September 7, 2022
Great Southern Reef project wins NSW Ports Community Grant
Urban murals will raise awareness about a key feature of the southern Australian coastal environment
A University of Wollongong (UOW) project to raise awareness about sustainability and local coastal environments has been awarded a 2022 NSW Ports Community Grant.
The grant will support a collaboration between UOW’s Centre for Sustainable Ecosystem Solutions and artist Karla Hayes, to create two urban murals about the Great Southern Reef – one in Wollongong and another in Port Kembla – to raise awareness about sustainability and this little known feature of the southern Australian coastal environment.
The art works will depict Wollongong’s deep-water reef environments and the colourful biota and fish that inhabit these areas.
Project leader Allison Broad, a PhD Candidate in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, said that while most people know about the Great Barrier Reef, very few have heard of the Great Southern Reef.
“The Great Southern Reef is a series of interconnected rocky reefs that hug the southern part of temperate Australia,” Ms Broad said.
“The Great Southern Reef houses kelp forests in the shallows and what scientists term ‘Marine Animal Forests’ in the deeper areas made up of sponges, soft corals, sea fans and other colourful biota, including fish
“These environments are important fish habitat and other benefits important for ocean health.”
In recent years the University of Wollongong has collaborated with the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority and NSW Ports to investigate the Great Southern Reef of the Illawarra and the biota inhabiting them.
“Through this work we have gained underwater imagery that demonstrate the wonderful and colourful reef life that occur in our local area,” Ms Broad said.
“The murals will raise awareness of these environments, show what these deep-water reefs look like and connect locals to the magnificent marine environment that occurs on their very own coastline.”