A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


Question… What’s the first sign of a good old fashioned candle factory?

Google maps street view
We had found our way back into New South Wales (remember to change all clocks) again and had stumbled upon the sleepy but somewhat defiant town of Nimbin, rumoured to be the stoner’s capital of Australia. And while there, I was half expecting visions of Amsterdam and clouds of acrid smoke and the pungent aroma of a quarter of best farmed “weeds” but that was simply not the case.

Nimbin is a small township that seems to have publicly gotten away with sticking up its fingers at authority. And although there are strong ties to a drug related culture and rastafarianism, there were only ever signs of association and not actual use of illegal substances. You see, it’s a kind of schoolboy defiance where we can all pretend to be a part of it without actually taking part and to a Brit on tour over here, the single road township with a fork at one end carries the distinct feel of a 'smutty postcards' Blackpool back home if not a little smaller.

For a better look round Nimbin, click here
Complete with it's shops full of tat, bars and gaming machines, the place has a real feel of naughtiness but that soon dissipates as you start looking out for real criminals. And the only thing that shatters the whole illusion, is the huge police station at the end of the road there suggesting we are all being good after all.

Nevertheless we were at Nimbin and had to therefore make the most of it by fully exploring the shops, the museum, the huge Nimbin Hotel for lunch, and finally the Nimbin Candle Factory just over the Cullen bridge (a Twilight reference to keep Jodie happy).

The candle factory is situated in what was an old butter factory (where they put on a fair old spread for lunch no doubt) just north of Nimbin and today the building seems to be shared with a theatre company of some sorts (what the hell kind of actors do they use in a "bush theatre"?) but they were closed so we couldn't make further comment on that. But it is here that they (the candle factory) still make candles using only the finest edible grade waxes (for wrapping cheeses), food colourings and traditional methods and while doing so, were happy to take time out to show us around and teach us how things got done there, explaining the dipping processes, the shaping of candles, the smoothing of candles (with an electric iron no less), and how they use candle offcuts to produce their larger multicoloured block candles.

Click here for the Candle factory album
It’s not a huge place by any means that they operate from, and it is hardly geared up for today's mega-orders for supermarkets either, but it is however a quietly successful and seemingly thriving cottage industry with a useful product (yes it seems Australia still has power outages), where the friendly and approachable manner of the staff play a huge part in gaining repeat business no doubt from all over the world as tourists like me continue to stray through their doors.


And so, in answer to the question posed at the start of this posting, what’s the first sign of a good old fashioned candle factory? Well the answer just hit us in the face when we got there. Maybe it says the same to you…



Or maybe you just had to be there...


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