michael balderstone

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I quit my job in London as a stockbroker which just seemed to be helping the rich get richer.

I needed to know if there was a God, or was it just dog eat dog.

A few months later, in Kandahar, I smoked pot for the first time and it blew my mind. A magic mushroom trip in Bali a year later finished the job.

I then spent over a decade wandering this awesome planet wondering who I was and what to do with my life, before finally coming to rest in Nimbin about thirty years ago. I'd been seeking an understanding community of like minded souls and found it here. Nimbin is unique as the last bus stop for a lot of people who left mainstream looking for a more meaningful life.

I bought a share on a community determined to live with different values where success was not equated with money. Where people shared more and co-operated rather than competed with each other.

I rented a shop in the middle of the then quiet village and filled it with stuff from the tip and called it Nimbin Museum. Recycling useful stuff always appealed to me and eventually, as visitor numbers increased, with artist friends we turned the junk into a Museum in an effort to communicate our vision here of a life lived in harmony with each other and the Earth.

Meanwhile I came to understand what the 'war on drugs' is about and how disastrous prohibition of natures best pain relieving plants has been. Cannabis is historically one of the most useful plants in creation and a cornerstone of hippy dreaming. We started the annual MardiGrass law reform rally and gathering and the HEMP Embassy over twenty years ago, specifically to try to educate visitors on the truth about pot. Finally it looks like the Reefer Madness lies of the 1930's are starting to be exposed and these days the previously seen as deluded hippies talking about pot as medicine are not so crazy.

I feel extremely grateful to have stumbled into a community which is filled with strong individuals who have followed the road less traveled.

For the Aboriginals this valley was a learning and healing place, home of the Nymbungee people of the Dreaming. Small clever hairy people who lived in the caves. Tradition has them as vegetarians who had a strong smell. They lived in a paradise which the hippies would love to recreate –  with solar panels of course.

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