Celebrating over 50 years since the first Romeo Lahey Memorial Lecture.
The Romeo Lahey Memorial Lecture honours the principal founder of the National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ), who remained President for more than 30 years and was instrumental in convincing the Queensland Government to declare many of the state’s national parks gazetted up to the 1970s. Lahey was also co-founder of Binna Burra Lodge, located within the world heritage listed Lamington National Park.
In recognition of the inaugural meeting of NPAQ which was held in the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room of the Brisbane City Hall on 15th April 1930, this year’s Romeo Lahey Memorial Lecture will also be held at Brisbane City Hall.
Just one week after Governor Sir John Goodwin opened the Brisbane City Hall On 8 April 1930 the inaugural meeting of the National Parks Association of Queensland was held in the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room of the Brisbane City Hall on 15th April, 1930. In recognition of the historical link, this year the NPAQ Romeo Lahey Memorial lecture will be held in the Kedron Room.
Romeo Watkins Lahey (1887-1968).
Founding President (1930) of NPAQ, Engineer, Businessman, Timber merchant, Veteran of WW1 and WW2, Conservationist, National Parks Advocate, Founder of the ‘Save the Trees’ campaign in 1946.
‘In October 1915, he delivered a lecture to the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia Queensland Branch titled ‘Some reasons why national parks should be established in Queensland, with special reference to Lamington National Park’, and called for other large areas to be reserved as national parks as well as an extension of the state forest system. While enlisted in WW1 with the 11th Field Company Engineers AIF, Lahey continued to steer discussion about the park’s management, protection of all species, its access and the naming of locations (he suggested Aboriginal words be used as placenames.’
This year the lecture will be delivered by NPAQ Councillor, Steve Noakes who is also Chairperson of Binna Burra Lodge and also a member of the Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and a member of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland.
Steve’s address will comment on key issues and themes from the past half-century of expert speakers who have delivered the Romeo Lahey Memorial Lecture and some of the major current issues facing Queensland’s national parks.
The Lecture this year will also reflect on the end of another Lahey legacy. It comes some two years after the central heritage lodge and pioneer cabins at Binna Burra were destroyed at the early stages of the six months of the Black Summer Australian bushfires. The original building at Binna Burra was Leighton House built in Canungra in 1902 and owned by the Lahey family. In 1934 it was transported piece by piece on horseback up the track to Mt Roberts and remained the Binna Burra Lodge reception and lounge until it was burnt down in the bushfires on Sunday 8 September 2019. The ‘Black Summer’ bushfires across Australia saw over half of the 366,500 total hectares of the Gondwana World Heritage forests destroyed or damaged.