Kathleen McArthur - Wild/Flower Woman

Kathleen McArthur (1915 - 2000) was a wildflower illustrator, writer and conservationist who used her art to champion Queensland wildflowers and their environments and ecosystems.

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Kathleen drawing, c1950s. Image courtesy of Hugh McArthur.

Kathleen McArthur can also be called a ‘wild flower woman’, as she could be ‘wild’, determined and difficult, to ensure there was a voice for the wildflowers, creatures and landscapes that she loved. Her passionate desire was that her work might help others come to know, love and protect our natural heritage.

When the mind opens the flower blooms   

Because our flowers have never settled into our consciousness they are not seen. People can drive through square miles of colourful, massed display of bloom and simply not see it. It is only when the mind opens that the flowers bloom.

It follows that if the flowers cannot be seen, they do not exist in the mind, so there can be no thought in those minds of protecting and preserving them for posterity1.

This online exhibition was created by Associate Professor Susan Davis, Central Queensland University, for the 2018 Fryer Library Fellowship.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and links to resources may contain images, voices or references to deceased persons.


1. Kathleen McArthur. The Bush in Bloom: A Wildflower Artist’s Year in Paintings and Words. (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 1982, p.8).