The Marine Discovery Centre through the eyes of a Year 5 student


I open my sleep crusted eyes, and feel the warm sunshine dripping down my skin. I remember that today is the day our school is going to the beach – and I leap from my bed with excitement. Mum fixes me breakfast and fusses about my uniform like a clucking hen, getting me ready for the day, and drops me off at the school bus with a parting “tell me all about your day later sweetie”. I’m in the school bus and my friends and I buzz with anticipation of the day ahead – we’re finally visiting the Marine Discovery Centre!

On our way to the centre the bus driver takes the scenic route, and we observe Henley Beach in all its wonder, sunlight illuminating the ebb and flow of the bright blue waves. I taste the salt in the air and catch a whiff of seaweed and sand. We arrive at the centre, eyes lit with intrigue. I walk inside and am greeted by a cheery lady named Carmen, a hilarious man named Karno and knowledgeable marine biologist named Georgie. They introduce us to their centre at Henley Beach, which is the only institute in South Australia for guided marine education tours. I look around and see microscopes, artwork, fossilised creatures and games galore.

I haven’t been able to get my mind off the beach since the drive over, and they announce it’s time to go. I’ve been instructed to put my scientist hat on, so I place my theoretical hat, goggles and lab coat on and set toward the sea. While sifting through the sand I find an oval object called a “cuttle bone”, which is the backbone of the soft bodied cuttle. We can tell how the cuttle died based on its engravings; if there are teeth marks, a shark dolphin or sea lion may have had it for lunch. If there are scratch marks, a sea bird may have used it to sharpen their beak. After an hour we are told to return to the centre for lunch, before the exploration of the rooms commences.

A vegemite sandwich and apple juice later, we’re off to see the rooms. The exploring is broken up into four sections; the science exploration room, catchment to coast room, creatures’ room and Kaurna room. My favourite room was the Kaurna room, given Karno played us the didgeridoo, a wind type instrument that has been around for over 1000 years and can only be played by men, so we’re lucky to have witnessed it in person.

I loved the experience to get up close and personal to the South Australian marine creatures, my favourites were the Port Jackson Shark, the Porcupinefish and the Southern Fiddler Ray - but there were so many more. 

I have so much to tell Mum when I get home.


Creative piece written by Shona Swart - University of Adelaide Intern at the Marine Discovery Centre