No shrinking violets but 'wild' flower women! 


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Judith Wright Kathleen McArthur

Kathleen McArthur (1915-2000) + Judith Wright (1915-2000) Art, environment and activism symposium and art exhibition

'Wild/flower Women' takes a look at the life and work of artist/writer Kathleen McArthur and one of Australia's leading poets Judith Wright, two writers and artists whose creative work extended beyond their painting, writing and poetry to tackling major environmental campaigns.

A shared love of the subtle beauties of Queensland's often overlooked wildflowers led to Kathleen McArthur, Judith Wright and their families embarking on a 'wildflowering' expedition across the coast in 1953. Climbing to the top of Mt Tinbeerwah they looked north across the then untouched plains and coastline stretching north to Double Island Point and Wide Bay and declared 'this would make a great national park'.  Their concerns about the limited knowledge of most Australian children regarding our rich natural heritage led to them forming the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ) in 1962 along with naturalist David Fleay and publisher Brian Clouston. Judith Wright served as their first President, with Kathleen McArthur as Vice-President. 

Kathleen and Judith then lead one of Australia's first major conservation battles, creating nation-wide public awareness of the existence of and special nature of the Cooloola region. Working alongside many others, they embarked on a 22-year campaign which finally resulted in the gazettal of Cooloola National Park in 1975.  A highlight of their Cooloola campaigning was the distribution of 100,000 protest cards right across Australia, with an estimated 15,000 of them being sent to Queensland's Premier at the time Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  The women's success was even more remarkable when considering the conservative politics of Queensland throughout that time.

The 'Wild/flower Women' exhibition was stimulated by the 101st anniversary of the birth of these two women and a desire to retell this story of 'wild' women who were able to achieve something remarkable during fraught political times.  A one day symposium is being held at CQUniversity Noosa on November 23, to be followed by an exhibition at Noosa Regional Gallery. The exhibition features a selection of Kathleen's beautiful wildflower paintings, many of which were based on Sunshine Coast flora. It also includes excerpts of Judith Wright's poetry, and ephemera which tells the story of how Kathleen and Judith's love of 'wildflowering' inspired not only their art, but also their activism. 

The 'Wild/flower Women' symposium is being staged in conjunction with the Wild/flower Women exhibition to be held at the Noosa Regional Gallery 25 Nov – 22 Jan.

Symposium date:   Wednesday 23 November, 2016, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm

Cost:    $50 or $30 for students/concession

Place: CQUniversity Noosa Campus, 90 Goodchap St, Noosaville

For more details see:

Bookings: or phone Noosa Campus 07 54407000

'Wild/flower Women' (3)

Community Employment & Training University & TAFE

CQUniversity Noosa :
90 Goodchap Street, Noosaville
07 5440 7000
07 5440 7025
CQUniversity Noosa
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