and focused on the following areas:

  1. Landscape design
  2. Working space(s)
  3. Showroom / information space(s)
  4. Overall design

See Figure 1 below.

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Figure 1: Design focus groups

After several rounds of small group discussion and feedback, all participants were given the opportunity to vote for the elements / ideas that they most liked (green dots) and least liked (red dots).


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Graphic recording was undertaken by Michelle Walker and Guy Stewart photographed and filmed many aspects of the design-in. These have contributed to the detail in this Design-in Outcomes Report.

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Design-In feedback

At the close of the event, participants were asked for feedback and to rate what they believed were the strengths of the Design-In and how it could have been improved. 32 written responses were received, plus verbal feedback from participants. Overall, participants felt that the Event was well organised and enjoyable.

Responses to the question “What worked best for you today?” included:

“Drawing together lots of talented and skilled people”

“Seeing the process unfold: diversity honoured”

“Learning lots more about the project”

“Working out what to do with the existing house”

“The food” – (this was a consistent response – thanks very much to Stephen Howard and Sam Herren for the food!)

Working in small groups worked well for most people, but not for all.


Invitations to the Design-In were distributed to the community via the post, Nimbin Good Times, by hand, social media, and various email lists.


Ideas from the Design-In

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The key outputs of the Design-In are recorded in Attachment 3: Design-In Discussions chart and Attachment 4: Fundraising ideas chart.

Design thinking – initial ideas

  1. Landscape design
    1. Move the existing house to the north-west corner
    2. Develop a swale that leads water into a dam for storage
    3. Flat areas – develop the bike and skateboard repair shed, hold a regular food co-op
    4. Retain the south-east corner that is quiet as a meditation space
    5. On site grey water etc management
    6. Create family zone on slope between the two sk8 parks
    7. Slide and stairs
    8. Small skate runs for beginners
    9. Benches for viewing
    10. Netball nets
    11. Skate/Bike repair shed on old sk8 park
    12. Food forests and perennial herbs gardens
    13. Interactive Sustainable Games / Exercises. Link with Rainbow Road
    14. Recycled sculpture park



  1. Working space(s)
    1. Rename this as the ‘Production Spaces’
    2. Include a community-owned commercial kitchen (existing kitchens in and around Nimbin do not meet the identified need for a publically available commercial grade community-owned post harvest processing/food equipment storage and distribution centre)
    3. Have facilities for food storage – a cool room, canning and dehydrator
    4. Locate these close to the gardens and shed
    5. Old sk8 park – space for cooking and sharing of food, wheelchair accessible raised garden beds.
    6. Peoples’ Shed – include overnight shelter
    7. Possible Wheelchair accessible raised garden beds around edges of old sk8 park
    8. Parking on old court/skatepark -> garden and trees extending down to peace park
    9. Kitchen / Food Equipment Storage to be all on one level. Accessible by vehicle.
    10. Kitchen space large enough for teaching + workshops
    11. Water caught from buildings used to water trees + gardens downhill
    12. Workshop space for teaching all kinds of skills, electronics, mechanical, building, bike.
    13. Wwoofer accom/sleeping space/caretaker


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  1. Showroom / information space(s)
    1. Have a reception and initial space for visitors that would include an information walk / displays
    2. Design should include staffing and security considerations – ie ease of monitoring/managing the site and its contents, activities – line of sight issues etc
    3. Self managed tourist walk thru
    4. Beyond the reception, have a library of useful resources and areas such as media room
    5. Consider lifting the existing house and making it a 2nd storey
    6. Design the northern wall with bi-fold doors opening out onto a courtyard
    7. Include curves in the design, also labyrinth and games
    8. Strong support for an ‘Earthship’ concept
    9. i.      Potential to accommodate the Visitors Information Centre (currently on Cullen St) – Michelle your version referred  to include a Link-Up centre…I did not get that am wondering if it is actually the Visitors Info Centre which is what I have on my notes?
    10. Former skate park – consider uses such as Nimbin’s Farmers’ market,  outdoor workshops, sk8/bike repair shop, provide roofing and some limited walls using sustainable construction techniques such as haybales
    11. Move house to NW corner of the street
    12. Toilets tanks under kitchen
    13. House is retail space
    14. workshop space for a minimum of 30 people


