20,000 years ago, this area wasn’t even underwater.
It was covered with eucalyptus and paper bark forests.
And it was home to animals commonly found on the Australian plains.
Aboriginal people would have lived here too,
hunting wildlife in areas
that are now deep underwater.
Then 10,000 years ago,
at the end of the last Ice Age,
ice at the poles melted and sea levels rose all around the world,
flooding this low lying coast.
Stories of the Great Flood are still passed down in Aboriginal culture today.
As the sea rose
corals began to grow on the Rocky fringes of the continental shelf,
creating the Great Barrier Reef we see today.
These shallow tropical waters are clear and warm
perfect conditions for coral to thrive.
Sheltered behind this long strip of reef,
a lagoon was born,
an area of protected water larger than all of Great Britain.
With it came a new coastline of shallow sandy waters.
The rising sea cut off areas of high ground,
creating the 600 islands that dot the lagoon.
Some are little more than rocks.
Others substantial mountains covered in Woodland.
The Great Barrier Reef is so large
that it can be seen from space,
quite an achievement considering the size of the creatures that built it.