Posted on 11.11.2012, completed on 05.10.2013
Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, stretching for over 2,600 km and over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres, and can be seen from outer space. Therefore it is not only the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth, but also the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. The first recorded discovery of the reef by europeans occurred when James Cook crashed into it in 1770. Cook's quick-thinking crew was able to repair the ship and sail on, but in the coming decades the reef has caused many shipwrecks, until it was mapped in the 1800s. Now, a large part of The Great Barrier Reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (the largest marine protected area in the world), and since 1981 was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Great Barrier Reef supports a diversity of life, including many vulnerable or endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the reef system. It contains more than 400 different kinds of coral species (ten times the amount in the entire Atlantic Ocean), and hosts 1,500 species of fish (some new ones being found every year), more than 200 species of birds, 4,000 types of mollusks, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and six species of sea turtles. Some sections of the reef may be 2 million years old, but the majority is a mere 500,000 years old, young by coral reef standards. The current structure is approximately 6,000 to 8,000 years old, and is growing on top of older reefs.
About the stamps
The gorgeous three stamps are part of the series "Road Trip Australia", issued on September 18, 2012, and designed by Gavin Ryan. The set has three stamps with the value of 60c (they are on the postcard), one with the value of $1.65, and one with the value of $2.35. How Australia Post say, "the large square shape and vibrant colours bring the road trip to life".
This is a post for Sunday Stamps #96, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Anything you wish. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.
Great Barrier Reef - Wikipedia
How the Great Barrier Reef Works - How Stuff Works
Road Trip Australia stamps - Australia Post official site
sender 1, 2: Heather Massese (direct swap)
1: sent from Perth (Western Australia), on 02.10.2012
2: sent from Perth (Western Australia), on 25.09.2013
photo 1: Craig Lamotte
photo 2: Peter Adams