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Green Island Underwater Observatory - farewell to a slice of tourism history
he Green Island Underwater Observatory was installed in 1954 and after 65 years, sadly the time has come for it and the supporting structure to be removed from the Marine Park.
Built from an old Navy dive chamber by Vince Vlasoff and Lloyd Grigg it was the world’s first stationary underwater observatory built with steel plates, girders and ferroconcrete. Unfortunately, over the years the structure has become unsound and the materials and finishes have deteriorated and now needs to be removed from the reef environment she has been a part of for so many years.
For the past 6 years, the underwater observatory had been closed following a detailed investigation by structural engineers who deemed the facility unsafe. After further consultations with architects and engineers, it became apparent that it was no longer practical or viable to restore. Following extensive consultation with Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Authority advised as per permit requirements the Green Island Underwater Observatory will need to be removed to avoid potential environmental and safety issues.
Tony Baker, Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group said “The Underwater Observatory was an iconic tourist attraction in the early days, however after many discussions with relevant parties we can no longer repair the structure to the required environmental, structural and safety standards required by law. It will always have a unique and special place in the history of Green Island. We will work with Queensland Parks and Wildlife to develop appropriate signage on Green Island dedicated to the history of the Underwater Observatory.”
The removal of the observatory is one of a number of projects to be undertaken at Green Island under the State Government’s Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Fund’s matched funding, ensuring this beautiful destination continues to provide sustainable world-class experiences for visitors.
With thanks to Grigg Family for the historic photos featured of the Underwater Observatory.