See How Reef HQ Was Created

Happy 30th Reef HQ!

21 June 2017

Article heading image for See How Reef HQ Was Created

Image: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Whether you've been there on a school excursion, with family, or with visitors- we're all familiar with the largest living coral reef aquarium, Reef HQ. 

The aquatic sanctuary turns 30 this month, and we're taking a look back at how it shaped itself over the last 3 decades. 

Enjoy our Throwback Thursday! 

All photos are ownership of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. 

The sight now known as a school holiday hot spot, started construction in the 1980's. 

"Reef HQ Aquarium was the vision of Dr Graeme Kelleher, a former chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). Dr Kelleher's objective was to create the Great Barrier Reef on land, making the reef accessible and affordable while at the same time spreading the reef conservation message and gaining public support for the protection of the 'real thing'." (

Starting to take shape, everything was on track for the June 1987 opening. 

Back breaking work went into creating the beauty that is, Reef HQ. 

Before the last licks of paint...

"Reef HQ Aquarium (formally known as the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium) opened June 14 1987 as part of the Bicentennial Commemorative Project and was renamed Reef HQ Aquarium in 1999. In 2009 the Aquarium has gone back to its grass roots by renaming the aquarium Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium." (

Dr Kelleher looking very happy with the end result! 

Happy 30th Birthday, Reef HQ- here's to the next 30!

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