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expected to be preserved at the QSA - including licences for coral mining areas
whose existence was suggested by the logical sequence in which the licences
were issued - were not found despite exhaustive searches. In addition, files that
were initially expected to be found at QSA - including the earliest management
plans for the island National Parks of the GBRMP - were not found there, and a
strategy of searching for government records in regional departmental offices was
developed in response to this problem. Some management plans, for example,
were obtained instead at the departmental offices of the QPWS, in Cairns. The
cases described above suggested that some useful documents may still potentially
be available in regional departmental offices, or otherwise may have been lost or
Newspapers contain journalistic articles about many events in the history of
Queensland; a selection of newspaper reports was searched for data about reported
conditions and changes in the Great Barrier Reef. Since those reports contain
an enormous amount of material, for many localities, over an extensive time
period, the selection was limited to those locations, dates and topics for which
other sources had already indicated that useful information might be gained. For
example, information about the commercial dugong fisheries was obtained from
the Brisbane Courier-Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald , and evidence of coral
and guano mining in the Cairns region was obtained from reports published in The
Cairns Post . The Cairns Post was also searched using an index at the JCU Library,
a catalogue at the Cairns Historical Society (CHS) and The Cairns Post archives
in Cairns. Analysis of newspaper reports revealed that popular perceptions of
environmental changes - for example, the impacts of coral mining on birds at
Michaelmas Cay - were highly subjective and required cross-referencing with
other sources of data. Details of coral mining in the Great Barrier Reef were
found, for instance, but evidence of that activity gained from newspaper reports
required corroboration by other evidence.
Manuscripts included collections of miscellaneous documents: papers, field notes,
diaries, presentations, book manuscripts, photographs and correspondence.
Several relevant collections of material were found in the manuscript collection
of the NLA, including the papers of the renowned marine biologist, Isobel
Bennett, and of the poet, Judith Wright. Those manuscripts were searched
exhaustively, as they related explicitly to the Great Barrier Reef, and they
yielded many data. For example, the papers of Isobel Bennett provided details
about the creation of the boat channel at Heron Island, perceived impacts of
coastal development on the condition of inshore coral reefs and the growth
of tourism in the Great Barrier Reef. However, inevitably, the manuscripts of
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