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One hundred years ago, in early 1922, the Royal Geographical Society was approached by Sir Matthew Nathan, Governor of Queensland, and President of the Queensland branch of the Royal Geographical Society of Australia, seeking support for a research expedition to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).


This request came at a time of rapid political, economic and social transition in the UK following the Great War and at a time when British society was still reluctant to offer economic and social equality to women.


Six years later, a major expedition to the GBR, led by British scientists, was to take place with six of the 16 British participants being women.


The GBR Expedition was ground-breaking in many respects, particularly in the interdisciplinary nature of the science, the scope of scientific observations and measurements and the establishment of exceptional ecological and geomorphological benchmarks. It can reasonably be claimed to mark the birth of modern coral reef science.
 

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The Great Barrier Reef expedition 1928-1929

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Featured image: Painting by S. Manton, with kind permission of her family's archives