Ocean explorer honoured by reef naming

The life of ocean pioneer Neville Coleman OAM is being celebrated with a reef being named in his honour in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Australian marine natural history author, publisher, naturalist, photographer and pioneer of ocean exploration received an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to conservation and the environment in 2011.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said Neville’s passion for the Great Barrier Reef was inspirational.

“Neville was a living legend and pioneer of ocean exploration and discovery — he left the world richer from his discoveries and created a unique visual legacy for future generations to treasure,” Dr Reichelt said.

“Recognising a gap in science at the time, Neville collected live marine animals he found so future scientists could identify living marine animals without killing them.

“He discovered more than 450 new ocean species and travelled 64,000 kilometres around the Australian coast observing, recording, photographing and collecting thousands of marine creatures.”

Following this work with the Australian Coastal Marine Expedition, Mr Coleman later established the Australasian Marine Photographic Index and catalogued more than 12,000 species.

Nigel Marsh — who put forth the reef naming nomination — said Mr Coleman left a lasting legacy on everyone who knew him.

“Neville was my mentor and close friend, and still inspires me today. Neville first dived on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1960s, and during his lifetime explored all parts of the Marine Park during thousands of dives. I felt it was only fitting this great man should have a reef named in his honour,” Mr Marsh said.

“Hundreds of reefs on the Great Barrier Reef are only known by numbers, but I wanted to select a special reef to carry Neville’s name.

“I decided on Reef 20-389 as I had dived this large reef, found in the Pompey Complex, and it was also very rare, being the location of a spectacular blue hole, one of just four blue holes known to exist on the entire Great Barrier Reef.”

Mr Coleman passed away in 2012.

The newly named Neville Coleman Reef, reef number 20-389, is approximately 235 kilometres east of Mackay.

Neville Coleman Reef was officially named through a formal process involving the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Royal Australian Navy–Australian Hydrographic Office and the Queensland Government.