First week on the job for new island caretakers

It’s the first week on the job for the new caretakers on Low Isles, a 1.6 hectare coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off Port Douglas.

Jane Macdonnell and Peter Nolan are taking up the caretaker role on the tropical island after a merit-based AusTender process run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Marine Park Authority Project Manager Field Operations Stephanie Lemm said the new caretakers would play an important role in protecting and presenting the values of the island.

“We’re delighted to have Jane and Peter take up the role as caretakers — they’re no strangers to Low Isles having volunteered as relief caretakers at Low Isles on a number of occasions,” she said.

“They’ve both had diverse professional careers, most recently in the legal and managerial field, and are longstanding members of Queensland Surf Lifesaving.

“The caretakers are very lucky to live on a beautiful tropical island, though there’s lots of work to do ranging from weeding and carrying out pied imperial surveys to maintaining the buildings and cleaning the compost toilets.

“They play an important role in protecting the values of the Great Barrier Reef and maintaining the heritage values of the Commonwealth Heritage Listed lightstation at the popular tourist spot, which is also a carbon neutral island.”

As the new caretakers, Jane and Peter are both looking forward to being involved in protecting the Great Barrier Reef in a very practical way.

"We have a genuine passion for the natural environment, and Low Isles in particular, and we feel very lucky to have the opportunity to care for this wonderful place" Jane said.

"We're very excited about our new role as caretakers of Low Isles, and we are looking forward to meeting and working with all the stakeholders," Peter said.

Low Isles is a Commonwealth-owned island, managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The caretakers live and work on the island.