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Fun at the Fair

It was a small event with a big heart, as the inaugural Cooktown Reef Fair took place on Wednesday June 22, on the town’s esplanade.

About 150 people came to the event which was designed to bring together groups working on local catchment and Reef health to promote the Great Barrier Reef and how it can be protected.

Coordinated by Cape York NRM, stall holders who joined us included the Cape York Water Partnership, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Department of Environment and Science, and South Cape York Catchments.

“We all collaborate with landholders and communities to protect the Reef, whether it be through water quality monitoring for the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program, coral monitoring, erosion control, beach clean-ups, fire management and many other activities,” Fair organiser, and Cape York NRM Sustainable Industries Officer, Natalie James said.

“There are so many different ways people can get involved.”

The fair was also about having fun, with games and interactive art and craft on hand, as well as a few keepsakes, such as Cape York NRM cups, caps and even a colouring-in book. 

Educational material and a video room for more detailed information was set up for interested visitors. A free sausage sizzle run by the Cooktown Crocs Underwater Hockey Club and music by the Harrigan Brothers drew a healthy crowd as the evening set in. The slushy van was an added bonus.

“I was really taken by the genuine interest from everyone in what we do, from the kids, to adults. We really didn't know how it would go. There was a thirst for knowing what is happening on the Cape and for taking part in a local grassroots event,” Nat said.

“The crowd was really happy, the kids were so engaged, and it had a real community feel about it. And to top it off, we had the lovely setting of the Blue Water Club. You don't get better than that. 

“We also want to give a shout-out to kids who jumped in to help us set up in the afternoon, and those who gave us a hand packing up at the end of the night. We really have a great community here in Cooktown.”

Nat said that based on this year's response, Cape York NRM would be keen to make it a more regular event. 

“There are so many other groups doing great work on Cape York Peninsula who we would love to celebrate with in the future. So watch this space!”


The event was funded by the Australian and Queensland governments' Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program and the Queensland Government’s Natural Resource Investment Program and the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.