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Community & Business

12 August, 2021

Arthur lives on

THERE is not a soul who has been to the Mareeba Animal Refuge that hasn’t been touched by the late Arthur Leslie, whether they be human or animal.


Longtime volunteer and animal lover Arthur Leslie has been remember for his kindness to others, both human and animal.

BY CHANTELLE PEDERSEN 

THERE is not a soul who has been to the Mareeba Animal Refuge that hasn’t been touched by the late Arthur Leslie, whether they be human or animal. 

A Noorinbee East Gippsland local, Arthur often reminisced about his dairy farm, the Macalister Irrigation District and the Cann River. 

Arthur's Great Niece Aliesa recalled staying with her uncle, sitting in the back of the valiant, feeding his calves, riding old Julie the horse and bacon and eggs for breakfast.

His caravanning trip around Australia ended when he visited Walkamin and found the climate suited his asthma (and his garden) but he faithfully picked up The Weekly Times to stay current on rural affairs in Victoria — and got extra dog calendars to gift each Christmas. 

A man of routine, Arthur continued to practice early wake ups even after selling the farm. He'd be at the Mareeba Animal Refuge to walk dogs by 7am, rain, hail or shine, year after year. 

There would not be a rehomed dog in many years that Arthur did not walk, and he was proud to receive recognition for his ten years of service.

An institution, he was much loved by staff , volunteers and visitors alike. If you walked dogs with Arthur he would give you a pocket full of cheese or schmackos and an extra lead so they could have a swim in the channel.

With dogged determination, he won over the most reserved dogs with his treats to take them for a walk. Arthur always had treats for his human friends too, whether it be a cold can of soft drink or a bikkie. 

When I told him I liked dark chocolate, he made sure to get me a block of Lindt 70% whenever he shopped. 

Generous and gentlemanly, he would never let a lady pay for lunch. Felicity recalls one hot summer when she first started volunteering, he'd buy a big box of drumsticks and they'd share one after lunch together. 

Visitors to Walkamin Caravan park each year described their privilege to know Arthur. Their dog used to sit under their van waiting for him to come him and give her a treat. 

Arthur moonlighted as a newspaper deliveryman and enjoyed stopping in to visit his friends in Walkamin to drop off The Express, and have a cuppa and conversation of course. You didn't bring up the Greenies unless prepared for a passionate discourse though! 

When I worked at the refuge and fell in love with one of the dogs, Cassidy, he went out on trial and I thought I'd never see him again. 

When it didn't work out and Cass returned, Arthur swooped in to put a deposit down and swiftly phoned me. Seven years on from the adoption, it's the best decision I almost never made. 

Arthur may be gone, but through the lives he touched, he lives on.

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