Hastings Point marine museum

I’m a bit of a museum nut. Having worked as a curator’s assistant in the South Australian Museum of Natural History (marine invertebrates section), I appreciate the tremendous dedication, enthusiasm and plain hard work that goes into such places.

Large state museums are one thing, but there are other, off-the-radar places quietly doing their thing to educate kids (and adults, which I regard as just as important) about the fabulous creatures of the sea and the work we need to get on with to help that environment (which is, after all, helping ourselves, even if some of us don’t value it for itself). You just have to know where to find them.

One such place is the Marine Environments Field Study and Resource Centre (aka Adventure Education) at Hastings Point, northern NSW. The Marine Discoveries Centres Australia website explains:

Ted Bram­bleby BSc is the found­ing direc­tor of Adven­ture Edu­ca­tion. For the past 45 years his goal has been to immerse stu­dents into the won­ders and the mir­a­cle of the marine world. Ker­rie Trees left  sec­ondary teach­ing after meet­ing Ted under­wa­ter in Byron Bay in 1998. Together they have cre­ated the only pri­vately run and funded Marine Edu­ca­tion field trip facil­ity of its kind in Aus­tralia. Using a mul­ti­di­men­sional approach to edu­ca­tion through a phi­los­o­phy that true edu­ca­tion hap­pens through active par­tic­i­pa­tion in the envi­ron­ment and not lim­ited to the class­room today the facil­ity based at the 5 star North Star car­a­van park at Hast­ings Point receives vis­i­ta­tion from over 80 schools for Day Vis­its and 1–3 night field trip camps.

The Adven­ture Edu­ca­tion team of Teach­ers and Marine naturalists facil­i­tate a range of pro­grams that are edu­ca­tional, informative and fun. In addi­tion to immers­ing them­selves in the nat­ural beauty of the Hast­ings Point ecosys­tems Stu­dents, teach­ers, guests of the North Star and com­mu­nity groups also expe­ri­ence the most com­pre­hen­sive and unique Marine Museum on the eastern sea board of Aus­tralia with over 200 hun­dred pre­served and dried marine spec­i­mens. Inter­ac­tive edu­ca­tion ses­sions com­bine detailed bio­log­i­cal con­cepts with the fas­ci­nat­ing visu­al­iza­tion of stereo micro­scope pro­jec­tion of live pre­served marine spec­i­mens to big screen tele­vi­sion. All stu­dents and guests will be inspired to lighten their car­bon foot­print and to make a dif­fer­ence in our collec­tive efforts to pre­serve our ocean planet home.

Ted also wrote “Australian marine fish workbook” and “Marine biology for beginners: tropical Australia” with Neville Coleman, and was awarded “Queensland science teacher of the year”.

Ted Brambleby

Ted Brambleby, marine biologist, educator and enthusiast

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Shovel-nosed ray mouth

Shovel-nosed ray mouth

The Venus flower basket (below) is fascinating. It is the skeleton of a sponge that lives at depth, and a couple of shrimp (male and female) use it as a permanent shelter (see the Real Monstrosities website for their story). It is also home to bioluminescent bacteria, making it a glow-in-the-dark beauty.

Venus flower basket

Venus flower basket (front)

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Hastings Point area, showing the snorkelling and rock pool areas (left)

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Dugong skull

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Well done, Ted and Kerrie. Photographs do not do justice to the place.

The Marine Discoveries Centres Australia website also lists more such small facilities Australia-wide. You might like to visit some. I certainly intend to.

Yes, we have some mammatus

Finally, on the way back from Hastings Point, we spotted a cloud formation I’ve been keen to see. It’s the aptly named ‘mammatus’.

Mammatus cloud formation

Mammatus cloud formation


Mammatus in context

Other people have been in the right place at the right time and seen truly spectacular examples.

Mammatus clouds over Regina, Saskatchewan (Image: Craig Lindsay/Wikimedia Commons)

Mammatus clouds over Regina, Saskatchewan (image: Craig Lindsay, Wikimedia Commons)

Mammatus clouds (image: Zachary Hauri, Wikimedia Commons)

Mammatus clouds (image: Zachary Hauri, Wikimedia Commons)

Mammatus in San Antonio, USA (image: Derrich, Wikimedia Commons)

Mammatus in San Antonio, USA (image: Derrich, Wikimedia Commons)

They are associated with severe storms, and the Wikipedia article on mammatus details how they form and has more photos. The Cloud Appreciation Society also has pics.

We certainly appreciated these clouds!