Issue 1, 2020

Catholic Education South Australia

Welcome to the first Marine Discovery Centre newsletter for 2020. There has been so much unease in the community this year so far and we hope you and your family are safe and well.

Here at the Centre, while the building and business is closed until further notice due to COVID-19, there is still a lot of work going on behind the scenes. 

We are caring for our marine creatures, with food and tank maintenance. We have also been busy getting a lot of curriculum and information on our new website, recording videos, getting events online, applying for grants and getting prepared to reopen the centre. We are updating our Facebook page daily, so please connect with us online to remain connected.

We are sending this newsletter far and wide, so you are receiving this because you have somehow been involved with the Marine Discovery Centre. From teachers, to work experience students, volunteers, event attendees, supporters, sponsors and community groups or perhaps you helped us out with a grant or we collaborated on a project together.

To assist educators and students, the centre has established online educational resources to still provide learning opportunities > Marine Discovery Centre Education. This will continually be updated for the remainder of the year 

The MDC hosts more than 7000 students from more than 100 schools each year, in addition to vacation care programs during the school holidays and public events on the weekend. Over the past 21 years, the Marine Discovery Centre has been a significant local institution, providing an interesting and innovative approach to education about marine life and conservation to school children - an education program that is not offered anywhere else in South Australia. Through continued support from committee members, numerous volunteers and community organisations, the Centre’s impact has continued to grow. Without this continued support or sourcing required sponsorship now, the centre will not be in a financial position to remain open.

During this tough financial climate, it has become apparent that the venue needs new funding sources to secure its future. The centre applies for numerous grants a year, accepts private donations, has an Adopt-A-Creature program and is a not for profit centre with DGR status.  Tax deductible donations can also be accepted via a GoFundMe page that has been set up to support the operations of the centre.

It would be an unfortunate loss to the state and our children should the centre have to close permanently due to finances as a result of the COVID-19 virus. We are doing our best behind the scenes so that when the schools are ready to return, the MDC will still be here. 

Our staff are being diligent about keeping our facility as clean and sanitised as they can. We will continue to monitor both recommended and required guidelines and make adjustments as needed.

During this time we encourage you to enjoy the beautiful outdoor weather, spend time with your family, and call someone who may be alone. We can still practice social distancing but remain engaged with our community.

We thank you for your continued support.

Support the MDC GoFundMe page here

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An unforeseen side effect of the Coronavirus – a healthier planet

The Marine Discovery Centre comments on how we can further reduce our impact on climate change in the midst of a crisis. From clean canals to a plunge in pollutants; now is the time to realise there is an alternative way of living. Nature has been given a breath of fresh air – and us a new perspective.


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Online education resources

During these times where isolation is the norm for many, the team at the Marine Discovery Centre have been creating printable educational resources online, not only for educators but also for students and their families. 

Teaching activities​ include curriculum tables, information packs, excursion activity sheets, classroom activity sheets, puzzles and fun activities.

Student activities include information sheets, puzzles, fun activities and infographic.

Online Shop includes the option to purchase a wide number of books, puppets and poster sets. All online shop purchases can be posted to you

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A Story of the Motherfish

A Story of the Motherfish YouTube Exhibition

The Martine Discovery Centre and Heaps Good Productions with the support of Inspiring South Australia through an Art/Science Grant, present to you "A Story of the Motherfish" an exhibition of recycled art created by the community, using plastic that might otherwise find their way into the ocean.

Join us for an online launch of 'A Story of the Motherfish' exhibition from Wednesday 15 April which includes:

  • A collection of artwork produced by the South Australian community curated by South Australian artist Stephen Hayter
  • Video performances exploring the stories of the artwork featuring Gemma Dandie and Tay
  • The official launch for two songs written by Michael Mills 'Whispers in the Night' performed by Gemma Dandie and 'Come, down to the Seaside" performed by Taylor Tran
  • 10-minute documentary about the journey of the 'A Story of the Motherfish' journey
  • The story of the turtle and the circle of life

'A Story of the Motherfish" seeks to put the issue of microplastics into the context of the evolutionary history and adaptation of fish. It aims to both challenge us, and help us better understand the science. Follow the Marine Discovery Centre's Facebook Page for updates to the exhibition...

With additional support from Heaps Good Productions, Adelaide Youth Theatre, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, Adopt A Spot Scheme, the Port Environment Centre, the palaeo team at Flinders University and the Black Diamond Gallery - Port Community Arts Centre, we all see this project as but another step in a process of sharing and understanding.

View the online YouTube experience here>>

We look forward to displaying the art in a public exhibition with the community when the opportunity arises.


Catchment to Coast - passing on knowledge for a thoughtful future

The Marine Discovery Centre prides itself on educating young minds, in interactive tours, on not only marine life; but sustainability itself. The aforementioned ‘catchment to coast’ room is one of four educational hubs in the centre, and details how we can personally be more sustainable each day.

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Kids Marine Scientist After School Club

Commences Term 3, 2020

The Kids Marine Scientist Club is a weekly drop-off club for primary school aged children aged 7 to 13 years. The Kids Marine Scientist Club encourages independence and self-growth and allows the student to an array of discoveries.  The team at the Marine Discovery Centre will provide both indoor and outdoor setting for children to engage in interactive learning experiences while empowering them to actively protect South Australia’s iconic coastal and marine environments.


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Adopt a Creature

Why not adopt one of your own marine creatures? We'll send you an information kit about your creature and you'll be helping us to improve our educational activities.

