Imagine a Noosa without its two great coastal national parks and with high-rise buildings along Hastings Street. If it had not been for Dr Arthur Harrold and his wife Marjorie Harrold, that would be the Noosa of today.
Arthur Harrold’s enduring legacy is that he had the vision and dogged determination to shape the Noosa region’s two great national parks – Noosa National Park and Cooloola National Park. Both hea nd his wife had a strong sense of public duty and participated in many of the Noosa community associations of the day. Together they made a formidable team - she with her forthright views on appropriate and inappropriate development and he with his passion for conservation.
Arthur studied arts and medicine at Cambridge University and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where he gained the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Master of Arts. His principal scholastic passion at Cambridge was botany. As a young doctor he served as a Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
He first came to Australia with the Royal Navy in 1945 and remained on demobilisation, having fallen in love with Marjorie whom he met in her home town of Bowral. They settled in Noosa Heads in 1960 and Arthur established a medical practice in Noosaville. He soon became aware of the botanical treasures of the Noosa region, spending all his spare time exploring the then virtually unknown wilderness area of Cooloola. He committed himself to seeing as much as possible of the Noosa-Cooloola region protected as national park and when Noosa Council attempted to build a road around the coastline of what is now Noosa National Park, the Noosa Parks Association was established in 1962 to this end.
Arthur Harrold maintained a relentless stream of meticulously researched conservation submissions and follow-up letters to countless politicians and public servants of that time. To these decision makers, his was a reasoned and reasonable voice for the creations and progressive extension of the Noosa region’s national parks. Those of us who had the privilege of working with him knew him as a man with a fierce determination to achieve conservation victories against all odds, and with the infinite patience to do so.
Arthur Harrold established Noosa Parks Association as one of Australia’s most effective and credible regional conservation organisations, with a track record second to none. He was its Honorary Secretary from 1962 to 1993. Active within the wider Australian conservation movement from the 1960s onwards, Arthur was highly respected as a pioneering innovator. In 1986 Dr Arthur Harrold was awarded the Australia Medal for services to Australian conservation.
Dr. Arthur Harrold, the legend who established the Noosa Parks Association, died on Sunday 8th April 2012, aged 93 years.