On Thursday 26 October, 2016, staff from the State Library of NSW travelled to Nimbin in Northern NSW, for a special event being held in partnership with the Richmond Tweed Regional Library.
Nimbin was selected as the launch location for Amplify because the first collection to be featured on the platform, The Rainbow Archives, were a series of interviews recorded in Nimbin and surrounding areas in the 90s to document the counterculture and alternative lifestyles movement within the region. Many of the interviewees were still alive and living in Nimbin, so the small regional town made for the perfect location to launch the new platform to the world.
Nimbin itself does not have a fixed public library. Instead, every week a mobile library, situated inside a semi-trailer truck, travels to Nimbin to provide library services, reading spaces and collections for borrowing to the local community.
On launch day the weather was wonderful and this exciting event started with the mobile library driving up street in Nimbin. Marquees were set up next to the mobile library with PCs connected and ready to present Amplify to the world.
Some of the original interviewees from recordings collected in the early 1990s by the Richmond-Tweed Oral History Group attended the launch, which kicked off at 11.30am. Immediately the PCs were in use with interviewees and members of the public accessing the digital audio records on the Aquarius Festival and life at that time.
Benny Zable, an interviewee and world-famous activist left the artwork he was working on in Allsopp Park, Imagine, and spent time editing his interview. Some of the original participants have passed but members of their family attended and listened to their stories.
While organising the launch a number of people had spent time trying to contact all interviewees to invite them along. Unfortunately not all could be contacted during this time but a wonderful coincidence occurred just before the launch. Walking up the street was Eddie, one of the original interviewees who did not know about the launch and was amazed his interview was now being made available for everyone to hear. It could only happen in Nimbin.
As well as editing the audio from the original interviews, you can also take the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful photos of such a colourful period in NSW's history taken by Roger Marchant. This unique oral history collection is a wonderful insight into life at the Aquarius Festival and Nimbin. Read, listen, edit and enjoy!
[This case study is a modified version of an original blog post written by Lucy Kinsley from the Richmond Tweed Regional Library.]