Bob Abbot speaks at Tewantin Noosa RSL in February 2008.
Bob Abbot speaks at Tewantin Noosa RSL in February 2008. Geoff Potter

'My Noosa': Bob Abbot shares memories

BEANS, strawberries, dairy cows and sawmills.

Former mayor and local identity Bob Abbot recalls the Noosa hinterland where he lived in 1978 was a community of farmers and timber millers, who were the main clients of his electrical business.

As times changed, the dairy industry was deregulated and smaller farms closed down.

Timber mills shut and bean farms who couldn't afford to replace manual picking with machinery moved on to other things.

But one change Bob didn't foresee was his own election as a counsellor and later as mayor or the massive battle for independence he would play a leading role in as Noosa residents fought for de-amalgamation from the Sunshine Coast Council.

"It was just a natural progression," Bob said.

"I come from a family of community-minded people - my parents were always involved in P&Cs, pony clubs - that's what they did. They were always raising money for the community.

"I got involved in the show society in Pomona and when we started to make things happen in the show society I started getting approached by people wanting me to have a crack at the council, and they eventually talked me into it.

"I never had any intention of doing it long term...but it just grew and grew and grew."

Bob's local government career spanned 30 years, including 15 years as a councillor from 1982-1997, and was Noosa Mayor from 1997-2008.

He led a 10,000-strong protest march in Brisbane in 2007 against the merging of Noosa, Caloundra and Maroochydore shire councils.

The councils were merged in 2008 to form Sunshine Coast Regional Council and he was elected its mayor following his Big Bob for the Big Job campaign which secured him 70% of the vote.

He was undefeated in every election he contested and retired in 2012.