Geoscience Reference
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Figure 11.6 Sketch map showing Garner's application to mine coral from Kings Reef No. 2
Area, 1937. Source: PRV8340/1 Item 1, Queensland State Archives, Brisbane
In 1939, a syndicate comprising the Villalba Brothers and Martinez and Company
applied for leases over Beaver and Taylor Cays, near Dunk Island, and over Coral
Area No. 1 Townsville ('Sand Cay Island', to the north-east of Lucinda), in order
to collect coral lim e. 40 In May 1940, a lease was granted to Martinez, Chapman
and Company of Innisfail to remove 1,000 cubic yards of coral from Sand Cay
Island; the rights were sold for 3d per cubic yar d. 41 This application indicates the
willingness of investors to form syndicates to obtain coral leases and suggests that,
by the end of the 1930s, coral mining in northern Queensland had become an
established, profitable industry. However, the series of coral licences preserved at
the QSA indicates that this lease was the last granted before the outbreak of the
Second World War disrupted marine industries in the Great Barrier Reef; during
the war, boats were impounded and access to the coral reefs and cays was restricted . 42
No archival evidence was found to indicate whether or not coral mining
resumed after the end of the Second World War. The reports of the Queensland
Chief Inspector of Fisheries published in the QPP indicate that coral and
shell-grit licences were issued continuously by the Queensland Government
throughout the period 1930-1968, representing an increasing number of coral
licences (Figure 11.7) . However, those coral licences were also possibly related
to the collection of coral for tourism and the aquarium trade. One oral history
informant suggested that, after the Second World War, cheaper, terrestrial sources
of agricultural lime were used by sugar cane farmers, including lime obtained
from Chillagoe and Calcium, near Townsvill e. 43 I n addition, in 1940, increasing
attention was given to the protection of coral reefs in response to the development
of tourism in the Cairns, Townsville and Whitsunday regions; the extraction of
coral from 28 coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef was prohibited . 44 Attempts
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