Great Barrier Reef

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History of Great Barrier Reef

The region has been known to and used by the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal Australians dwelled in the area for more than 40,000 years, and Torres Strait Islanders since 10,000 years ago.

Louis de Bougainville found the reef during an exploratory mission in the year 1768. However, he did not claim the area for the French. Later, on June 11, 1770 the HM Bark Endeavour, captained by explorer James Cook, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, sustaining considerable damage eventually saved.

HMS Pandora, which sank on August 29, 1791, killing 35 was prominent wreckage. Because the reef had no atolls, it was largely unstudied in the 19th century. But during this time, some of the reef's islands were mined for deposits of guano. Also lighthouses were built as beacons throughout the system. The Great Barrier Reef Committee began carrying out much of the early research on the reef in the year 1922.

In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef gained international recognition through its inscription on the World Heritage List.


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