Location: Melbourne, Australia

Site: Royal Children's Hospital

Project Start Date: March 2009

Completion Date: June 2009

Client: AAT Australia


In early March 2009 Oceana was contacted by the client, and we were tasked to design and build a 7 meter tall coral reef exhibit for a 150 000 liter cylinder tank destined for Melbourne’s new children’s hospital. The exhibit had to be built with two very important requirements:

• The exhibit had to wrap around and disguise an existing central pipe used for accommodating filtration equipment.

• Due to logistic and scheduling reasons, the exhibit had to be fully finished and completely assembled many kilometers away from the final site at the hospital. The fully assembled exhibit would then be transported (as one single piece) to the final site and installed inside the tank.

By mid March we had designed and built a 1:10 scale model of the proposed exhibit, which was inspected and approved by the client:


By the end of April we had completed the construction of the full scale exhibit in our factory. Our special construction techniques allowed us to construct the exhibit in three strong and lightweight sections. Each section is fully finished right down to the last detail and is designed to interlock and re-assemble on site with minimal work during the installation. Once the client approved the finished exhibit, it was packed and shipped to Australia:


By the beginning of June the shipment had arrived in Australia and an Oceana technician was flown over to commence the installation. Each section of the exhibit was lifted into place around the central pipe and each piece interlocked perfectly with one another. Minor touch ups were performed to render the joints completely seamless and invisible. To further increase stability, the exhibit was also bonded to the central pipe allowing it to be moved and transported as a single piece to its final destination at a later date.

This entire process, from unloading the container to assembling the sections and bonding the exhibit took a single technician less than 20 days. The exhibit was later transported to the final location at the hospital and successfully placed inside the tank.


After the exhibit was moved to its final location inside the hospital, general construction work on other areas of the building carried on for two more years. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the site in 2011 in a much publicized opening ceremony. The aquarium is now one of the main visual features of this world class hospital: