GREY nurse sharks prowling a cave off the NSW coast, a bushie who could have stepped straight out of a Banjo Paterson poem and an Aborigine marrying technology with tradition.
They are just some of the memorable images of Australian life contained in a new book celebrating a quarter of a century of Australian Geographic magazine photography.
Started in January, 1986, by entrepreneur Dick Smith, the magazine images stretch from outback to ocean. Picture editor Chrissie Goldrick, who selected the photos, said the magazine tried to capture the real Australia.
Among her personal favourites is Justin Gilligan's photo of grey nurse sharks shadowing a school of black-tipped bullseyes and stripeys at the appropriately named Fish Rock Cave off South West Rocks on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
The sharks are claimed by conservationists to be in dire trouble and Fish Rock is one of the battlegrounds in the struggle to save them.
Green groups have been demanding even more stringent fishing regulations around the rock.
When Tom Noytuna used a newly installed telephone at a remote Arnhem Land outstation to call his clan to a corroboree, the photo became an instant classic.
Geographic's photography book reveals he used the phone because he'd been frustrated by people talking over each other when he tried to call on a wind up radio phone.
Hundreds of kilometres further south, Graham Childs was photographed by Colin Beard as he walked the Birdsville Track, carrying all he owned - a swag, some more clothes in a sack, a cheap foam water cooler and billy, and sheltering from the sun under a hat which cost him "fifty bucks".
The Outback has always inspired the magazine and the rigours of life in the great red heart of Australia can be seen in the photo of a stockman who is rescuing a young steer on the vast Brunette Downs cattle station in the Top End.
Legislation rather than a stockman was used to rescue the green and golden bell frog, photographed in an eye-catching pose by Mike Langford.
Once so common it was used in school vivisection classes, numbers of the amphibian had dropped by 80 per cent since Mr Langford took his photo in the mid-1980s.
Since then state and federal laws protect its habitat while zoos, including Taronga, have breeding programs.
Malcolm Holland From:The Daily Telegraph October 22, 2010 10:23AM