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Museum of Underwater Art

The Great Barrier Reef is now home to the construction of the only underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere.

Project overview

The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) in North Queensland will be a major tourism attraction and highlights reef conservation, restoration and education on a global scale.  The museum—developed over three stages—is an Australian first, delivering a series of storytelling sculptures submerged in the waters off Townsville's Strand (Stage 1), Palm Island (Stage 2), Magnetic Island and John Brewer Reef in the Great Barrier Reef (Stage 3).

This project aims to enhance the region's art and reef experiences.

Artworks will inspire reef and ocean conservation action, showcase local indigenous culture and provide positive environmental impacts for the reef.

Stages one has been completed and stage two is well underway.

Once Stage 3 is fully commissioned in early 2022, the museum is anticipated to be a drawcard for more than 50,000 international and domestic visitors annually.

The Artist

Art installations within the museum are being created by the world’s leading underwater sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor, with support and engagement from local community artists.  The artist’s work attracts global interest from tourists and divers eager to learn and interact with his sculptures.

This project is a part of the $25 million Growing Tourism Infrastructure (GTI) Fund 2020/21 and Queensland’s Unite & Recover Economic Recovery Plan aimed at creating jobs and accelerate the State’s recovery from COVID-19.

Stage 1

Ocean Siren

Ocean Siren is an intertidal sculpture on the Townsville Strand and modelled on a local Traditional Owner, Takoda Johnson. The sculpture will change colour as the water temperature changes.

Coral Greenhouse

The underwater ‘Coral Greenhouse’ is located at John Brewer Reef. The 12 metre high interactive and educational Greenhouse is a place of regeneration for coral and marine life. Commercial Tourism Operators including Adrenalin Dive Townsville, Sealink Townsville, Pro Dive Magnetic Island, Yongala Dive Burdekin and Orpheus Island Resort will operate tours to the Coral Greenhouse, with the first tour commenced on 2 August 2020.

Stage 2

The second stage of the Museum of Underwater Art in Palm Island has been funded by the Australian Government.  Artworks for this stage of the project are due to be installed by June 2021.

Stage 3

Art installations for the third stage of the project are being delivered at Magnetic Island, Townsville, North Queensland with support from the Queensland Government’s Attracting Tourism Fund and Growing Tourism Infrastructure 2020/2021 Fund.

Benefits

  • First underwater art museum in the southern hemisphere

  • Grow local economy by $22.5 million

  • Attract 50,000 visitors from around the world

Installation of the underwater art museum

Testimonials

  • “I am excited by the installation which will become one of Queensland’s iconic destinations where people can see not only the greenhouse but the coral gardening installations that will support the gallery.”

    Jason deCaires Taylor, UK based, world-renown sculptor, environmentalist and a professional underwater photographer engaged by MOUA for this project.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2020