Submerged sculptures

Hailed as one of the top things to do in Townsville, Queensland, and a must-see on the Great Barrier Reef, the Museum of Underwater Art has added the Ocean Sentinels to its submerged exhibits.

07 June 2023


The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) creator, and internationally renowned underwater sculptor – Jason deCaires Taylor flew to Townsville in April to install the Ocean Sentinels snorkel trail on John Brewer Reef.

The new installation comprises eight green-concrete sculptures to John Brewer Reef where they will be installed as a marine science snorkel trail, adjacent to the existing Coral Greenhouse dive attraction.

Working with local marine contracting company, Pacific Marine Group, local engineers and contractors, the MOUA sculptures on board a custom-fitted barge set off on their 74-kilometre journey to their destination beneath the sea.

International sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor said the artworks were created using new high-grade, low-carbon Earth Friendly Concrete which is specially designed to take on the form of their environment.

“Although completely submerged their shallow depth will be ideal for snorkellers to view them,” he commented.


“The surfaces and forms of the artworks are designed to be colonised by marine life. It is hoped that in years to come a variety of endemic species such as corals, sponges and hydroids will change the sculptures’ appearance in vibrant and unexpected ways. “Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, they will become a living and evolving part of the ecosystem, emphasising both its fragility and its endurance.”

Deputy Chair of MOUA and renown marine scientist, Dr Adam Smith said MOUA’s exhibition is attracting global science interest ahead of the next stage’s official launch on 8 June, creating new scientific opportunities, and contributing to the global marine science story.

“Our monitoring program and reef restoration activities are providing results that indicate strong aggregation of a diverse range of fish and coral species on site, and to be able to align the official launch with World Ocean Day – bringing together the muse on the site and the science – is very exciting.”

Destination Management Organisation for the Townsville North Queensland region – Townsville Enterprise, Director Visitor Economy and Marketing Lisa Woolfe says the current dive site – being the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere has become known as a must-see attraction, and it is anticipated that this new snorkel product will only go to enhance the region’s reef experience.

“As the headquarters of the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Greenhouse has been a game-changer for Townsville. We know that snorkel products, which is what the Ocean Sentinel trail will be, are very attractive to trade and cruise companies right across the globe, enhancing our domestic and global appeal and generating the exposure and visitor economy that this beautiful part of the world rightly deserves.”

Based out of Florida, Ocean Sentinel muse and Plant-a-Million Coral advocate David Vaughn joined the installation team in early May.

All the underwater art installations including the Coral Greenhouse and Ocean Sentinels are located at the main Museum of Underwater Art site at John Brewer Reef on the Great Barrier Reef which can be reached by boat from Townsville.

The Ocean Siren statue is located at the Strand promenade in Townsville, in case you don’t want to get your feet wet!



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