The Governor learns about coral bleaching research at the Minderoo Foundation Exmouth Research Lab.
The Governor learns about coral bleaching research at the Minderoo Foundation Exmouth Research Lab.

Exmouth Day 1: A civic reception

After a seamless flight over the beautiful West Australian landscape, the Governor touched down in the regional town of Exmouth.

Upon arrival, the Governor was whisked away to the Ningaloo Centre for a lunch with members of the town’s council and representatives from various organisations. Guests included Shire President Cr Darlene Allston, Shire President, CEO of the Shire of Exmouth Mr Ben Lewis, CEO Gascoyne Development Commission Mr Tym Duncanson and Principal Regional Development Officer Ms Amanda Willmott.

The Governor receives a gift from the city of Exmouth.The Governor receives a gift from the city of Exmouth.

After a delicious serving of local seafood, the Governor was taken on a tour of the centre.

Discovering Exmouth

A sneak peek at the upcoming exhibition.A sneak peek at the upcoming exhibition.

Housed in the Ningaloo Centre is the Ningaloo Aquarium and Discovery Centre. The various areas included a gallery of local artists and a museum showcasing the rich history of the veritably young town.

1270km north of Perth, on the tip of the North West Cape, Exmouth was officially established in 1967 as support for the nearby United States Naval Communication Station. However, its history dates back to 1618 when the Dutch East India Company ship, ‘Mauritius’, first landed. Since then, the area was used as a military base in World War II after the retreat of Java in March 1942. Code name “Potshot”, the base was developed as a rest camp and refuelling station for submarines, as well an airfield and a staging base for Z Special Unit “Operation Jaywick” – a raid on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour.

Part of the breeding program at the aquarium.

Today, Exmouth is one of the top tourist destinations in Western Australia and a base for many marine study operations – home to the famous Ningaloo Reef.

A showcase of the amazing and vibrant wildlife in said reef was on display in the aquarium, also on site. Shire of Exmouth, Curator Bradley Dohnt, led an extensive tour, highlighting not only the species of the various animals, but their personalities as well. The Governor was fascinated to hear of their breeding program to save endangered species, as well as seeing their coral nursery.

Enjoying the view.

During the tour, the Governor even had the opportunity to take a quick peek at the incoming exhibition, the wreck of the ‘Fairy Queen’.

Creating Coral

Another component of Exmouth’s thriving culture to be found at the Centre is the Minderoo Foundation Exmouth Research Laboratory.

A look behind the technical aspects of maintaining salt water tanks suitable for coral.

This state-of-the-art lab provides scientists and researchers with equipment and space to conduct high-impact marine studies about climate change, coral rejuvenation and more. Teaming with UWA, the lab also offers opportunities for students to study and work.

The Governor learns how coral is reintroduced into the landscape.The Governor learns how coral is reintroduced into the landscape.

Housing aquaria and genetics, the unique facility supports critical research into identifying heat-resistant coral that can survive damaging heatwaves, coral breeding programs, environmental DNA fingerprinting to monitor endangered sea snakes and wedgefish, marine life research and even allow scientists to unlock forensic techniques to reveal the movements and behaviour of whale sharks.

The Governor was delighted to receive an extensive tour of the facility and hear in depth details of these exciting experiments.

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