The Great Barrier Reef Project


The first Great Barrier Reef Project took place in 2000, and since then it has become a leading program in the senior years. The Great Barrier Reef Project is an experiential learning program that aims to deconstruct the classroom and take the students to where the learning is.

great barrier reef


Our Year 10 Biology students spend three weeks in northern Queensland (based around Townsville) with a focus on the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest. During this time they complete Unit 2 of the VCE Biology course, using the reef and its associated tropical environment as their context.

Two weeks are spent on Orpheus Island at the James Cook University (JCU) Research Station, where the students study the reef ecosystem first-hand through snorkelling and a range of practical activities. A JCU marine biologist works closely with the students to provide them with an in-depth insight and understanding of the reef ecosystem.

The students also spend time in the tropical rainforest environments near Tully and at Paluma. At Tully the students take part in an Indigenous cultural program with local Indigenous people to gain an appreciation of how people lived in the rainforests of Far North Queensland before White settlement.

In Townsville, the students visit the Museum of Northern Queensland and the Reef HQ Aquarium.

great barrier reef

Academic aims

  • Satisfaction of the requirements of VCE Biology, Unit 2
  • Exposure to the different ecosystems and environments
  • Exposure to the local Aboriginal and European history of Far North Queensland
  • Encouragement of independent learning in students.

great barrier reef

General aims

  • Developing a sense of responsibility for self and others (school work and life skills)
  • Fostering the ability to work cooperatively in teams
  • Developing leadership skills as well as the ability to follow instructions and work in a team
  • Fostering an empathy for different environments and cultures.