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  1. Overall design
    1. Staging/timelining
    2. Use of circles and curves
    3. Use of sloped areas
    4. Access and inclusive design issues – elderly/the young/disability
    5. Porosity and high rainfall are key issues
    6. Need to preserve green/open space in the community
    7. Must be mindful of other business in town – support and build on rather than compete
    8. Consider nursery as a short-term activity on the site
    9. Sacred design elements – Fibonacci sequence, golden mean
    10. Parking for cars, bikes and wheelchair access
    11. Vehicle access from Sibley St via Northern end of the old sk8 park
    12. Move the existing structure to the south-west corner to maximise the northern aspect areas available
    13. Keep old sk8 park space as multipurpose flat space with undercover areas for markets, workshops, demos
    14. Central courtyard – buildings open onto with eg bi-fold doors
    15. Curved lines
    16. Domes
    17. Stained glass and glass bottles
    18. Small business incubators
    19. Archival info
    20. Retail and income streams
    21. Materials – ethical timber, straw bales, hempcrete
    22. Techniques (with, where feasible, “cut -away” sections to illustrate structure and technique.
    23. People able to walk in off the street and be able to offer their skills/time in exchange for food tickets eg food production, food processing, visit local farms or gardens.


Design elements – most liked

  1. 1.     Sheltered Courtyard
  • Stepped Staged Building along the centre of the 7 Sibley St Block
  • Each could be a different building method
  • Earth covered roof
  • Open/closed pavilion – workshops, meeting
  • Sheltered courtyard
  • Slope terraced with vegetable gardens
  • Central to whole site
  1. 2.     Relocation of old house
  • Located on Sibley St near neighbouring shed 7 green dots
  • Awning over the footpath
  • Council Heritage Recommendation
  • Potential for undercover parking
  • Reception, Library
  • Old driveway one way emergency access only
  • Move the crossing to join to community centre and public toilets.
  • Water tanks


  1. 3.     Backyard Showcase – “Living Workshop Area” Located along the Caravan Park Boundary
  • Growing seedlings
  • Worm farm
  • Plantings
  • Greenhouse
  • Waste Water
  • Compost Making
  • Bees
  • Raised beds
  • edible weeds
  • how to grow veges
  • solar system
  • water systems
  • how to have chooks
  • wind power
  1. 4.     Other
  • Curved walls
  • Old Sk8 park kept as open space as much as possible

Design elements – least liked

  1. Market and Parking on the Old Skate Park Site

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Fundraising ideas

Fundraising is required to pay down the balance of the loan relating to the purchase of 7 Sibley St, plus interest accumulated to date, and rates. The Community Centre has reserved the right to reconsider its liability position if the loan is not paid down in full by the end of 2013. The fundraising target (will continue to attract interest at 6.25%) is currently $70,000 to be paid down by the end of 2013.

The fundraising activities that have been organised for the immediate future and the estimated amounts they may raise include:

  • 7 DJs for 7 Sibley Street (in March – $2000)
  • Aquarius Fundraiser Event (in April – $2500)
  • Trivia Night #2 ( date to be set – $3000)
  • Raffles (throughout 2013 – $1000)
  • Website/paypal/donations campaign (ongoing – $5000)
  • BinyaButts – NimBin Ya Butts (Stu, with Lismore City Council, applying for a ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ grant, must do survey to be eligible) ($1000)
  • Big Auction #2 (date to be set – $3000)


Total est funds: $17,500

The fundraising ideas offered by the Design-In included:

  • Mardi Gras ideas – parking, food stall, DOOF (Gudren), Garbage to Sculpture activity
  • Bunnings Sausage sizzle (NNIC to coordinate)
  • Car Boot market stall (Marney)
  • Channon Market stall
  • Crowd sourcing (Lois, Gill and Andrea)
  • Fashion Show (Steph, Gill)
  • Games night (Lois)
  • ‘Buy a brick’
  • Film night
  • Massage-in
  • Tax on the street stalls
  • House-shaped Collection tins (Steph)
  • Private events – dinner (Mandie)
  • Trivia Night at Tuntable (Saraswati & Mandie)
  • October Shareholders donation – Mandie
  • On-site stall with paint filled balloons for $5 (Joss)
  • School games
  • Café – cakes
  • Fete (Joss)
  • Workshops (Gudren)
  • Skate park competition with an entry fee
  • Barefoot bowls competition – entry fee and prizes
  • As above re soccer, other sports
  • T-shirt and postcards with pics donated by community for sale
  • Karaoke nite (Teena K)
  • Grow Hemp crop and people pay for opportunities to have pics taken with it
  • Regular high-tea info sessions at the Town Hall (Susan)
  • Lots more promotion of the project
  • Viral online video which links people back into the project
  • Corporate sponsorship – eg solar cos, building supply cos
  • Alternate loan with lower rates
  • Pub raffle
  • Everybody ask everyone they know to ask everyone they know etc for eg $50 donation – chain letter approach – prize for person who creates the longest chain? (Nat)
  • Approach philanthropists



 IMG 9546

Attachment 1: Agenda


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