For our fourth task we were required to find experts for the World Heritage Sites that we were assigned. Lord Howe Island was assigned to me and as it a natural site I thought it will be easy to find bloggers or travel photographers, etc. It turned out to be quite the opposite. There was no way I could find many people related to it as Lord Howe Island is amongst the rather less frequented places in Australia. It’s beauty is in its purity.
I finally contacted a few people as I could from the Administrative posts and people who have direct association to the Island. Presently, I have two experts from whom I have heard so I am writing about them.
My two experts are:
- Ian Hutton
- Andrew Cavallaro
I asked them very basic questions about the WHS to get their views on it.
My questions were:
Ian Hutton has a B.Sc with majors in plant ecology and climatology. He arrived on Lord Howe Island in 1980 and became enthralled by the unique flora and fauna, beginning a lifetime of observing, photographing and researching the island’s natural history. His plant observations were recorded as notes, photographs, drawings and herbarium specimens lodged at the national Botanic Gardens, Cenberra and Kew Gardens in England.
In 1982 Ian became the first person licenced by the Lord Howe Island Board to conduct guided reef and botanical tours. In 2002 he was winner of the Jaguar Award for Excellence in Innovations in Tours. In 2006 Ian was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to conservation and tourism.
Over the years, Ian has produced ten books on the island, many of which can be ordered on the Books page. Ian has also been instrumental in starting up his ‘Weeders’ program. Several times a year, environmentally-conscious main landers, or Friends of Lord Howe Island, under Ian’s guidance get down on bent knee to help rid the island of weeds. To date, over 13,000 volunteer hours have been devoted to eradicating noxious invaders.
With notable photographic skills Ian’s photos have been published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide, including the New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age. They feature in his books and many are on display in the Photos page of this website.
Ian Hutton has been location consultant for several television documentaries concerned with the birds of the Island, and he has also been busy in a number of scientific projects that are outlined in the Research page of this website.
For the past few years Ian has been on the committee to develop a Multi-species Biodiversity Plan of Management of Lord Howe. He’s also a part-time curator at the Lord Howe Island Museum.
The following was his reply to my Questionnaire.
1-I am currently the Part Time Curator at the Island Museum, and I run a tour company Lord Howe Island Nature Tours- specialising in quality day, half-day and week-long nature tours to share the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island. I also have carried out research on flora and fauna over the past 34 years, resulting in numerous scientific papers, magazine articles and 12 books on the island. I first came to the island in 19802-Lord Howe Island was nominated in 1982 for two criteria to be placed on the World Heritage List – but today it would meet four criteria- Outstanding Landscape; as an example of the earths ongoing geological history, for in situ conservation of rare flora and fauna species, and as an example of ongoing evolutionary principles. The island also has outstanding environmental polices and practices to ensure that the World Heritage values are maintained.3-At its geographic position, in the south west Pacific Ocean, with varying water currents; plus its altitude range (with two mountains 771 and 875 metres high) the island has extraordinary variety of land and marine habitats in a very compact area, just 11km long and two kilometres wide – home to tens of thousands of seabirds, diverse flora species and a cloud forest on the mountain summits, plus a blend of tropical and temperate marine life in the surrounding ocean, including the world’s most southerly coral reef. This diversity, coupled with its long conservation history (going back to 1872) makes it a unique island.
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I think it is a very special place of environmental importance. I would liken it to the Galapagos Islands of Australia, and certainly a place that needs protecting. Lord Howe Island is a real natural paradise – stunning land formations, an important sea and bird life sanctuary and overall well protected. The fact that not many Australian’s, let alone international tourists, know about it, means it hasn’t been overdeveloped or ruined – from what I can gather. I should think it needs World Heritage status to ensure its protection, and would be deserving of that status.