The scattered islets and reefs in or near the Coral Sea to the east of Queensland are very remote and few zoologists have visited them. An account of the only zoological collection made at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs appeared in the Australian Zoologist 8 (4), 1937: 199–273.
Over the last 15 years or so the Australian Museum has received several well-preserved collections of fishes from Queensland, the Coral Sea, New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island and other South Pacific localities. The fish-fauna of Lord Howe Island has been catalogued by Waite (1904, Rec. Aust. Mus. 5(3): 187–230; 180 species listed), but many new records have appeared in the last few decades.
The Australian Museum's acquisitions from New Caledonia were listed by Whitley (1961, Proc. Roy. Zool. Soc. N. S. Wales 1958–59: 60–65) but a valuable collection of 456 fishes made by Dr. D. F. McMichael from remote islands in the Coral Sea when he was aboard H.M.A.S. Gascoyne in 1960 has not hitherto been reported upon, except for the description of one new species (Whitley, 1962, N. Queensland Nat. 30 (131): 3). This collection contains many Melanesian species and has been of value in studies on their distribution; several novel species or ones of special interest are described or figured in this paper in association with the 577 fishes obtained during the brief visit to Swain Reefs, at the south-eastern end of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, of the Australian Museum's 1962 Expedition, which is the main object of this report. Altogether 102 different species were collected, but only the more interesting sharks and fishes are dealt with below. Etc.