The Great Barrier Reef

History, Science, Heritage

The Great Barrier Reef

One of the world's natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef stretches more than 2000 kilometers in a maze of coral reefs along Australia's northeastern coastline. Until now, no biographer has brought the fascinating story behind its mystique into public view. This book provides a comprehensive cultural and ecological history of European impact on the reef, from early voyages of discovery to the most recent developments in reef science and management.


"The book reflects competent scholarship and will be useful as supplemental reading for courses on conservation in the marine environment. Highly recommended." Choice

"This richly detailed and meticulously researched work is w wonderful account of what is probably one of the most undervalued aspects of the GBR (Great Barrier Reef)-its scientific heritage. I greatly enjoyed this book and enthusiastically recommend it to anyone with an interest in the history of science, and particularly coral reef science, in Australia." Pacific Affairs, Simon Foale, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Review of the hardback: 'This book has delighted me. It is what the Great Barrier Reef has always needed; a comprehensive and scholarly history of European exploration and involvement with the Great Barrier Reef.' Frank Talbot, Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney

Review of the hardback: 'This book is comprehensive, scholarly and highly readable, and will be a key reference for the history, science and culture of the Great Barrier Reef for a long time to come.' David Williams, New Scientist

Review of the hardback: 'The book is clearly written and well organised … a very valuable synthesis for reef managers and scientists as well as for undergraduates studying the history of science and conservation. It would be a useful addition to a school library for teachers and a-level students.' Geography

Review of the hardback: 'I enjoyed reading this book … it is a voyage of discovery that weaves coral reefs intricately into world history. Every few pages, through their detailed research. James and Margarita Bowen produce new insights into the role that coral reefs, particularly those of the Great Barrier Reef have played throughout history. This is not a dry historical study. It is interesting and enjoyable and has just won the New South Wales premier's prize for Australian history. It should appeal to science and history buffs, and is a well-documented source book for students of the environment and history, particularly in the management of a World Heritage Area.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

Review of the hardback: '… a truly excellent book … very reader friendly … It is a must to be read by all who are concerned in its welfare …'.

Review of the hardback: '… an excellent, easy to read, all-embracing, and truly interdisciplinary account of the world's greatest reef system. They cover so much more than the biological and environmental aspects of the reef in the book … this is a fascinating story of the reef and its impacts on human attitudes … this is the first work to provide a fully comprehensive history of the 'European' impact over the time of the two centuries from Cook to the present. This remarkable book provides an interesting and detailed account of human involvement in, and influences upon, one of the world's greatest natural phenomena.' International Journal of Environmental Studies

Review of the hardback: '… the first full history of the Reef … The Bowens give a lively history of the exploring and mapping of the Reef … scholarly, well-written …'. Australian Studies