Saving the Great Barrier Reef: One picture at a time

By | | comments |
(Image via

Lachlan Barker fights the lunacy of mining our Great Barrier Reef with a new approach: the spirit-soaring beauty of the Reef itself.

MOST OF MY ARTICLES to do with the Great Barrier Reef and the threat posed to it by mining companies and governments, end up being spreadsheet based, dealing with tonnages of coal, prices in U.S. dollars, the current exchange rate and the like.

While it is important work and does show the financial lunacy of the coal mines of the Galilee basin, I began to feel that I was missing the point.

This point being the Great Barrier Reef is simply magical and wondrous beyond measure — and certainly beyond any written word.

Me and the infinite monkeys could tap incessantly at an infinite number of keyboards till time eclipses for the final time and still not give a sense of the staggering beauty of the Reef.

So I thought what to do about it and fate delivered the answer via radio.

I was listening to Ockham’s Razor on ABC Radio National one Sunday morning when the dry, lucid voice of Robyn Williams – the host – introduced Dr Pat Hutchings of the Australian Museum.

Dr Hutchings then gave an entertaining presentation on polychaetes, commonly known as bristle worms and her team’s study of them on Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef.

The bristle worm team on Lizard Island. Dr Hutchings front row, fifth from left. Dr Elena Kupriyanova, front row far left. (image supplied by Australian Museum.)

I studied zoology myself at uni and so knew that these wondrous worms were a major component of the Great Barrier Reef. So if anyone could provide us with a visual display on the fragile beauty of the Reef, Dr Hutchings sounded like just the person.

So I contacted her and as she was just boarding an aircraft for the States, she put me onto another team leader of the bristle worm gang, Dr Elena Kupriyanova.

I duly contacted her and asked for some pictures of the worms in question and the team at work on Lizard.

She courteously and with great dispatch sent through these amazing photos. 

Normal articles here at IA are 700-1200 words long, however, I am going to clock off short at 400 words because as indicated above, nothing I can write can compare to the pictures.

Turning the Reef into a marine super highway for coal and gas shipping, and maximizing the threat to that amazing and delicate ecosystem is just heartbreaking, mind-numbing madness.

So enjoy the slideshow, and I hope it energises you, as it has done me, to do some tiny thing, every tiny day, to work hard to protect the magnificent, wondrous Great Barrier Reef.

Powered by emaze

(Slideshow supplied by Australian Museum.)

Apolitical organisation GetUp! has a petition which is a good, tiny start.

Sign the petition HERE.

Lachlan blogs at You can follow him on Twitter at @cyclonecharlie8.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Monthly Donation


Single Donation


Keep up. Subscribe to IA for just $5.


Recent articles by Lachlan Barker
Queensland LNG sector continues to drag Santos down

With reporting season for LNG companies just in, Santos' GLNG operation at Glads ...  
Australian test cricket ends summer on a high, though Channel 9 leaves sour taste

The test cricket was wonderful, but the advertising was (as usual) appalling ...  
IA #4 top story of 2016: Queensland's collapsing LNG industry

Lachlan Barker has been closely following the fortunes of Australia's largely ...  
Join the conversation
comments powered by Disqus

Support IAIndependent Australia

Subscribe to IA and investigate Australia today.

Close Subscribe Donate