Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA)

Townsville North Queensland has a growing reputation for providing unique and enriching experiences for residents and visitors alike. These are founded on an inspiring combination of assets, including our natural environment, international-quality cultural activities and leading scientific institutions. Building on these strengths, Townsville North Queensland is further strengthening its position as a leading region in Northern Australia through facilitation of an underwater art museum.

The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) is a globally-significant asset to Townsville North Queensland and the surrounding regions, and more broadly to Queensland and Australia.

As the only underwater art museum in the Southern hemisphere, MOUA will act to highlight reef conservation, restoration and education on a global scale.

Located in the central part of the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Townsville North Queensland, MOUA is a series of installations – involving sculptured works placed on the seafloor – by the world’s leading underwater artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

Among the most famous and effective examples of this art form are works by Jason de Caires Taylor, who has installed major works in several Northern Hemisphere locations, including the Bahamas and Grenada (Caribbean), Cancun (Mexico) and London (Thames River).

High-quality, large-scale installations such as those done by de Caires Taylor attract very large numbers of visitors and high-profile media coverage.

Stage 1 - Ocean Siren, The Strand - Townsville: Fully funded (Completed)

The inaugural sculpture in the Southern Hemisphere’s first Museum of Underwater Art, the 'Ocean Siren' is installed alongside North Queensland’s iconic Strand Jetty in Townsville.

'Ocean Siren' is modelled on local Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner Takoda Johnson, with a vision to inspire reef and ocean conservation action and achieve positive environmental outcomes. The ‘Ocean Siren’ reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef weather station on the Great Barrier Reef and changes colour in response to live variations in water temperature.

Jason DeCaires Taylor Ocean Siren

Stage 1 - Coral Greenhouse, John Brewer Reef - Great Barrier Reef: Fully funded (Completed)

The John Brewer Reef 'Coral Greenhouse' is located in the heart of the Greater Barrier Reef Marine Park and is the largest MOUA installation, sharing a message of reef conservation and restoration.

It is the first-ever underwater building created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who hopes to advance education and offer opportunities for scientists, marine students and tourists to engage - either by snorkel or dive - in action-based learning and to conduct globally important research on coral reef restoration and new technology.

Weighing more than 58 tonnes, the 'Coral Greenhouse' is filled with and surrounded by 20 reef guardians who are helping to spread the message of reef conservation.

Coral Greenhouse at John Brewer Reef

Stage 2 - Palm Island installation: Fully funded (Underway)

Palm Island is an Aboriginal community located on Great Palm Island, also called by the Aboriginal name "Bwgcolman"; an island on the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland, Australia.

With its crystal-clear waters, great visibility, clear sandy bottom and natural coral reef, Palm Island is a nature lover's paradise. MOUA aims to make the most of the natural beauty of the Island through an installation which connects the cultural story of Palm Island to the land and sea.

Extensive consultation and engagement around the concept has been undertaken, with the artwork close to completion. It is expected the Palm Island sculptures will be installed by late 2021.

Stage 3 - Magnetic Island installation: Fully funded (Consultation underway)

It is planned that Stage Three of the Museum of Underwater Art will be installed on Magnetic Island, with the funding agreement reached, and plans for completion by end 2021.

Magnetic Island is situated just 8km from Townsville in Tropical North Queensland. It enjoys an average of 320 sunny-days a year, 23 bays and beaches, is the only self-contained island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, is home to Northern Australia’s largest colony of wild koalas and is the ideal all-year-round destination

  • Townsville North Queensland is the global centre of excellence for marine science, education and research.
  • The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) will be a catalytic tourism project to enhance the State's tourism experience, support regional dispersal of visitation along the Great Barrier Reef, and boost awareness of the destination.
  • This project will enhance the region's art and reef experiences to leverage global tourism trends and with the project’s full investment anticipated to attract up to 50,000 visitors from across the globe each year.
  • Townsville Enterprise recently released an Economic Impact Assessment on what the proposed Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) would have on the Townsville North Queensland economy. This project is also a key project in Townsville Enterprise’s State Election Priorities


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