3 December 2014

Clunes Village Profile - Howard & Elle

“You got me in my gardening hour”, smiles Howard, as we sit down in the bright kitchen of their Clunes bungalow. His vowels still reveal a touch of the classic New York twang even after 27 years in Australia. “I forced him to change!” says Elle, who is originally from Amsterdam where she and Howard met 42 years ago. Together the couple have three children and five grandchildren, and have helped pioneer the local organic herb industry from where we are now sitting.

Howard Rubin and Elle Fikke came to Australia during the open-door immigration policies of the 1970s and 80s, hoping to start a herbal tea business. Having sold everything in the UK, they went on holiday to Bali, met some friendly Aussies there, and turned up in 1987 to a house in Tuntable Falls which had been arranged for them by some herb growers in Nimbin.