45 Years of Saving the Great Barrier Reef

Margaret Thorsborne holds a self-portrait of pioneering reef campaigner, John Busst, at his Bingil Bay memorial plaque.

Forty-five years ago, in October 1967, the Innisfail Branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society, under the leadership of John Busst, went to court to oppose an application to mine nearby Ellison Reef for limestone. John Busst, WPSQ and their many allies could see that, were this to go ahead, it could mean open slather for a host of other mining and oil-drilling proposals – and lead to large-scale destruction of the Reef.

The court action, which was ultimately successful, was the very first foray into what became a huge battle in defence of the Reef. This eventually led to its listing as a World Heritage site and to the establishment of GBRMPA as the management body.

On Sunday 14th October the group Terrain, from Mission Beach, has organised a commemorative trip to Ellison Reef, which will include some of the early campaigners and an ABC-TV 7.30 team. Following the reef trip the Tully Branch of Wildlife Queensland will host an afternoon tea at John Busst’s former home, Ninney Rise, at Bingil Bay. Now listed on the Queensland Heritage register, Ninney Rise was the centre of much of the early Barrier Reef campaign activity.

If you would like to join either the reef trip, or the Ninney Rise event (or both) you can book by calling Mission Beach Visitor Information Centre 07-4068-7099 or emailing info@missionbeachtourism.com. Click here for a pdf with further information or email townsvillebrolga@wildlife.org.au.

Apologies for such very short notice which unfortunately was beyond the control of the Tully Branch and Wildlife Queensland. Don’t forget to watch 7.30 on ABC1 on Friday 19th October.


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