Top Award for Mon Repos Turtle Centre
The Mon Repos Turtle Centre has taken out the top prize Building of the Year at this year's Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards. It is officially known at the JW Wilson award.
The judges described the centre as a delight to visit and praised the use of coastal colours, textures and materials within the internal spaces and dimmed light at the entrance to enhance expectations.
The centre features a timber diagonal grid superstructure for cyclone and climate change resilience.
The building was designed by Richard Kirk Architect. It was constructed by Murchie Constructions of Bundaberg.
The new $22 million Mon Repos Turtle Centre is a world-class facility
This centre was designed to showcase our extraordinary marine creatures to local and international visitors while managing critical programs that help protect the endangered loggerhead turtle.
Ranger in Charge Cathy Gatley, a familiar face at Mon Repos for the past 23 years, said the new centre used state-of-the-art technology to provide visitors with the ultimate turtle experience.
“Mon Repos is home to an ancient breeding cycle, dating back 220 million years to the Triassic Period - I’m filled with awe every time a 100kg loggerhead turtle drags herself across the beach to find a safe spot to lay her eggs – or whenever I see hatched turtles crawl towards the sea,” Cathy said.
“At the centre’s Immersive Space theatrette, visitors can experience that magic at any time of the year, even when it’s not the nesting season.”
The Immersive Space features a sandy beach and 60m2 of LCD screens where visitors can sit on the sand and view the ancient, miraculous journey of the turtle’s nesting experience.
“These peaceful, majestic creatures have existed on our world for more than a million years, but they are now endangered,” Cathy said.
“It's a privilege to work with this species and it's very rewarding to see our work deliver positive outcomes for this precious population.”
Less than two kilometres long, Mon Repos Beach is a critical landing point for the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific Region. It also has the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland.
Environment Minister Leanne Enoch said Richard Kirk Architect carefully considered the Turtle Centre’s design to ensure it was ecologically sustainable, long-lasting and had minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
“The new centre offers a year-round state-of-the-art experience, with touch screen televisions, vivid displays, the immersive theatre room and interpretive signage,” Ms Enoch said.
There is also a café, updated interpretive material, an incubator room, wet lab, offices and meeting rooms, enabling QPWS and EHP Staff and Rangers to continue their research and conservation work. Boardwalks, paths, Rookery Road and the Turtle Trail were also upgraded.
More than 30,000 visitors come to Mon Repos each year for the unique Turtle Encounters: guided, nightly tours to witness turtle nestings (November to January) and hatchings (January to March).
“With the new Immersive Space, we can now give visitors an exciting eco-based tourism experience all year round as we promote the importance of turtle conservation to visitors from across the world,” Ms Enoch said.
Bookings for Turtle Encounters are essential. For ticket prices and visiting times, go to https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/turtle-centre.html
A seagulls view of the new centre
The centre has its own cafe.
The new centre offers a year-round state-of-the-art experience