Iconic Busselton Jetty underwater observatory celebrates 18th birthday

Breanna RedheadBusselton Dunsborough Times
Anouk Marren, Abby Marinich and Chelsea Kawiti.
Camera IconAnouk Marren, Abby Marinich and Chelsea Kawiti. Credit: Breanna Redhead/Busselton Dunsborough Times

One of WA’s biggest tourist icons has celebrated a birthday milestone.

On Monday, the Busselton Underwater Observatory celebrated its 18th birthday.

First opening its doors on December 13, 2003 , the observatory brought a new lease of life to a popular local attraction, allowing visitors to explore the marine world and the natural ecosystems WA has to offer.

Tour guide Kerry Lidham has been volunteering at the observatory for 10 years and said it was fantastic to reach such a significant milestone.

“It’s really special because the observatory is so unique,” she said.

“There’s only six of them like this in the world, and for little Busselton to have something so special ... it’s awesome.”

Run by the not-for-profit Busselton Jetty Inc., maintenance off the jetty and its various facilities is funded by donations and ticket sales.

Over the 156 years of its operation, Ms Lidham said it had become synonymous with the city.

“It’s iconic to the State, it’s the heart and soul of our town,” she said.

“It really does represent the history and heritage of the region, the timber industry, shipping industry, in this area.

“It’s been here now for 156 years, and there’s no reason at all why we can’t maintain it for another 150 years.”

With the observatory set to soon undergo a $32 million dollar rebuild, Ms Lidham encourages everyone to get to the centre before it’s too late.

“If you’ve not visited the observatory before, this is a great time to do it,” she said.

“While the numbers are a little quieter, not all the tours are sold out which is great.

“We haven’t yet had someone do the tour and say that wasn’t worth it.”

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