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of marine and other trophies' in the Great Barrier Reef; he acknowledged that
the effects of over-collecting were greatest in the most accessible places: those in
the vicinity of the tourist resorts . 25
Yet while Lamond and Marks regarded the activities of collectors as a form of
vandalism, other observers were more sympathetic to the actions of tourists. For
example, C. J. Trist stated: 'Thoughtlessness rather than vandalism can better
describe the desire of this temporary population to souvenir and interfere with
the natural beauty of these islands' . 26 H owever, the effectiveness of the regulation
of shell collection often depended on the willingness of caretakers at the island
resorts to enforce protective legislation. At Lady Musgrave Island, in 1940, an
officer of the QGTB reported the need to curtail shell collecting by tourists,
acknowledging that the need to preserve shells on that reef had become pressin g. 27
Exceptions to the restrictions on shell collecting were made for some
particular purposes, such as scientific research. For example, researchers at the
University of Queensland were permitted to collect shells in the Whitsunday
Group (particularly at Hayman Island) on behalf of Professor Goddard during
August 1941. A similar period of shell collecting by the Royal Zoological Society,
on behalf of the Australian Museum, was permitted at Heron Island in December
1941, and at Green Island in August 195 0. 28 The Secretary of the QDHM
acknowledged that permits for shell collecting for scientific research represented
a special case, and that in general shell collecting should be discouraged. Yet
the Queensland Government remained ambivalent about shell collecting, for
evidence of over-collecting and damage to reefs in tourist areas accumulated;
on the other hand, some shell collections were used to promote both scientific
research and the development of the tourist industry in Queenslan d. 29
By the 1950s, however, both the extent of shell depletion and the level of
concern about damage to the reefs had intensified. The Honorary Secretary of the
Caloola Club of Sydney, following a visit to Heron and North West Islands, wrote
the following account of the extent of the damage inflicted by shell collectors:
We were impressed by the amount of poaching and destruction that has and
is taking place on the reefs surrounding Heron Island. Numerous shells in
which the animals were still alive were seen to be collected by guests, not
with the intention of private collection, but for illicit trading: a hat full of
live Cone shells, several live Cowries of varying species. On one occasion
after a visit to Nor'West [North West] Island, a large live Bailer was collected
by a member of the Management Staff and it later came to our notice that
lampshades using Bailer Shells were available at a given store for Five
Pounds. One member of our party was approached by a guest who had a large
quantity of 'very good coral for sale'. That the illicit taking of live material
is high is very evident by the depreciation of species since my last visit some
ten years ago. Amongst trinkets on sale at the island were large stocks of
'turtles' made from Cowries of two or three species; I do not know the source
of supply of these trinkets, but it is certain that it is very difficult to collect
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