Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, located in the 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.
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.
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.
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. More recently, the Ricketts Point Marine Care group have formed and act as conservation watchdogs for the Sanctuary. Monitoring biodiversity is one of the important activities of the group. The first convenor of the Ricketts Point Marine Care group, 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.
© Bernard Bosmans Photography