Townsville’s proposed Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) looks to have a bouyant future with plans continuing to take shape and more than $700,000 in funding pledged by local corporate stakeholders.
While the findings of the feasibility study for the Great Barrier Reef Museum of Underwater Art – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – are not expected until late September; and greater funding is still required to fully float the initiative, a number of sites have already been identified by Jason deCaires Taylor, the artist behind MOUA, and the project team. With underwater and intertidal installations both planned, the suggested sites include:
- Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island
- Coolgaree Bay, Palm Island
- The northern reaches of John Brewer Reef
- Townsville Strand; and
- Yongala Dive Site
The project will also see the former Queens Hotel used as a base for the project. Jason will establish an arts business and operation from the rear of the building, while artists, visitors and community groups will have access to a gallery and workshop space in the building, too.
Dr Paul Marshall, Director of Reef Ecologic, and former Director of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said that the Great Barrier Reef Museum of Underwater Art project is an exciting opportunity for Townsville, the Great Barrier Reef, and all of Australia.
“It brings together world-leading art, science and environmental capabilities to create a whole new suite of options for locals and tourists to connect with the Great Barrier Reef”, Mr Marshall said.
“We are looking forward to Jason’s full concept proposal, and then working with local businesses, government and the artist to turn this into a major Great Barrier Reef educational opportunity”.
The size and quantity of installations in the proposed Museum of Underwater Art will ultimately be determined by the funding secured for the project. However, current forecasts predict a $40-million expansion to the Townsville region’s tourism economy, should MOUA get the green light.
To date, financial contributions to MOUA have been confirmed from SeaLink Travel Group, the Morris Group, the Gleeson Group, Pacific Marine Group, Townsville Airport and the Flemming Family. MOUA’s project team is being lead by SeaLink Queensland, Reef Ecologic, Townsville City Council, Palm Island Amoriginal Shire Council, James Cook University and Townsville Enterprise.
For more information, visit the Great Barrier Reef Museum of Underwater Art’s website.