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Nimbin Pioneers History
Nimbin lies just outside the rim of the Mount Warning Caldera, overlooked by the Nightcap range and Mt. Nardi. Within the tenure of tribes of the Bundjalung language group, Nimbin lay deep inside the Big Scrub, a primal forest stretching from south of Grafton to beyond the Queensland border. As recently as 100 years ago Aboriginal people lived here in their traditional lifestyles.
In the 1840's, European timber getters after cedar first came to the district. Nimbin itself was subdivided in 1903 from H.M. Thorburn's selection, and gazetted in 1906. The four churches were all built between 1909 and 1914.
Within 50 years of the white settlers' arrival, most of the Big Scrub had disappeared, and the last remaining skeletons of trees can be seen standing on ridges to this day. All but the least accessible regions were eventually logged or cleared for grazing, and much of the forest that can now be seen has regrown since. The Big Scrub gone, the settlers turned the land over to cattle and bananas.
Life was harsh for these pioneers and their families. Their descendants still farm the land today. With the recession of the late 1960's and early 1970's, the local dairy industry collapsed. This, combined with the previous closure of the Butter Factory, ensured that only the hardiest of the local farmers were able to continue. The population of the district was falling, from 6020 in 1961, to 4520 in 1971.