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Long-term locals know the history of the grand Greek-style theatre in the Noosa Botanical Gardens, Lake Macdonald Drive, Cooroy but newcomers and visitors may wonder why such a splendid structure with all its ancient Greek and Roman evocations was built here.

Artist Bill Mackay tells us “The late Ida Duncan OAM, PHF and Friend of Rotary, owned a property that formed the entry to the gardens and she hated to see the land used as a dump.”

Bill said “She had toured Greece and loved the amphitheatres and had an idea the vacant hillside could become an amphitheatre. She called a meeting with architects, builders, landscapers and I was invited to give an artistic input.” Bill added. “Everyone said she couldn’t do it without spending a hideous amount of money.”

Never one to let anything get in her way, least of all money, Ida Duncan fundraised furiously while Mr Mackay pushed on with plans. Construction material donated by PGH Brick works and labour was provided through a work for the dole scheme. In 1997 construction was complete and Ida Duncan had realised her dream.

Today the amphitheatre is mainly used for weddings. The Friends of Noosa Botanic Gardens would like to see the amphitheatre used more for concerts and plans are in hand to achieve this.

Ida was a keen “Friend of Rotary”. Her husband Jim was a member of the Rotary Club of Noosa Heads. Both were recipients of the PHF (Paul Harris Fellow) Award, the highest honour granted by a Rotary Club celebrating the founder of Rotary in 1905, Paul Harris. Sadly Ida passed away in 2009 and her loving husband of 67 years Jim, followed shortly after in 2011.

Her friend Lynne Sturrock said Ida, after helping the Cooroy Girl Guides build a local guide hut, became a driving force in the Rotary Club of Noosa Heads and was made a Paul Harris Fellow for community work. She was a stalwart of the Noosa Lioness Service Club, the Laguna Bay Ladies Probus Club, Weyba Art Group, Noosa Bicentennial Centre committee, Queensland Cancer Fund, the Noosa Floral Festival and the Noosa Art Show.

Ida Duncan also started the Zonta Club of Noosa. Money raised over the years has been considerable and supports community projects both locally and overseas.

This material was sourced from the Noosa News and Rotary Club of Noosa Heads records.


NOOSA AMPHITHEATRE NOOSA AMPHITHEATRE Lake Macdonald Drive, Cooroy, Queensland

Click images for a larger view

Noosa Amphitheatre Audience Concert - Click for full photo
Noosa Amphitheater Artists Artists - Click for full photo
Jim and Ida Duncan Founders- The late Jim and Ida Duncan