Tropical Sydney: Corals in the Harbour?

September 15th, 2014 · Updates


Montage image presented at the recent 88th Australian Coral Reef Society conference in Brisbane.

By James Woodford

Welcome to Tropical Sydney, where a Manly Ferry ride could one day be a coral reef cruise.

Towards the end of her keynote address, at the 88th Australian Coral Reef Society conference in Brisbane, Dr Adriana Vergés, a marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales, flashed a slide onto the screen behind her.

It was a manipulated image of Sydney Harbour, half above and half below the water. The photo looked stereotypically glorious until the audience’s eyes wandered to what lay beneath the surface – a magnificent coral seascape in crystal clear water. There were plate and staghorn corals along with a cloud of tropical fish.

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June 9th, 2014 · Updates

So after a long break…I am planning to start publishing some Realdirt stories again…Here is what I have been working on recently – a land-sharing website, called

Right now it is in the middle of a national social media competition being run by PayPal…Have look and if you like the idea, please vote at:

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The Congo Fox

January 27th, 2013 · Updates


Every now and then you see something on youtube that is really wonderful and subtle and a lot more profound than it first appears:

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January 10th, 2013 · Updates

Youcamp is a community of private landholders who welcome responsible visitors…

Are you a traveller looking for accommodation near a festival or big event, a safe place to park your self-contained campervan, a secluded picnic spot, a traditional camping site far from the crowds, or anything else?

Your adventure begins at



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Good Fences Make Good Neighbours (And Bigger Fish)

August 7th, 2012 · Guest Viewpoint


By Stuart Kininmonth

Last month found me sailing to the coral sea reefs. I was in the middle of nowhere, not a care in the world; one kilometre of water underneath, no land or reefs for many miles and a fair wind giving life to the sails. As usual my thoughts drifted across the horizon as I settled into the rhythmic pattern of this ocean world. I glanced at the plotter and realised I could be in trouble. I raced back to the stern and began frantically pulling in my trawling line.

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The Inter-Planetary Cosmic Egg Yolk Better Known As The Transit of Venus

June 6th, 2012 · News

On my bike,  on my way to work I passed a couple with a homemade telescope out the front of their house in Townsville and they invited me to look at the Transit of Venus…I was skeptical but then made out the disk of Venus in front of the North Queensland Sun and was stunned…I was also amazed when my iPhone captured an image of the spectacle.


And a few hours later I went back for another look…and it looked like this….


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a fANTaSEA: A tale of the planet’s only swimming ant

May 17th, 2012 · News

A story first broadcast on ABC North Queensland

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North Queensland: Tornado One Day, Toad Day the Next

March 25th, 2012 · News




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Lincoln Hall: Everest Conquerer, Author and Iceberg Headstander

March 21st, 2012 · Blog


Photo and story  by James Woodford

I can’t claim to have known Lincoln Hall, whose death from mesothelioma was announced today, very well. In fact for most of my adult life he has just been someone I have admired from afar through his writing, his adventuring and his several scrapes with mortality. But in 1997, for a fortnight, he and I were allocated a shared cabin on a Russian icebreaker bound for an iceberg and mountain climbing expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was strange to be in such close proximity to someone who had been a major hero of mine for over a decade. He was intriguing and enigmatic and I must have seemed like a pest, nagging him for details about this or that amazing adventure as we pounded across the Roaring 40s.

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Old Yella

December 15th, 2011 · Blog


Considering they’re down to a few dollars a kilogram bananas are surprisingly hard work. I wrote, recently, about how sorely our family’s patience was being tested as we watched a mammoth bunch of bananas – literally the size of my five year old daughter – refuse to ripen on one of the palms we planted last year. Eventually, with banana prices back then still around $12 to $15 per kilogram, I hacked it off in the hope that it would hurry up the process. We hung them up downstairs in the shade and cool under the house and for a month they did nothing. Finally I hauled the huge bunch and dumped it in disgust in the compost, way back in the far corner of our yard. A few days later, upending a load of scraps I saw that some of the bananas I had tossed out had amazingly turned yellow. Brushing aside a few potato peels and tea leaves I opened one up and it was delicious and for a few moments I understood the thrill our resident brush tailed possum must get when he strikes compost gold. For about a week we feasted on bananas slowly ripening in the compost bay.

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