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Museum of Underwater Art

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 and John Brewer Reef (Stage 1), Palm Island (Stage 2), and Magnetic Island 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.

Stage 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 $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, $48.6 million Attracting Tourism Fund, $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

The first stage was funded from the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

Ocean Siren

Ocean Siren is an intertidal sculpture on the Townsville Strand and modelled on a local Traditional Owner, Takoda Johnson. The sculpture changes 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.

Stage 2 - Due December 2021

Palm Island

An Artistic installation in the waters off Palm Island has been funded by the Australian Government's Building Better Regions fund and is expected to be installed by the end of December 2021.

Stage 3 - Due December 2021

Magnetic Island

A series of free, publicly accessible semi-submersible tidal installations will be installed in the waters of Magnetic Island, which will enhance and contribute to the Island's current snorkelling experiences while also adding to the sculpture and art trail experience in the Great Barrier Reef region. These installations have been joint funded by Queensland Government’s Attracting Tourism Fund and Growing Tourism Infrastructure 2020/2021 Fund.

Benefits

  • Forecast to support 38 construction jobs and 119 ongoing jobs once operational

  • Estimated to attract an additional 50,000 visitors annually

  • Estimated to boost the local economy by $22.5 million per year

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: 12 Jul 2021