Rainforest Discovery Centre receives excellent accolade
  • Wednesday 04 September 2019

Sunshine Coast Council has received a top gong in recognition of Excellence in Project Innovation for the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’s Rainforest Discovery Centre.

The accolade was handed down at the recently held biennial Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Awards for Excellence in Hobart.

The awards recognise the dedication, commitment and talent of those in the public works engineering field. 

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the $4.7 million Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre represented a new standard in engineering, design, innovation and sustainability for public buildings.

“The addition of the world-class Rainforest Discovery Centre in 2017 provided visitors with incredible new experiences, including an elevated viewing deck, elevated glider gallery boardwalk, interactive playground, outdoor learning facility and a café,” Cr McKay said.

“The centre offers spectacular views of the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains and sits within the 55-hectare Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. 

“I am extremely proud of our team for delivering such a brilliant, state-of-the-art facility; council is lucky to have such an outstanding resource within its portfolio of beautiful reserves.”  

As the winner of the 2017 IPWEAQ (Queensland) Excellence Award - Innovation in Public Works, the Mary Cairncross Rainforest Discovery Centre Project was automatically nominated for the IPWEA Australasia Awards for Excellence.

The IPWEA Australasia Awards are held every two years in conjunction with the International Public Works Conference.

This year's International Public Works Conference was held in Hobart 25 - 29 August 2019 where Sunshine Coast Council was one of nine finalists from across the country vying for the Excellence in Project Innovation 2019 award.


Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre background:

  • The project was conceived through extensive community consultation and collaboration, and delivered with the utmost respect to the site’s important history and environmental setting.

  • The reserve is one of the last surviving remnants of rainforest that once covered the Blackall Range and is internationally renowned for its commitment to conservation excellence and education. 

  • The building’s robust, yet organic design features a range of local, natural materials including Glass House quarried stone, Maleny bush-rock, local timber and bespoke public art entry doors created by local artisans.

  • The centre co-exists harmoniously with its surrounds, respecting, rather than competing with them, while still providing the grand sense of arrival befitting a major eco-tourist attraction.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre has won the following awards:

  • Excellence in Innovation  Award, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, 2017 (Sunshine Coast Council)

  • Economic Development Initiatives over 15,000 Residents Award, Economic Development Australia, 2017 (Sunshine Coast Council)

  • Regional Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Management, State Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Management, Regional Award for Tourism and Leisure Facilities up to $10 million, State Award for Tourism and Leisure Facilities up to $10 million, Master Builders Queensland, 2017 (Hutchinson Builders)

  • Queensland Tourism Award, Australian institute of Landscape Architects, 2017 (Guymer Bailey Architects)

  • Design and or Construction of a local Government/Public Works Project: Projects $2 Million to $5 Million, IPWEAQ Awards, 2018 (Sunshine Coast Council)

  • Harry Marks Award for Sustainable Architecture (Queensland State), Australian institute of Architects, 2018 (Guymer Bailey Architects and Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors)

  • Commercial Interiors, Building Designers Association of Queensland, 2019 (Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors)