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AIDA was formed in 1965 to oppose a proposal to build a camping ground close to the mouth of the Painkalac. Since then, there have been repeated proposals for developments along the Painkalac valley, which AIDA has always opposed. The importance of the open valley and its natural beauty is consistently recognised in the periodic community attitude surveys AIDA has conducted over the past 20 years.

Any history of AIDA must commence with the recognition of the role of Ian McMullen Noble (1924-1991), who, as remembered by Rachel Faggetter in his obituary in the September 1991 AIDA Newsletter,

“…worked energetically on behalf of Aireys Inlet all his life and in many different ways. Grandson of Mr. George Noble of Angahook, and a civil engineer by profession, he was a very active and effective campaigner for the protection and conservation of the special environment and qualities of this district.

Ian was the inaugural chairman of the Aireys Inlet Progress Association, which was formed in May 1965 largely in response to a proposal by the Shire to construct a camping ground on the river flats. In January 1967 it became known as the Aireys Inlet Community Association and Ian was its chair for the next two years. In December 1972 the name was changed to the Aireys Inlet and District Association to reflect the changing nature of the community. Ian was always a member of the AIDA committee and was president 1981-82.

From 1987 until his death Ian was also chairman of the Aireys Inlet Foreshore Committee of Management. Furthermore he was the leading figure behind the design and installation of the water supply system and chaired the early Water Works Committee formed on 29th July, 1975. The project commenced in 1978, and was completed the following year. It later became the Aireys Inlet Water Board and Ian continued to act as chairman until his death.”

The great contributions to AIDA of another founding member, Brian Williams, were described by Barbara Leavesley in the December 2011 AIDA Newsletter.

Brian was a member of AIDA since its inception in 1966 when it started life as the Aireys Inlet Progress Association. He was on the Committee for more than 30 years – a most amazing record. 

AIDA’s role in the early days was much more hands on and Brian, as a member of the Committee, was heavily involved in organising and working in the conservation and restoration of the Foreshore of Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven, Moggs Crk and Eastern View. He was also at the forefront of the eradication of coastal weed species, particularly South African boneseed. 

In this way Brian was involved in pioneering the formation of the current Foreshore Committees and the coastal weeding group. 

At this time, AIDA and therefore Brian, was involved with many new activities, such as the reticulated water system, lobbying for the Angahook State Park, the proposal of tennis courts, the instigation of an Art show and many more, all of which have helped to make the Aireys Inlet District a better place.

In a major contribution to recording AIDA’s story, in 2000 Brian collated information on AIDA’s activities reported in AIDA’s newsletters up to that time and prepared “A BRIEF HISTORY OF AIDA: from birth to 2000”. This can be accessed in full here AIDA History 1960s-2000.

Many other individuals who have played seminal roles in the history of AIDA can be found in the lists prepared by Brian of the office holders of the management committees of AIDA (and its predecessors the Aireys Inlet Progress Association and the Aireys Inlet Community Association) during the period 1966-2000.

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