The name was revived for a new monthly tabloid publication in 1997, which was started largely to promote and inform people about the vision of the community centre. The Nimbin Community Development Association (NCDA) had been formed in 1996 to acquire the old Dept of Education school site, and by 1998 had raised enough money - $140,000 - to take possession.
The Nimbin Good Times’ vision statement, developed in May 1998, saw an on-going role for the paper in community development by:
* Informing the Nimbin community of news relevant to people living in the region.
* Presenting information from local groups and news of their activities.
*· Providing contact points through which people can become involved and connected in
* Publicising news of NCDA activities and operations.
The vision statement is still reflected in its content today. However, the focus has shifted away from the NCDA, which originally auspiced the paper in 1998. Even though the Nimbin Community Schools (NCS) currently holds the registered business name and ABN, the Good Times is produced as an independent community newspaper and is not associated with or answerable to any Board or Committee.
Editorial independence is at the core of the newspaper’s effectiveness, as it makes it possible to present alternate or dissenting views, and cover stories and issues not connected with any particular organisation, which prevents it from becoming doctrinaire. Its high visibility makes it ultimately responsible to the community it serves, its readers, and they are quick to provide feedback on every edition.
The newspaper has always been run by volunteers and has always been self-supporting. Its longevity is due entirely to the continuing commitment and generosity of the Nimbin businesses and trades people who have continued to advertise in its pages. This is a sincere indication that the paper’s role in community affairs is widely appreciated.
The paper has also encouraged the promotion of print media skills – writing, photography and artwork– both in experienced members of the community as well as in newcomers and students. This was achieved by soliciting contributions and providing an outlet for quality work, which has built a solid base of production skills in the Nimbin community.
There have been three editors since the tabloid’s inception. The founding editor was Bob Hopkins, who was closely associated with the NCDA. A prolific writer, he has stated his “belief that an informed community meant a stronger community, that an open public discussion of issues meant a more thinking and considered group of people that will inevitably cause the community per se to get beyond the cliches and slogans that permeate and dominate the "alternative" way.”
Bob Hopkins was succeeded in 1999 by Peter Atkinson, who held the reins for five years. He maintained that he didn’t mind reading something he disagreed with, as long as it was well argued, and he often reprinted John Pilger articles. Full credit is due to him for carrying the flag as long as he did.
The present editor, since the February 2004 edition, is Bob Dooley, assisted by Sue Stock. They have drawn together a collection of regular contributors and typing, layout and proofing support people. Under this team, the paper has grown from 8 pages with 1400 copies, to a 28 page 13,000 copy full-colour monster, with distribution throughout the Rainbow Region. Its volunteer staff is expanding and now includes a business manager and webmaster.
The paper is growing and evolving. The involvement of new people brings fresh approaches, interesting ideas and new ways of doing things, and the topic of future directions is always open for discussion. As long as we keep the good times rolling.