General News

23.11.2020 MEDIA RELEASE – Traditional Owner Collaboration Key To Museum of Underwater Art


Traditional Owner Collaboration Key To Museum of Underwater Art

Media Release- Monday 23rd November 2020

The Museum of Underwater Art’s (MOUA) commitment to First Nations People continues, with the MOUA Board welcoming the appointment of Traditional Owner Vicki Saylor as a Director.

MOUA Deputy Chair Dr. Adam Smith said Ms Saylor’s appointment coincides with the engagement of two Indigenous trainees who have recently completed their Open Water Dive Certificate as part of a program supported by MOUA.

“From its inception, the MOUA has had a core focus on reef conservation, the environment, our science and arts communities, along with Indigenous story telling and honouring our First Nations people,” Dr Smith said.

“The MOUA Board is thrilled that Ms Saylor accepted the appointment and she will replace Duane Fraser who stepped down following a move interstate. The MOUA Board thanks Duane for his energy, knowledge and efforts.

“Ms Saylor brings with her knowledge, skills and passion and we look forward to working closely with her to bring Stage Two (Palm Island) and Stage Three (Magnetic Island) of the MOUA to life.”

Ms Saylor is a proud Traditional Owner and says she is excited about what the future of the MOUA holds.

“I’m passionate about this wonderful opportunity to participate in a project that will have an impact on the land and oceans that we are caretakers of for generations to come. It is vitally important that traditional protocols, practices and traditions are upheld and protected and I look forward to playing a role in ensuring that happens,” Ms Saylor said.

“The MOUA provides a real opportunity for our culture to be shared, celebrated and valued in a way that generations, both before and after us, can be proud of.”

26-year-old Genami Geia and 22-year-old Jessica Courtney have recently taken on traineeships with Reef Ecologic, supported by the MOUA.

They’ve just returned from four days at the Orpheus Island Research Station on a ‘ Reef Restoration and Leadership’ course delivered by Reef Ecologic and James Cook University.

“It’s been a steep learning curve being able to learn so much about reef conservation, finish our Open Water Dive Certificate and have these awesome experiences,” Mr Geia said.

“I’ve been out to the Coral Greenhouse at John Brewer Reef three times now and it’s amazing to see the difference that a few weeks made. The first time we went out there was a bit of marine life, but the second time there was heaps, even a Wobbegong Shark inside the Greenhouse.

“I come from Palm Island and there’s a lot of reef in close to Palm and the Great Barrier Reef just outside. So, I want to learn more about how to protect and look after the reef. It’s one of the biggest things we have over there, so having that understanding and being able to share it is a powerful thing.”

Ms Courtney studied the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders Marine Science program at school and said her love and interest in making it a career has grown from there.

“I think it’s very important to get more Indigenous people involved in the care and management of the land and sea. First Nations peoples have been doing it for thousands of years, but I think it’s very important that we have more leading roles,” Ms. Courtney said.

“More leading indigenous people back out there doing what we used to do thousands of years ago can only benefit all of us. It’s important to engage the younger generation who are the emerging leaders as it’s pretty much up to us and how we deal with reef conservation now can create a better future for everyone.”

Community consultation and engagements is continuing for Stages Two and Three of the MOUA.

Stage Two of the MOUA has been made possible through Australian Government funding, while Stage Three of the MOUA has been made possible through Queensland Government funding.

More information on the MOUA can be found at


Media Contact: Tessa Grimes, 0499 535 918 or [email protected]



Stay Up To Date

Donations Book Now