Busselton Welcomes World’s Largest Marine Observatory


Australia’s largest natural marine observatory to be built two kilometres out at sea in Busselton is one step closer.

Located two hours south of Perth in Western Australia, the country’s largest marine observatory total build is expected to cost $30 million, and offer its visitors a view of life around the marine and sea bed.

The centre will sit two kilometres out at sea, at the end of Busselton Jetty.

Busselton is a city on the southwest tip of the state, known for its seasonal humpback whale populations, and located approximately 230 kilometres south of Perth.

Marine contractor Subcon selected UK-based Baca Architects to design the centre in late December following an international design competition.

The aim is for the partially submerged structure to become the largest centre of its kind in the world, open to the public and scientists to observe the marine.

Bustleton Jetty chairman Barry House says the new structure will replace the existing observatory that is currently struggling to meet visitor demand.

“This is as authentic as it gets,” House said in a statement.

“Because people are in the tank and the fish are looking in. By adding underwater dining, underwater sculptures, marine art and other features, this project will enhance Busselton Jetty’s 155-year-old experience.”

Related: Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant Opens

▲The AUDC will be positioned partially underwater and feature a large window overlooking the ocean floor.
▲ The AUDC will be positioned partially underwater and feature a large window overlooking the ocean floor. Image: Baca Architects.

The jetty has been one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state, with the project securing $13 million in government funding in October 2019.

The project team currently includes main contractor Subcon Blue Solutions, lead architect—Baca Architects, and marine Engineers CoreMarine.

The winning scheme, which pays homage to the humpback whales that frequent the area, was selected through a public voting process.

From the three Baca designed schemes, the winning Cetacean design was chosen.

The structure will offer panoramic views of the jetty ecosystem and underwater event, dining and exhibition spaces.

Bustleton Jetty managers say they are aiming for more than 200,000 new visitors in 2023 which would bring the total to more than 900,000.

Measuring 1.8 kilometres in length, the 155-year-old heritage-listed Jetty is understood to be the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.

The underwater discovery centre's construction is expected to start this year with a completion date slated for March 2022.

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