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Photographs supplied by Michael Fathers

Shaped like a coral bombie, the monument commemorates the life of Doug Tarca (1929 - 1993), who pioneered reef tourism in Townsville.

Doug Tarca was a creative pioneer: a pioneer who saw great potential for Reef tourism in Townsville. Sharing the beauty of the reef was his passion, and with his wife Marie, Doug invested time and money in opportunities to bring about his vision. He was among the first to make possible viewing of the reef for large groups in unparalleled comfort – below the waterline. In the 1980s, this concept was new for the local people, yet it would soon change coral viewing for millions around the world.

In 1967, he launched the world’s largest display of fluorescent corals at Tarca’s Coral Gardens in South Townsville. In 1983 he launched Reef Link, the first daily tourism service between a terminal in Townsville and the Great Barrier Reef, consisting of a high-speed catamaran (Reef Link I), an array of pontoons at John Brewer Reef and an innovative semi-submersible boat (the Yellow Sub) designed to view the reef from below the ocean surface. This service was terminated in 1989.

Tarca is probably most remembered in terms of conceptualising the world’s first floating hotel on the Reef. This hotel operated during 1988 and 1989. It was not a commercial success and was sold to became a floating hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Tarca died in 1993 but many Reef tourism companies have emulated the way he operated day tourist experiences to the Reef as to today.


Address:42 - 68 Palmer Street, Neville George Park, South Townsville, 4810
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.258899
Long: 146.824696
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1967
Approx. Event End Date:1993


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1995
Front Inscription

Doug Tarca Memorial 

This coral "bombie" stands in memory and recognition of the late Doug Tarca. 

The futuristic ideas & visionary qualities that he brought into this world through the Townsville community, continue to create joy in the hearts of many — Thank you Doug

1929 - 1993

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au