Whitsundays Reef Recovery and Public Art Project

Strategy

Reef Ecologic’s Whitsundays Tourism Recovery Project will lead in the design, creation and installation of underwater and inter-tidal interpretive art pieces across the Whitsunday region, coral restoration and educational activities. These projects are designed to support tourism in the region.

A year after Cyclone Debbie devastated the Whitsundays, Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones announced $2 million to fund six tourism projects in the region. Reef Ecologic have been fortunate to secure funding as part of a $7 million joint State and Federal government funding package set up to help the tourism industry bounce back from Tropical Cyclone Debbie after it crossed the Whitsunday coast on March 28, 2017.

Public Art and Reef Restoration Research

Public Art Restoration and Reef Recovery was identified as major contributions to the social, environmental and economic health of the Whitsunday region. Over the next three months, Reef Ecologic is conducting a research experiment exploring community and visitor attitudes toward art installations in the GBR. These artworks are part of a larger project to design, create and install underwater and inter-tidal interpretive art pieces across the Whitsunday region to support recovery of the tourism sector.

The Public Art installation, located at Langford Reef, researches the contributions of relevant public art to reef tourism, education and recovery for the Whitsunday Region.  Artworks titled Box Fish 2011, Alu the Box Fish 2012, Nudibranch 2007, and Soldier Crab 2005 by Whitsundays sculptor Adriaan Vanderlugt have been acquired to research the social and environmental impact and economic feasibility.

The research project runs from August until October, 2018. You can help us by completing the online survey (see link below) or rate your experience on Trip Advisor.

The Whitsundays is one of Australia’s most popular and beautiful tourist destinations. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors from Australia and abroad flock to the region to enjoy the tropical Queensland sunshine, swim in the sparkling blue waters of the Coral Sea, relax on bright white sandy beaches and explore the kaleidoscopic world of colourful coral and reef fish which lies beneath the water.

Reef Ecologic have identified some great opportunities to improve existing tourism products and attractions and link these with new products and attractions through the development of the Whitsundays reef and island learning trial involving art installations combined with marine rehabilitation. We propose a range of locations and infrastructure. The final locations and details of each product will be decided in partnership and through collaboration with government, industry and the local community as we go through the developmental process.

UPDATE JULY 3, 2018

A key component of this project is for the community and key stakeholders to be involved and empowered. Throughout the month of June we have continued our extensive consultations with key stakeholders throughout the region by phone, email, conference calls and face-to-face meetings. We have participated in over 100 consultation activities involving over 200 people so far.

PUBLIC ART INSTALLATIONS: Marine public art is well known and admired in the Whitsundays region. Underwater art installations are increasingly being considered as a strategy for increasing public engagement and awareness around coral reefs and the challenges they face, and for complementing the range of tourism opportunities provided by natural features.

UPDATE JUNE 12, 2018

In May 2018 we consulted widely with the community and conducted site assessments at 11 sites across Bowen and the Whitsundays. The video below briefly summarises some of the findings from our site assessments. Please also read the communique for a current update on the project progress and status.

 

The ‘extended video of site assessments’ is an extended mix of underwater and above water footage from our site assessments in the Whitsundays which may be useful to artists or other individuals interested in developing ideas for this project.

4 August 2018

Great news for the Whitsunday region with collaboration by government, industry and stakeholders for a new reef research project and tourism attraction to be installed at Langford Reef. Read the minister’s press release HERE

Video from the Langford Reef Art Research project.

Art research project at Langford Reef

Video of detailed reef restoration site inspections.

Coral in West Butterfly Bay

Dr Adam Smith conducting site assessments

Bare reef rock in Manta Ray Bay

Key Partners

This project was funded as part of the joint Queensland and Australian Government’s Tourism Recovery Fund.

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