ANIMAL ART OF THE DAY for World Reef Day: Vintage views of the Great Barrier Reef from 1930s Australian tourism posters

June 1st is World Reef Day!

Did you know coral reefs provide a home for at least 25% of all marine life at some point in their life cycle? Furthermore, the corals themselves are animals too – while often mistaken for plants or rocks, they’re actually marine invertebrates. Coral reefs are built up by colonies of living coral polyps and the calcium carbonate skeletons they produce.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system – and also the world’s largest living structure, so big it can even be seen from outer space! Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, It is composed of nearly 3000 individual reefs and over 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 km (1,400 mi) over an area of about 344,400 sq km (133,000 sq mi). 

Here are some vintage travel posters with artwork featuring underwater scenes of the Great Barrier Reef:

Percival Albert Trompf (1902-1964)
The Marine Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef
Noel Pascoe Lambert
World’s Premier Wonderland, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland…Australia.
c. 1935-9
James Northfield (1887-1973)
Australia: Great Barrier Coral Reef
c. 1932
Gert Sellheim (1901-1970)
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

James Northfield (1887-1973)
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

BONUS #1: not a travel poster, but another 1930s vintage print:

Illustrated page from The Queenslander annual, November 4, 1935, p. 29, reproducing Wilfred Morden’s watercolor A Coral Pool of Queensland’s Barrier Reef.

BONUS #2: This travel poster is from the 1950s, but it’s by a favorite artist and fits the theme!

Eileen Mayo (1906-1994)
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia [“Longspined Butterfly-fish and Heron Island Volute”]
c. 1956-9
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