Journalism


Mass coral spawning isn’t just an incredible sight (and tourist attraction). It also provides a way for scientists to help corals cope with a warming future. Turbocharging coral larvae with heat-resistant algae may significantly boost their chances of resisting mass bleaching events.

Here’s a link to my coral spawning story in the current Rex Airlines in-flight magazine True Blue (July/Aug 2020), featuring an interview with coral scientist Professor Peter Harrison, who’s been busy ‘turbocharging’ coral larvae on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Last November I was fortunate enough to dive the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns during the natural wonder’s marvellous annual coral spawning.

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While at Moore Reef pontoon I spoke to marine biologists engaged in the first attempt at a new, highly innovative reef rescue technique.

Called larval restoration, it gives hope that some corals will soon be better able to resist mass bleaching. And it relies on the amazing outburst of new life provided by the synchronous mass spawning event.

READER’S DIGEST (June 2020) has my eight-page feature about this exciting new development in the ongoing struggle to save our coral reefs from the worst effects of climate change.

The issue is out now. Look for the charismatic little white dog on the cover!

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Inspired by the Books Are Essential movement, I shall sporadically post Interesting & Inspirational Books Of Any Era.

Here’s an excellent novel set in Australia’s early convict past:

THE PLAYMAKER by Thomas Keneally

The first play staged in Australia was a sitcom, The Recruiting Officer, in 1789, with an all-convict cast and a First Fleet marine, Ralph Clark, directing. Keneally brings this bizarre colonial footnote to life in a bewitching blend of fact and plausible imaginings. Clark is sensitively handled, and his relationship with convict-actress Mary Brenham proves quite touching. IMG_E3067

Satisfying splashes of myth and magic often involve the kidnapped Eora man Arabanoo and Cornish ‘witch’ Mary Bryant (later a famous runaway).

Keneally is naturally fond of the colony’s writers such as David Collins and Watkin Tench, to whom we owe much of what we know about those times.

But his synthesis of the play’s content and progress with contemporary colonial doings – such as Arabanoo’s bond with Governor Phillip, marines hanged for theft and a London underworld transplanted intact – is The Playmaker‘s greatest triumph.

 

 

On the Road Magazine online has published my travel piece (‘A Real-Life Jurassic Park’) on wondrous Wallaroo Outback Retreat on Wallaroo Station. This Carnarvon Ranges (Queensland) cattle station is twice the size of Sydney and features a flourishing bush ecosystem, cycad ‘dinosaur plants’ aplenty and a truly astonishing array of Aboriginal rock art, including many evocative hand stencils. Boobook Ecotours are the folk to contact for tours and stays.

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READER’S DIGEST‘s September issue includes my feature on Lord Howe Island – eight pages in print and now, in paperless cyberspace, a wondrous podcast entitled AN ISLAND OF WONDERS. Just click that there link!

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IMG_2110 September’s READER’S DIGEST has already sprung into action, sporting the journalistic fruits of my recent jaunt to Lord Howe Island in an eye-catching eight-page spread.

From the heights of Mount Gower’s mystic mist forest to the diamond depths of its coral reef dive sites, Lord Howe is an unforgettable get-away-from-it-all experience. Read all about it!

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IMGP1402 Bai SaoThe elegant new issue of INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLER magazine (June-July-Aug 19) has my feature on Phu Quoc Island, the rapidly developing holiday destination slated to become the Bali or Phuket of Vietnam. It’s a fascinating place – read all about it!

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IMG_1941IMG_0646 Nam Nghi resort

Five Reasons To Love Lord Howe Island travel article in this week’s Woman’s Day (Royal baby special, cover date May 20).

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Just back from a journalistic jaunt to Lord Howe Island, a Pacific Ocean jewel with a fascinating ecology along with excellent scuba-diving and exhilarating bushwalks.

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The results will be published soon, but here’s some snaps of what I got up to. Up is the right word, with the ascent of Mount Gower (875m) a big part of the agenda. That’s the view from the summit, looking on neighbouring Mt Lidgbird.

IMGP1542 (2)The plus-sized bug resting on my palm like Fay Wray with King Kong is the Lord Howe Island phasmid (stick insect), the rarest insect in the world and thought to be extinct for many years until a mere handful were found on an offshore rock. The plan is to reintroduce them should all go well with this year’s rat eradication project.

IMG_1133Happy New Year! The current issue of Diabetic Living magazine features my profile of Greg Donovan for its regular ‘Diabetes Hero’ feature.

Founder of the annual Big Red Bash music festival and Big Red Run desert race, Greg has used these outback events to raise $1.1 million for Type 1 diabetes research over the last five years.

Talking with Greg at the 2018 Bash was a real honour. And the festival’s far-flung setting – 35km beyond Birdsville beneath Big Red, the Simpson Desert’s largest dune – is beyond spectacular.

It’s claimed as the most remote music festival in the world, and I can vouch for it as the ideal location for an earful of decibels from the Hoodoo Gurus, John Farnham et cetera.

 

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