Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The Furneaux Historical Research Association is located in Whitemark on Flinders Island in Tasmania. Founded in 1964, they’re a volunteer organisation responsible for the Furneaux Museum and the conservation of artefacts pertaining to the natural and cultural heritage of the Furneaux region.

The museum plays a significant role in the vitality of the small and remote isolated community, attracting more than 2,000 visitors each year. It’s also a popular gathering place for the community for exhibition openings and special events.

Thanks to the help of an FRRR grant of $24,924, funded by a private donor, through the Strengthening Rural Communities program, the Furneaux Historical Research Association was able to complete the second stage of the Furneaux GeoTrail project.

The Furneaux Group consists of more than 50 islands in Bass Strait, just north of Tasmania. Their rugged and picturesque landscapes contain impressive geological features developed more than 600 million years ago. Many visitors and locals marvel at the vistas in the remote region but before the GeoTrail project, very few people were aware of just how special the geology is.

The GeoTrail project is all about linking the people who live in and visit the Furneaux region to the landscape, educating them and providing them with information in an easy and accessible way.

Stage one of the project was rolled out in 2019 and consists of a self-drive experience made up of 10 interpretive signs in areas of geological significance, easily reached by road. The innovative trail includes a mobile app and is the only one of its kind in Australia.

Stage two of the project saw the extension of the GeoTrail out into areas of geological significance accessible by walking, biking, 4WD, sailing or kayaking. These more remote areas contain examples of unusual and striking rock formations, telling the story of how the islands originated and evolved.

The completed Furneaux GeoTrail offers a world class user experience across the island group that attracts new people to the area, engages those who use it directly, and allows local community and business entrepreneurs to use their creative energies and leverage the GeoTrail to seek out future opportunities.

“We are very proud of the fact that the GeoTrail is bringing our local community and those who visit Flinders Island closer to the geology and the environment around them. It’s so rewarding to hear people talking about rocks! We are also very proud of the huge amount of work done by our volunteers in completing the project.”

Dr Dale Williams, Project Manager

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.