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A stunning composition of corals that naturally formed into the shape of a heart is found in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays. This unique formation of corals has been appropriately named Heart Reef.
See the fact file below for more information on the Heart Reef or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Heart Reef worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
History of The Great Barrier Reef and Hear Reef’s Discovery
- Heart Reef is just a small portion of The Great Barrier Reef, an extremely ancient host of living things, in which living coral grows on dead coral dating back as far as 20 million years ago.
- The Great Barrier Reef was formed by many generations of dead coral that have built themselves into great walls of stone covered in a diverse range of living organisms.
- Examples of these living organisms in the Great Barrier Reef are coral, algae, anemones, sponges, fish, worms, starfish, turtles, mollusks, snakes, crustaceans, and thousands more species of plants and animals.
- The area of the Great Barrier Reef was dry with large, flat coastal plains during the periods of glacial activity or Ice Age.
- There is no direct physical evidence that the first human contact with the reef occurred, however, Aboriginal people of Australia occupied great parts of the Australian continent for 40,000 years.
- Today, the area of The Great Barrier Reef is at a depth of less than one hundred meters below sea level.
- According to the earliest documentary piece of evidence, the first Europeans who saw the Great Barrier Reef was French.
Louis de Bougainville
- On June 6, 1768, Louis de Bougainville who commanded the ships La Boudeuse and L’Etoile On, approached Australia from the east, encountering Bougainville Reef near Cooktown.
- Bougainville Reef is a part of the Great Barrier Reef to the east, named after Bougainville.
- However, Bougainville missed Australia as his ships turned north toward Asia, along the coast of New Guinea, when they were confronted by rough surf in the open ocean, and a short supply of food.
- Louis de Bougainville’s encounter with the Great Barrier Reef, although the first, was minor compared to James Cook’s achievement.
- From May to August 1770, James Cook sailed the length of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Most of the exploration was made well near the shore, probably limiting the view of the reef.
- But on June 11, Cook’s crew became acquainted when their ship struck Endeavour Reef, north of Cape Tribulation.
- The incident forced them to spend six weeks repairing the ship on shore at modern Cooktown.
- Their stranded situation was unexpected but also a blessing in disguise, as it enabled Cook and botanist Joseph Banks together with Daniel Solander to carry out a little progress of direct scientific observation of the Reef, resulting in Cook’s contribution which made the international scientific community aware of the reef’s existence.
- Cook decided to try for the open sea after all repairs were done but could not find a way through the natural barrier. He sailed north to Lizard Island.
- James Cook and botanist Joseph Banks climbed to its highest point and were able to see a break in the reef large enough to permit the passage of the Endeavour.
- This is known as Cook’s Passage.
- The next exploration of the Reef after Cook was done by William Bligh.
- He was the one who charted the Reef in the Providence.
- He spent two weeks of September 1792 in the course of his voyage from Tahiti to the West Indies, charting passages through Torres Strait.
- The further surveys of the Torres Strait Section of the Reef were led by captains Bampton and Alt in 1793, in the ships Hormuzeer and Chesterfield.
- In the next decades, surveys were done in northern Australian waters, usually by small naval vessels. They were done to improve navigational charts for admiralty use, investigate natural resources for future economic exploitation, and to get answers to scientific questions.
- Between 1801 and 1803, Matthew Flinders surveyed the entire Australian Coastline and came upon on what he called Extensive Barrier Reefs.
- In 1819, hydrographer Philip Parker King charted the northern Reef in detail for the first time.
- One of the Air Whitsundays pilots discovered the Heart Reef in 1975.
- Heart Reef is located in Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays, approximately 60 kilometers from the mainland.
- Heart Reef is an outcrop of a coral reef that naturally formed into the shape of a heart.
- The diameter of Heart Reef is just 17 meters.
- The size of Heart Reef is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the whole Great Barrier Reef’s 2,300-kilometer length.
Heart Reef Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Heart Reef across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Heart Reef worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a stunning composition of corals that naturally formed into the shape of a heart and is found in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays. This unique formation of corals has been appropriately named Heart Reef.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Heart Reef Facts
- Reef of Truths
- Words of the Sea
- The Great Barrier Reef
- History of the Reef
- Explorers of the Reef
- What’s the Name?
- Tour Australia
- Reef Reactions
- I Heart The Most
- My Reef Sketch
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Link will appear as Heart Reef Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 8, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.