Rory McCourt, in his 70s, died on Sunday 10th May following a dreadful illness. He fought hard for the environment of the Whitsundays. Rory also advocated on wider environmental issues.
He lived at Shute Harbour, having moved from Sydney after a successful creative career around 20 years ago. He was a leading figure amongst those concerned about Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, especially as a key person on the management committee in the local group Save Our Foreshore (SOF) formed in October 2004.
SOF fought the proposed hotel development on Airlie’s foreshore, with Rory also playing a leading role campaigning against other inappropriate developments including the proposed Shute Harbour Marina development, which is still active. He established links with Mackay Conservation Group and others beyond the Whitsundays.
Rory had a calm, warm and gentle nature offering an intelligence and humour. It was always good to listen to his thoughts over dinner, or when talking with others providing a careful, thoughtful but persistent advocacy. He would not be ruffled in a heated discussion.
Rory was talented, publishing a book “No Killing Sky” in 2017 (New Internationalist), an easy to read thriller with a global environmental theme. It was dedicated to his wife Kerry who supported him so well during his illness. His creativity shows in a cartoon he drew reflecting the relationship between the Whitsunday mayor and SOF.
At MCG, those who knew Rory relish that opportunity to having shared some of his life with us, imprinting some of his nature on us. He was always ready to write letters to the media and politicians and assist with campaigns, contacting us to ask how he could assist, generously donating his time and funds to protect the places he loved in our region. His memory motivates us to further advocate for the common good, especially that of the environment. Our hearts go out to Kerry.