Artwork of stingray models made out of metal scraps and painted in turquoise

The Cairns Convention Centre in Australia went through a major renovation, which included a reroofing project. In order to minimize the amount of waste generated, the Centre looked for alternative ways to repurpose materials from the project.



The Cairns Convention Centre reopened in August 2016 after a $13 million refurbishment to celebrate 20 successful years of operation. One element of the project included a reroofing. Rather than waste the steel sheets from the roof, the material was repurposed by Aboriginal Steel Art, a local indigenous business, to make manta ray sculptures using the curve of the roof’s corrugations.


While steel is the world’s most recycled material, every year large amounts of scrap metal is illegally dumped, which leads to the leaching of toxic substances in the environment. Cairns Convention Centre’s creative approach to repurpose its roof serves as an example of how materials can be reused to have a second life. The manta ray sculptures made from the Centre’s 20-year-old roof were created as a “thank you” for partners and clients who have been an integral part of the Cairns Convention Centre’s 20 successful years.