The Australian Coral Reef Society is the oldest organisation in the world concerned with the study and protection of coral reefs, and it has played a significant role in the nation’s history.
The society evolved from the Great Barrier Reef Committee, founded in 1922 to promote research and conservation on the Great Barrier Reef. The committee facilitated the historic 1928-1929 Great Barrier Reef Expedition and it founded, then managed, the Heron Island Research Station – Australia’s first coral reef field research station.
ACRS has played a prominent role in bringing major conservation issues to the attention of governments and the general public, notably the crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks and the Royal Commission into oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef which was the catalyst for the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
While the Society has historically concentrated on the Great Barrier Reef, its focus has expanded to include all coral reefs in Australian waters, particularly in Western Australia. In changing times, and with the introduction of the concept of ecologically sustainable development, the Society encourages members of management and commercial/industrial communities to join academic researchers in contributing to the scientific knowledge of coral reefs.