Reef named in honour of Shark Man – Ron Taylor

Published: 25/10/2013

Ron Taylor, who captured marine life through the lens of a camera and shared his passion with the world, will be immortalised with a reef named in his honour.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority general manager Bruce Elliot said it was a fitting way to recognise Ron’s work as one of the country’s first marine conservationists.

“Ron lived an amazingly full life, ironically starting off as a champion spear fisherman and eventually becoming a world renowned marine conservationist,” he said.

“Survived by his equally passionate wife Valerie, together the two shared a life of wonderful adventures spreading their enthusiasm for marine conservation and educating others on the virtues of sharks.”

The couple spent 40 years sharing their shark and marine conservation message while filming animals of the deep in different locations all over the world.

“Together they changed the perception of sharks, educating others on the species’ importance in maintaining a balance in healthy ocean ecosystems,” said Mr Elliot.
The Taylors’ conservation work not only encompassed sharks. They also contributed greatly to garnering support for the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and its animals.

Valerie Taylor said filming on the Great Barrier Reef launched their careers as cinema-photographers and conservationists.

“Together, we both directed and filmed a series about the Great Barrier Reef which was distributed and played worldwide. We did this project with the aim of capturing audiences’ attention to inspire a love of the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

“Ron would be thrilled to have a reef named after him — we were always both very passionate about protecting the Great Barrier Reef.”

As part of their Reef conservation work, the couple were successful in their fight to have the rare and friendly Potato Cod of Cormorant Pass on the Great Barrier Reef protected from harvesting by sports fishers.

Their careers saw both of the Taylors awarded many accolades for their marine conservation work.

In 1962, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands presented Valerie with the insignia Knight of the Order of the Golden Ark at Soestdijk Palace, while Ron was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003.

At the age of 78, Ron Taylor lost his battle with acute myeloid leukaemia on 9 September 2012. He will always be remembered for his amazing contribution to marine conservation.

Ron Taylor Reef (21-284) is located in the Swains Reefs region, approximately 350km east of Mackay (Lat 21.137°S, Long 152.528°E).

It was officially named through a formal process in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Royal Australian Navy–Australian Hydrographic Office and the Queensland Government.


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