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Birth of a Coral Island

Nature of Coral

Flowers of the Reef

The Echinoderms

Amazing Defensive Weapon

Turtles of the Reef

Strange Behavior of Reef Crabs

A Deadly Killer

World's Largest Shellfish

Strange Oysters of the Reef

Rare fish of the Coral Seas

Unusual Vegetation

Birds in Millions

Angling Unsurpassed



Wonders of the great barrier reef

The largest continuous mass of coral in the world, the Great Barrier Reef extends for 1,260 miles along the North Queensland coast from the Murray Islands, south-east of New Guinea, to Breaksea Spit, about 150 miles north of Brisbane. Along its northern half, where it is closest to the Queensland coast (near Cape Melville it is only seven miles away), it is almost a continuous barrier; but along its southern half, as it gradually recedes from the coast, it becomes more and more broken, till at its southernmost extremity it becomes an intricate maze of reefs, some exposed, others submerged, with small coral islands, heavily vegetated, scattered here and there amongst them. The area of water enclosed between these great reefs and the mainland embraces about 80,000 square miles.

Between the Great Barrier Reef and the mainland is another long chain of islands, usually known as "mainland" islands. Their size and height vary greatly, but in the Whitsunday Group some are several miles long and rise to a height of 1,500 feet. In the Hinchin­brook Group they are even larger and grander. The lofty peaks of wild, mysterious Hinchinbrook Island rise to a height of over 3,000 feet, and the island itself is more than 30 miles long. Although most of these islands have a fringing reef of coral, they are not coral islands. In the distant past they formed a mountain range on the east coast of Queensland, which then extended much feathers of birds were deposited on it farther east than it does today. Gradually this portion of the coast sank till the sea flowed over it, only the mountains remaining above the surface.





Wonder Book of Knowledge