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Underwater artwork becomes the Whitsundays newest attraction 11:31am, Tue 03 Mar 2020

Whitsunday underwater artwork update

UPDATE: 2nd March, 2020

Today marked the completion of the landmark Whitsunday Public Artwork Project as the final sculpture was installed at Langford Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The final sculpture 'Anthozoa' was installed at Langford Reef, in The Whitsundays.  The name Anthozoa is derived from the Greek words ánthos: "flower" and zóa: "animals" or 'Flower Animals' as they were earliest known by biologists, a reference to the floral appearance of the perennial polyp stage of all coral species.

This incredible sculpture has over a thousand linear metres of metal hand-shaped to create the form into which the marine-grade concrete layer was bedded. Due to its sheer scale, the piece was engineered into six separate parts, which were designed to come together to create a sculpture rising over six metres from its polyp base to tentacle tip.

Anthozoa joins New South Wales artist Col Henry's striking Turtle Dream, a 15-tonne stainless steel creation also on display at Langford Reef. Local artists Adriaan Vanderlugt's two sculptures 'Maori Wrasse' located at Blue Pearl Bay and 'Manta Ray' located in Mantray Bay. Cairns-based artist Brian Robinson's two sculptures' Migration of the Mantas' also located at Mantray Bay and Bywa, an intertidal piece situated at Horseshoe Bay.

UPDATE: 14th March, 2019

Four of the six major sculptures (Turtle Dream, Maori Wrasse, Manta Ray and Migration of the Mantas) have been installed in the Great Barrier Reef at popular tourism sites damaged by ex-Cyclone Debbie.

A huge thank you to the expert team from David Edge Marine Contracting, Whitsunday Mooring and Marine Constructions, artists, QPWS and GBRMPA for working collaboratively with Reef Ecologic to successfully deploy the sculptures. Bywa will be installed in Horseshoe Bay during August (weather permitting). Anthozoa is under construction and anticipated date of completion and installation is September. More details including the location of the sculptures, GPS locations and depths of water are in the attached communique.

Reef restoration

Reef restoration activities continue positively at both Blue Pearl and Manta Ray Bay. All coral nurseries are performing well maintaining their survival rate of 80% across all methods and locations.

Recent research on the 188 out planted corals have indicated they are doing well with survival as high as 92% in Manta Ray Bay in the two months since out planting onto the natural reef. Over the past two months Reef Ecologic have entered into new partnerships with organisations to support the expansion of reef restoration activities in the Whitsundays. International tour operator G Adventures and their not-for-profit partner Planeterra Foundation through local tourism group Explore Whitsundays, are providing financial support to continue and expand reef restoration activities both locations. Stay tuned for some major upscaling of our reef restoration project in the region.

UPDATE: 14th March, 2019

A local Airlie Beach man, Adriaan Vanderlugt was one of the lucky artist chosen to commission one of six sculptures that are to be placed in various locations around the Whitsundays designed to combine tourism benefits and reef rehabilitation.

"It took me a lot of drawings to get to that stage" he said.

I've been sculpting for 50 years and I was saying to a mate the other day it took me all those 50 years to get me where I am today."

A 3.2m wide aluminium mata-ray will be his pride sculpture with Indigenous artist Arthur Gaby responsible for the intricate drawings etched in to the aluminium and tells a Dreamtime story.

There are 74 different sized circles representing the 74 islands of the Whitsundays. The largest circle is Whitsunday Island where Gaby's grandmother was born. Serpents on the manta-ray's wings and its "U" shapes are the Aboriginal symbol for people.

UPDATE: 14th January, 2019

The trial installation of the underwater artworks at Langford Island were a success and so was the public call to artists with 73 submissions of artworks for consideration and the permanent underwater sculptures.

An independent selection panel considered all the applications put forward and decided the permanent artwork will consist of a turtle, manta ray, coral polyp and an indigenous sculpture ‘Bwya’ containing 12 local species of fish and sharks.

The largest sculpture is 6m and  are made from a variety of materials including concrete, stainless steel and aluminium. The plan is to locate the sculptures underwater where they can be viewed by snorkelers and SCUBA divers.

There is ongoing discussion with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and stakeholders about the preferred location(s) of the artworks in the Whitsunday region. One of the objectives of the public art project is to provide new or enhanced tourism experiences at sites damaged by Cyclone Debbie. With the art pieces having a marine wildlife theme, we believe they will provoke conversation, education and deeper consideration of the marine environment.

09, August, 2018

In a Queensland first, Langford Reef in the Whitsunday Islands will become home to a new installation of underwater and inter-tidal art.

A trial installation of the artwork is being funded through the Queensland Government and Federal Government’s $7 million Tourism Recovery Fund to assist the Whitsundays tourism industry post Cyclone Debbie.

Four sculptures by local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt were unveiled at the annual Whitsunday Reef Festival (2 - 5 Aug, 2018), which will provide a new experience for people travelling to the Whitsundays and help the marine tourism sector recover after Cyclone Debbie.

The artwork includes sculptures of fish, a nudibranch and a crab, all varying in size and weighing up to 300 kilograms with one already located at Langford Island near Hayman.

Bareboat charterers can visit the locations and see the artwork first hand with each piece  being moved from the beach to intertidal to underwater environments a month at a time and the artworks will be secured and monitored to prevent interference and damage.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said to lure more visitors to the Whitsundays, we need to invest in new tourism product. Around the world - from the Caribbean, to the Maldives, Spain, Bali and Australia’s west coast, underwater art has been used to lure visitors.

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