Guardians of the Sea - Junior School mural

Our Junior School Undercover Area is alive with the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef through a mesmerising and magical undersea mural.

The undersea mural was painted in 2023 by local artist Paul Perry and was based on original artwork by Cairns artist Melanie Hava.

 Paul Perry worked with BCC’s Reef Guardian students to paint the mural and involved the wider Bundaberg community who were invited to pick up a brush at the 2023 BCC Festival.

Artist Paul Perry said when he saw the original artwork by Melanie Hava he thought it emanated joy.

“For me, this artwork is about fun, fascination with the undersea and the colourfulness of God’s creation," Paul said.

“I love the sea, I love what’s under it, and there is still so much of it to explore. Not many people get to see it and I hope this mural creates a lot of excitement for the kids and give them some sort of inkling of what they might be able to explore in the future," he said.

“As Reef Guardians, it’s also important to have the ocean embedded in our thinking and to understand that what we do on the land affects the sea. The ocean is part of our local environment and it’s good to draw people’s attention to it. So for me, working in this environment is very comfortable and throughout the process, I enjoyed working with students and the wider community, including at the BCC Festival.

Paul adapted the original artwork to span the large blank wall space in the Junior School undercover area, which included coding various components and mapping it into a spreadsheet.

Mr Perry highlighted that while the mural was painted, it also had mosaic elements.

“For the last six years I have been primarily working with mosaics but early on I painted murals in Bargara. I am always learning from the process, and it’s been great to combine elements of both mosaics and painted murals for this project.”

BCC Reef Guardian teacher Stuart Thornton said the beautiful artwork would serve as a reminder to students that the Great Barrier Reef was right on their doorstep.

“Our students have the opportunity to look after and care for the reef so that it can be enjoyed not only for themselves but for generations to come," Mr Thornton said.

2023 Year 6 Reef Guardian Halle Shehata said she loves the variety and colours of the fish displayed and feels that it will help to boost student’s imagination.

“I love the colour palate,” Halle said.

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