Ancient building rite marks milestone for new collaborative research centre

Published in AIMS Waypoint Spring 2015 Newsletter


An ancient ‘topping off’ ceremony was used in July to celebrate the successful installation of the final concrete beam in the new Indian Ocean Marine Centre in Perth.

The new marine centre is on the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Crawley campus, and marks an exciting time for new collaborative partnerships in marine science. The ceremony was held with AIMS, CSIRO, UWA and Western Australian Department of Fisheries researchers and staff.

Dr John Chappell, AIMS’ Operations and Infrastructure Manager, said, “It’s exciting to reach this significant milestone in constructing the new state-of-the-art facility that will bring together the Indian Ocean’s leading marine research organisations.”

Northwest Australian marine waters will never be the same: researchers will focus on discovering, understanding and monitoring those tropical waters, and in doing so, supporting the protection and sustainability of our ocean heritage.

More than fifty guests watched UWA Chief Operating Officer, Gaye McMath, lead the topping out of the $60.6 million building.

Grateful for the success of the project to date, Ms McMath expressed excitement about expanded research opportunities because of the collaboration of partners the centre would enable. “It will continue to build Australia’s international marine research status.”

Symbolising growth and bringing luck, a bouquet of plants from the UWA campus was also hung from the top of the building.

It’s expected the building will be finished in mid-2016, and will then house more than 330 multi-disciplinary researchers specialising in fisheries, marine technology, marine ecology, geochemistry, governance and engineering.

The Indian Ocean Centre was enabled by contributions from the collaborating organisations and a $34 million grant from the Australian Government, highlighting the wide commitment to premiere tropical marine research.

Also celebrating were people from site contractor BGC Construction. Their work has brought together essential services within the six-storey building with sustainable design principles.