Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary
|Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary|
|Nearest town or city||Melbourne|
|Area||115 hectares (280 acres)|
|Managing authorities||Parks Victoria|
|Official site||Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary|
Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, located in Port Phillip 20 kilometres (12 mi) south east of Melbourne, Australia, is 115 hectares in size, stretching 500 metres out to sea between Table Rock Point in Beaumaris and Quiet Corner in Black Rock.
MARINE SANCTUARY STATUS
The declaration of Ricketts Point as a marine sanctuary was a significant environmental achievement. The battle to win the Sanctuary began as early as 1986. However, it was June 2002, over fifteen years later, after much controversy, that Victorian State Government legislation was finally passed protecting the area.
GEOLOGY AND LIFE
The underwater interest at Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary is considerable. Sandstone rock platforms extend from the shore, supporting a great diversity of flora and fauna. There are secluded caverns and under-rock ledges hosting colourful sponge gardens. Fifty-one species of fish have been identified in the Sanctuary, the most common being southern hulafish, zebra fish, dusky morwongs, moonlighters and Australian sweep. The Sanctuary is also home to smaller and less mobile animals including abalone, winkles, sea urchins, brittle stars, sea stars and crabs. Crucial to this rich marine eco-system are the algae, seaweeds and seagrass meadows which provide a beautiful palette of verdant green, red and brown.
TRADITIONAL LAND OWNERS
The traditional aboriginal owners and protectors of the area were the Bunurongs who numbered around 300 when Beaumaris and Black Rock were being developed by white settlers. However by 1877, the tribe had been decimated through dispossession and disease.
MARINE SANCTUARY CUSTODIANS
In 2003 the Marine Care Ricketts Point group was formed and acts as a conservation watchdog for the Sanctuary. Monitoring biodiversity is one of the important activities of the group. The first convenor of Marine Care Ricketts Inc, Bob Whiteway, was instrumental in the nomination and proclamation of the Sanctuary and he continues his active role in the environmental management of the area. Whiteway, a former science and geography teacher from Sandringham, has treasured the area between Beaumaris and Black Rock for over 40 years. In the 1970s he took his geography students from Beaumaris High School (now Sandringham Secondary College - Beaumaris Campus) snorkelling at Ricketts Point.
MARINE EDUCATION CENTRE
Housed within Beaumaris Life Saving Club, resides the Marine Education Centre (developed by Marine Care Ricketts Point) with interpretive signage and displays plus audio visual equipment. This space is available to rent on a fee-for-service basis.
Long time environmental education specialists, Gould League (est. 1909) run marine excursions for primary and secondary students, with discovery-based activities in and around the Sanctuary and Marine Education Centre. Students explore the beach, rockpools, marine artefacts and Marine Education Centre and learn how to minimise human impact on this ecosystem.