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11 April 2010

Legends of conservation that preserved Noosa for us all

Have you ever sat on the beautiful beach at Noosa or walked through the National Park and thought "thank goodness there is no high rise in Noosa"?

In 1969, Noosa Council had approved a high rise development on the beach side of Hastings Street and in the late 70's was proposing a 12 storey limit on the other side of Hastings Street.  Today, there is a humble three storey limit.  How this happened is the story of two legendary couples, Arthur and Marjorie Harrold and Bill and Mavis Huxley, and the volunteer organisation they founded, Noosa Parks Association (NPA).

Queensland's Noosa and Cooloola National Park region works its magic on all who are fortunate to visit, just as we were at Easter.  Noosa is one of our most valuable tourism destinations in economic terms, but only because concrete development has harmonised with the natural beauty of rainforest scrambling down coastal headland to pristine beaches.

I was awe-inspired to learn that we also have these people to thank for there being no coastal road around Noosa Heads and the existence of Cooloola National Park stretching from Noosa River to Double Island point.  In the 60s and 70s, this area was destined to be ripped apart for sand mining and when the miners moved on, suburban development would have moved in.

The NPA and the people that have volunteered their time and hearts since 1962 are true legends of conservation.  Today, the NPA is regarded around the world as a shining light for successful community environmental organisation.  Unlike well known single issue battles such as the Franklin and Gordon River, the NPA has relentlessly fought and won successive battles over 40 years.

In addition to lobbying, the organisation has a vibrant program of activities including bush walking, bird watching, Greening Noosa and weekly talks at their Environment Centre in Wallace Drive, Noosaville. 

Thousands of visitors to the Noosa National Park (from where you walk around to Alexandria Bay) will also benefit from the recently opened NPA Info Hut and guided walks each Wednesday morning.  Bookings 07 54473522

Dr Michael Gloster, who was President of the NPA for many years, has written a fascinating 10 part series about the NPA and the battles.  These are incredible stories that will enrich your experience of Noosa and remind us all that individuals do have the power to change the world!

More reading:
Timeline of the Noosa District  For history buffs, a thoroughly enjoyable chronology from the traditional Aboriginal inhabitants to modern times. Sunshine Coast Library online resources.

Dr Arthur Harrold was named a Legend of Conservation by the Queensland Conservation Council in 2009.  Sunshine Coast Daily article.

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you in some cases- high rises look awful and remind us of our impact on the planet, but imho, high rise buildings are the only way to cope with our ever-increasing population. I'd prefer we keep as much of our arable land for regeneration and plantations, not urban sprawl. Cities should be built upwards in dense clusters (stores on bottom, living in middle and rooftop gardens or solar panels on rooves would be nice), not outwards- the extensive flood damage to QLD should be somewhat demonstrative of this theory. We don't have enough arable land to all have a pretty few acres somewhere, nice as it would be, unfortunately the majority of people before us had no concept that their actions would seriously damage the land and it is us and the generations that follow who are going to have to make up for it through extensive reforestation and maybe stopping ourselves every time we progress with the notion "this is our right". What right? We are animals all the same, the only difference is we screw with everything else.
I really like your blog though, so many inspiring ideas and applaudable concepts :) I'll definitely be back.

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