Our Adoption Package gives you the opportunity to receive updated information and provides the Marine Discovery Centre with financial support. For your commitment you receive:

  • A personalised photograph and certificate of your creature
  • Signage within the Marine Discovery Centre with the chosen adopted name of your creature
  • A marine storybook featuring South Australian marine creatures
  • The opportunity to get up close and personal with your adopted creature and feed it

By adopting a marine creature, you are helping the Marine Discovery Centre to:

  • Look after the marine creatures with quality care including food, cooling, lighting and filtration of the aquariums
  • Educating school groups and the community about South Australia's marine environment
  • Provide opportunities for people to observe marine life



Meet one of our freshwater animals

Meet one of our freshwater animals at the centre - the Common Yabby.

Yabbies are found throughout Australia in swamps, rivers and dams. They are nocturnal detritivores, which means that they feed on dead plant and animal matter during the night. They are able to survive dry or cold conditions by entering a state of dormancy or hibernation for up to years at a time.

Excitingly, one of our female yabbies is carrying babies! These crustacean mothers carry their eggs attached to small hairs under their tails until the small larvae are ready to hatch. If you are out catching yabbies, females carrying eggs must always be returned to the water. We hope to see some baby yabbies soon!


Litter Less education program

Commencing in March the Marine Discovery Centre had the wonderful Wendy from KESAB environmental solutions deliver the Litter Less educational program for our visiting school students at the Marine Discovery Centre. It’s ‘learning through action’ approach assists schools in identifying litter issues and then planning and implementing litter reduction and prevention strategies.
This program is available to school classes from Year 3 to 7 and is a value-added to the rest of the MDC program.

Program information

To enquire about your next excursion contact us on 8115 7402 or email

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Lightning stone

A common item found on the beach, but you may not be aware what it is.

This is called a Fulgurite, Latin for lightning stone, and that is exactly what it is. A Fulgurite is created by a lightning striking the sand and causing the sand to melt into glass. A bolt of lightning burning 28,000 degrees Celsius slices through the air and hits the beach. It pierced the ground, splintering as it lances the sand. In an instant, no more than one second, the white-hot thunderbolt melts and fuses the sand around it and creates an object, a rock, a hardened mass of matter in the shape that the lightning took when it entered the earth.

It can look like an unusual stone or like a fossilised piece of wood and will make a ‘tink tink’ sound when you tap it.

Look closely next time you are on the beach. If you’re not sure, send us a photo and we’ll help you with your discovery.


MDC Educational videos on YouTube

Over the last 2 weeks, we have been busy recording 2 to 4-minute educational videos to share with our new online community.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Marine creatures at the MDC
  • Marine environment
  • Good Fishing Practices
  • Aboriginal Culture
  • Climate Change

Watch the videos here>

*Please note videos will be updated weekly, so keep checking for updated content


Secchi Project

Today our volunteer Mark, was monitoring the water clarity off the Henley Beach jetty using the Secchi disk. With the support of the Friends of Gulf St. Vincent Inc. and Secchi Project Gulf St Vincent, the Marine Discovery Centre will now be able to educate our visiting students about the project and get them testing themselves.

This community-based project was started to monitor water quality in the Gulf and encourage people to learn more about how to care for our marine environment.
There have been a number of long-term studies investigating the causes and effects of pollution on the marine environment. It is now understood that wastewater, industrial discharges and stormwater pollutants (particularly nutrients) are a major culprit in the extensive loss of seagrasses (and their associated marine life) off Adelaide and other coastal regions.

Our aim is to empower students to actively protect South Australia’s iconic coastal and marine environments.

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New MDC Marine Creature - Southern Fiddler Ray

The Marine Discovery Centre is the new home to a South Australian native marine animal, a Southern Fiddler Ray. Our marine life room features South Australian marine species, which gives our visitors the opportunity to see them up close and learn more about our unique local marine life.

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We love what we do

We love what we do, and we especially love receiving hand-drawn thank you cards from students who have visited the Marine Discovery Centre, sharing what they learnt and some of their favourite experiences.

Some of the comments we received:

“It was the best day of my life”
“Thank you for taking us for a wild adventure down to Henley Beach”
“Thanks for teaching me and helping me learn more about the sea”
“Thank you for showing us some didgeridoo songs, aboriginal culture and being nice”
“Thank you for letting us see indigenous items that the Aboriginal people used. I enjoyed when you played the didgeridoo”
“Thank you for helping us learn about marine life”
“Thank you for showing the sea creatures to us. Also thank you for teaching us how to save the environment.”


Who we are

The Marine Discovery Centre aims to provide the most inspirational discovery learning experiences whilst empowering students and the community to actively protect South Australia's iconic coastal and marine environments.

With this goal in mind, we have been empowering students through inspirational and interactive discovery since 1997.

Operating as part of Star of the Sea School, we provide positive learning experiences that focus on ecological sustainability and Aboriginal culture, including the protection of South Australia's coastal and marine environments.

We are the only coastal and marine educational facility for school-aged students and the broader community in South Australia.

The Marine Discovery Centre features interactive learning stations covering topics such as sustainable fishing, responsible water use, Aboriginal culture and the importance of preserving our marine environments.

Our aquariums feature local marine wildlife species and we provide engaging beachside marine trails to complement the Centre's indoor educational activities.

We are very lucky to have such a caring, committed group of people. Our Volunteers will make you feel very welcome and valued. Our volunteers are a very special part of the Marine Discovery Centre. Through their personal contributions to support our visitors and their learning, assisting with cleaning and maintenance of our aquariums and the Centre we have been able to offer a very high quality experience

Meet the staff, volunteers and patrons of the Marine Discovery Centre>


Contact us

We are still here at the Marine Discovery Centre.

If you would like to get in contact with us, please call 08 8115 7402 or email

We would love to hear from you.