Neil Pike and the Pagan
The only cult in the world that tries to brainwash its members
to think for themselves... The Pagan Love Cult is an Australian
psychedelic institution. Based in Nimbin and operating in one
form or another since the 70s, they use music and light to explore
the juncture between social activism and psychedelic bliss.
They have toured the UK, US and Asia. Psychedelic folktronica.
Sex and drugs and rock'n'roll — 1970s
Home free . . . Thousands of young Australians left city homes
to live in dwellings like The Temple, a cosy, three-storey open-air-conditioned
cottage in a forest near Kuranda. The Temple family in September
1975 were (back row from left) Frances Swan, 18, Neil Pike,
20, Nick, 26, reporter John Philip; (front row) Allan Dixon,
14, Colleen Colours, 19, with baby Jessie James; Tony Gomme,
29, and Sandi Moonbeam, 19. Picture: Brian Church
THE 60s finally arrived in Queensland in the 1970s. The disillusionment
and boredom teenagers felt with their workaday lives and dead-end
jobs in the 50s crystallised into the hippie movement of the
Teenagers no longer wanted to follow the example of their parents
and many began leaving school to "find themselves",
rather than find a job.
Queensland, particularly the north — with its laid-back
lifestyle, breathtaking natural beauty and large tracts of uninhabited
land — was mecca to the flower children. Parents fretted
as their sensibly named progeny tagged themselves Waterfall,
Lilypad and Moonbeam and went off in search of Utopia.
They came from all around Australia to follow the hippie-trail
north — from Byron Bay, through the Sunshine Coast hinterland
and up to Cairns. From there they ventured to Kuranda and Cedar
Bay. By 1975 about 6000 young Australians were living in communes.
A threat more real than rock'n'roll had emerged: drugs.
LSD and marijuana were the drugs of choice, supplemented with
products from nature's own medicine cabinet, including magic
mushrooms and the highly toxic hallucinogen datura plant, or
angel's trumpet. As well as experimenting with different lifestyles,
teenagers were experimenting with altered states of consciousness.
On the Atherton Tablelands near Kuranda was a commune known
as Rosebud Farm. The property was bought in 1971 by idealistic
young Harvard dropout Rich Trapnell, who invited a handful of
friends to come join him in a self-sufficient life. Those who
came ranged in age from 16-20.
They grew their own fruit and vegetables, listened to music
and experimented with drugs and an unconventional lifestyle.