By Trish Bowman
In a move to promote the region, Livingstone Shire Council have partnered with private enterprise and Dr Alison Jones to help produce her new book, Keppel Islands – Extraordinary Reefs.
Written and collated by Dr Jones the book brings together a beautiful collection of photographs and information based on her extensive research.
Dr Jones is an independent research scientist with a bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry from James Cook University and a PhD in coral physiology from CQUniversity and the Australian Institute of Marine Science
She has also been a cattle farmer with a property located on the Capricorn Coast and knows more about sustainable farming practices and the health of our reef than many, having spent over 15 years in marine tourism and researching the health of our local reefs.
Dr Jones said she is excited to have finally finished designing the book which is now ready for print.
“It showcases the beautiful reefs and islands and is a dive and snorkel guide to my favourite spots,” Dr Jones said.
“It has lots of referenced scientific information in plain language to explain why Keppel Island’s reefs are so unique to the Great Barrier Reef.
“All the images are from me or other locals who have kindly provided them, so they are truly representative of our beautiful region.
“The book is dedicated to the Woppaburra people who now have native title and the Keppel Islands are their sea country.”
Dr Jones said most importantly, the book has good news because our reefs are a refuge for climatic disturbance, with our reefs having evolved to grow laterally where many others have failed, and this is increasingly recognised by our top research agencies.
“I know that many locals cherish the reefs and islands and am hoping this book will be something they can show visitors to encourage them to visit our region and get in and, on the water,” she said.
“It is also important for local tourism as they have been hit hard by recent events, and this will be a great boost for them.
“I’m hoping it will be picked up as the top tourism souvenir for the coast for many years to come.”
Livingstone Shire Councillor Adam Belot who put a motion to Council at the April meeting to support the initiative, said he was pleased to hear our regions reefs were in good shape.
“I know a lot of people are enthusiastic about our reefs, beaches and islands,” Cr Belot said.
“I am also very aware of how hard our pineapple growers and graziers in our community have used responsible farming practices to protect these valuable environmental assets.
“I see Council partnering with Dr Jones as a sensational way to promote our region’s beautiful attributes everywhere.
“I believe in supporting initiatives such as Dr Jones book are a positive way to promote the amazing Southern Great Barrier reef’s environmental, cultural and economic significance.”
Sponsor, Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said as locals, we have always known how incredibly wondrous the reefs dotted about the Keppel Bay Islands are, and Dr Jones’ book will further enhance the credibility of this precious ecosystem.
“Spending more than half her life living and working throughout the Keppel’s, we are proud to call Dr Jones a Capricorn Coast local, extending her knowledge and expertise in order to protect our underwater gardens and marine life,” Ms Carroll said.
“This new book will be a great asset for the entire Southern Great Barrier Reef destination, sharing real images of real places, many of which are easily accessible to visitors.
“Our region’s sub-tropical climate is a significant tourism drawcard, making Keppel Bay a premier diving and snorkelling destination, welcoming visitors from far and wide to experience this global icon.”
Sponsor partners for the book are Livingstone Shire Council, Capricorn Enterprise, JRT Civil, Great Keppel Hideaway and Keppel Konnections, Freedom Fast Cats, Keppel Turtle Fund, Barry Brooks and Sons and Surf Lakes.
Dr Jones said she thrilled to have received such support from her amazing sponsors to get the book printed and out to the broader community.