Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
of which the complete destruction of some shell and timber resources occurred
- the Queensland Government had by 1900 commenced designating small land
areas as national parks. The dominant drive to clear the land for agriculture had
caused the widespread destruction of forests and wildlife; the pace and extent of
that land clearance led, in turn, to controversies about the need for protection
of terrestrial resources (Powell, 1988). In contrast to terrestrial environments,
however, the Great Barrier Reef remained virtually inaccessible to the public and
a low priority for the Government. While the GBRC advocated the scientific
investigation and economic exploitation of the Great Barrier Reef, it increasingly
faced political pressures and protests about the impacts of those activities. In
particular, many complaints were made about the plunder of reef resources
- especially dugongs, trochus and bĂȘche-de-mer - by Japanese crews. Some
charismatic figures, such as the 'beachcomber', Edmund Banfield, and the marine
cinematographer, Noel Monkman, expressed concerns about the degradation of
the Great Barrier Reef resulting from activities such as mining, animal harvesting
and resort development.
By 1930, the use of the Great Barrier Reef had increased considerably as its
waters had become a major shipping route. Reef tourism also expanded during
the 1930s; that industry was promoted after 1930 when the Mackay Chamber of
Commerce initiated the development of Lindeman Island as a tourist resort. The
Queensland Government Tourist Bureau (QGTB) was created as a publicity and
booking office, and was functioning in both of those roles by 1932. The main
strategy of the QGTB was to attract visitors from Southern states to Queensland,
and the organisation launched a promotional literature campaign to highlight
the attractions of the Great Barrier Reef, including its 'economic possibilities'
(Bowen and Bowen, 2002, p290). By 1935, a major campaign to attract tourists
to Queensland was in progress, as reflected in works such as On the Barrier Reef
(Napier, 1928) and Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef (Roughley, 1936). While the
Great Barrier Reef received increasing numbers of visitors after 1930, however,
the lack of a single co-ordinating authority to manage the Great Barrier Reef
led to isolated responses to instances of degradation, and to several authorities
administering various parts of the ecosystem in response to varying pressures
and concerns. Yet an overall strategy for protecting the marine resources of the
ecosystem was lacking, and the GBRC attempted to persuade the Queensland
Government of the need for at least a basic level of regulatory control over the
Great Barrier Reef.
Significant conservation initiatives and legislation were introduced in
Queensland during the 1930s. In 1930, the National Parks Association of
Queensland (NPA) was formed, followed in 1932 by the NQNC, in Cairns. In
1933, the protection of wildlife on some islands of the Great Barrier Reef was
increased when several sanctuaries were proclaimed under the Animals and Birds
Act, 1921 . Increased protection for various marine parts of the Great Barrier
Reef was afforded by means of a series of Orders in Council : in 1933, 1937 and
1939, the removal of coral from many reefs and foreshores was prohibited; in
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