Geoscience Reference
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Figure 12.3 The access track for the lighthouse supply vessel at North Reef, 1960. Source:
Chesterton (1973, no pagination), obtained from the Queensland Museum, Brisbane
Military impacts in the Great Barrier Reef,
Some documentary and oral evidence suggests that some coral reefs were
damaged by military activities, especially the reef areas that were used for
bombing practice. The impact of military activities was greatest around the time
of the Second World War, when mine-laying took place in the Great Barrier
Reef, and in the two decades afterwards, when several islands and reefs were used
for military target practice. In 1940, the threat of Japanese invasion from the
Coral Sea prompted the Australian Navy to lay mines in each major shipping
passage through the Great Barrier Reef; the No. 11 Catalina squadron, based
at Cairns, was responsible for long-range mine-laying operations in the Great
Barrier Reef (Bartlett, 1940, p7; Baglin and Mullins, 1969, p32). The impact
of the mines used in the Second World War lasted beyond the duration of that
conflict; Lurie (1966, pp79, 81) described the discovery of an unexploded bomb
during the 1960s at Michaelmas Cay, where a controlled detonation of the bomb
was carried out by the Australian Navy. Several oral history informants recalled
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