Teaming with marine life and with more than 344,400 square kilometres of spectacular coral reefs, sand cays and islands, the Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s most precious marine possession and the largest living organism on Earth. It can even be seen from space.
In 1963, Judith Wright and a small group of dedicated conservationists, recognised the need to protect the Reef from coral-limestone mining and oil exploration. They formed the Queensland Preservation Society in response to that threat and in 1967 were labelled as “cranks”. From 1963-1976, Wright wrote letters daily to politicians and the media and the small group were joined by scientists, trade unionists and politicians throughout Australia. Her book titled “The Coral Battleground” documents the lengthy campaign to “Save the Reef”.
Together, the biodiversity and interconnectedness between species and habitats, represents one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth and,
largely due to the efforts of Wright and her dedicated visionaries, The Reef was declared a World Heritage Area in 1981.
My work, titled “The Coral Battleground”, pays tribute to Wright and the passionate and dedicated people like her, who are brave in the face of bureaucracy and public apathy, and are not frightened to act for the environment.
Fiona Rafferty – Reminiscence – A Tribute to Judith Wright (Narrabri, October 2015)