An Underwater Museum Just Opened in the Great Barrier Reef

An Underwater Museum Just Opened in the Great Barrier Reef
Representative Image: A sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

And it's pegged to become a major tourist attraction

OT Staff
May 12 , 2020
07 Min Read

A just-opened underwater museum of art in the Great Barrier Reef marine park aims to raise awareness about the threatened ecosystem and rehabilitation of the reef. The sculptures are placed across the reef, with off-shore installations at Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island. Jason deCaires Taylor, whose underwater sculptures are strewn across the Canary Islands, Maldives and Indonesia, is the man behind these ones too. “Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system. Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systemsthinking about the sea floor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted,” said deCaries Taylor. 


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Stage one of the @moua_museum_of_underwater_art is now installed! Amazing images coming from the team on John Brewer Reef @gbrmarinepark. The World's leading Underwater Sculptor @jasondecairestaylor has created a globally significant tourism project that will support tourism in North Queensland for generations to come. @reefecologic #MOUAMatters #reefconservation #greatbarrierreef #tourismqueensland #townsvilleshines

A post shared by MOUA-Museum of Underwater Art (@moua_museum_of_underwater_art) on Jan 5, 2020 at 9:02pm PST


Created under the aegis of The Museum of Underwater Arta not-for-profit collaboration funded by the Australian and Queensland governments—the first statue came up along the Strand in Townsville. Ocean Siren is a 16-foot-tall sculpture created by deCaires Taylor in collaboration with Townsville’s James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. A member of the local Wulgurukaba people—12-year-old Takoda Johnson—was the model for the statue. Siren is a solar-powered sculpture which changes colour according to the ocean’s temperature using data collected by the Davies Reef weather station. The temperatures are recorded from the sensors affixed throughout the Barrier Reef and the constant change in the colour acts as a visual sign and warning of rising sea temperatures.

“I was keen to show what’s happening out on the reef in an urban environment, so it connects the community to the reef,” said Taylor.

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The 'Ocean Siren' is the only one of its kind in the world, Changing colour to reflect the ocean temperature on Davies Reef through a live data feed. Muse, Wulgurukaba girl Takoda Johnson, is watching over the @gbrmarinepark and Magnetic Island. Photo Credit: Underwater Sculptor @jasondecairestaylor. #MOUAMatters #reefconservation #art #magneticisland #greatbarrierreef #townsvilleshines #townsvillelocal #townsville

A post shared by MOUA-Museum of Underwater Art (@moua_museum_of_underwater_art) on Jan 6, 2020 at 4:34pm PST

This is first of four projects which make up the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). Around two hours away from Townsville, Coral Greenhouse is another installation which lies at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Situated on John Brewer Reef, this 12-metre-tall structure features more than 20 marine sculptures created out of stainless steel and marine-grade cement. The sculptures are submerged 18 metres deep and weigh over 160 tonnes. Surrounding this house will be a coral nursery (comprising more than 2,000 planted coral fragments) and underwater tresses specifically designed to facilitate coral rehabilitation.

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Ready to overgrow..Stage One of the @moua_museum_of_underwater_art at John Brewer Reef / Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. 🐟 ° ° ° #jasondecairestaylor #moua #australia #townsville #newproject #amazingoceans #underwatermuseum #protectourplanet #greatbarrierreef #battlingclimatechange #natgeoyourshot #wondersoftheworld #hopespots #underwatersculpture #marineconservation #underwatermuseum #chasingcoral #deepblue #theoceaniscalling #artistsoninstagram #artofinstagram #sculptureart #sculpturelovers #artificialreef #speechlessplaces #youmustsee #divingpassport #coralreefs #scubaworld #readytocolor

A post shared by Jason Decaires Taylor (@jasondecairestaylor) on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:20pm PDT

The installation was completed in December 2019 and was scheduled to open in April, but got delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once launched, tour operators will take snorkellers and divers to explore the underwater art project.

Although the other two installations at Palm Island and Magnetic Island aren’t scheduled to be completed until the end of 2021, the Queensland government expects MOUA to become a famous tourist attraction in the years to come.

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