William Saville-Kent (1845-1908) was a marine biologist, writer and the most eminent naturalist of his time and authored "The Great Australian Barrier Reef from 1893" short extract shown below.
The pearl and pearl-shelling industry of Queensland is confined to the tropical area of the Queensland coast-line, or, in other words, is essentially associated with the Great Barrier district.
Its headquarters are at Thursday Island, Torres Strait, degrees S. lat., 140 degrees E. long., and thirty miles north-west of Cape York, the northernmost point of the Australian continent.
All the licenses for vessels, boats, and men employed in this fishery, are taken out at Port Kennedy in Thursday Island ; and from this centre, shelling expeditions are made along the mainland coast-line to the northern limits of the Great Barrier coral-reef, and throughout Torres Strait northward to the vicinity of New Guinea. Within recent years pearl-shell has also been obtained in some quantity on the east shore of Cape York peninsular, in the gulf of Carpentaria.