Charles was both a natural adventurer and a born contributor. For over forty years he was closely connected with the cultural and community life not only of Brisbane, but also of Queensland, and the wider South Pacific. For three decades, he was a much loved lecturer in Cultural Studies at Griffith University and an active campaigner for cultural and community life at all scales from the local to the international.
Research for his remarkably original PhD on cultural characteristics and contrasts across the South Pacific was enriched by his natural love of travel. Over a period of nearly three decades, these insights into cross cultural comparisons and similarities enthused generations of students at Griffith University to widen their social vision. His statewide interests never faltered. In the I990s he was an influential member of the Queensland Aesthetics Forum (QAF) campaigning successfully for high standards of environmental quality and urban design from the level of the street community to that of the State cabinet.
Later he and Pat took time out to undertake direct cultural rural development work in Tasmania. Returning to Queensland nearly a decade ago, he again threw himself into sustained activism, again at all scales. He joined in the 2013 demonstration against over development of the Kurilpa Point area, that launched the start of Kurilpa Futures with whom he remained closely associated.
He was also soon hard at work at the state scale again with his regular contributions to the Queensland State Libraries Design Online. His vivid and thought-provoking pieces made him one of their most widely read contributors. Punchy pieces on Universal Design, Architectural concepts of space and their limitations, semiotics, the joys of draftsmanship, the style and role of cartoons, and architectural design and urbanism in the South Pacific indicate the range of his interests and expertise. They also reflect his consistent focus on cultural values, the needs for public life and his lifelong range of interests and capacities. These enjoyable ideas pieces are readily available on the State Libraries website and can still be relished at http://designonline.org.au/author/czuber/.
Charles was a universalist, linking ideas to action at every scale from preserving the cultural and physical heritages of Central Brisbane through the statewide activism of the QAF to the lasting insights of his lifelong exploration of the cultural commonalties and contrasts of our South Pacific neighbours. He would take great pleasure from knowing that so many of his unique contributions continue to be remembered with pleasure by friends, colleagues and ex students and to be available in both his printed and online publications. He was a dear man who will be sadly missed by a wide range of friends and associates.
Charles Zuber died in Brisbane on Wednesday the 13th of May.
Our warm best wishes to his wife Pat and children Joe, Bill and Alice.