The State Government’s ongoing commitment to Rottnest Island will bear further fruit today.
Tourism Minister Norman Moore will officially open a new exhibition on the Rottnest Pilot Service at the historic boathouse in Thomson Bay.
Mr Moore will also inspect major restoration work at the H1 gun at Oliver Hill, a coastal walk trail project at Bickley Battery and woodlands restoration at Forbes Hill.
All four projects are integral chapters in the Rottnest Island Authority’s mandate to manage and protect the island’s unique environment and interpret its diverse heritage to visitors.
“Rottnest is a special place for all Western Australians and the culmination of these significant projects reflects the ongoing commitment from the State Government to enhance the visitor experience on the island,” the Minister said.
“Since 1995, the State Government has provided over $12 million in funding to upgrade visitor facilities on the island, including accommodation, landscaping and other amenities that contribute to the overall Rottnest experience.”
Mr Moore said the Rottnest Island Pilot Service was established in 1848 to provide safe shipping conditions on the treacherous reefs around Rottnest and to ensure supplies arrived safely in Fremantle from Europe.
Seventeen pilots, their families and numerous crew members lived and worked on the island between 1848 and 1903, and most of the buildings and sites used by the service remain intact to this day, including the historic boathouse.
The Rottnest Island Authority had transformed this particular building to house an exhibition that will be open to visitors daily.
“The centrepiece of the exhibition is a replica of the 28-foot whaleboat that was used by Rottnest pilots in their daily work and will be complemented by interpretive panels explaining the Pilot Service,” Mr Moore said.
He will also inspect work to prevent weather damage to H1, the 9.2 inch gun at Oliver Hill. This second stage follows preliminary conservation work in the late 1980’s that allowed public access to the site.
From an environmental perspective, the Minister will visit the Coastal Walk Trail project at Bickley Battery near Kingstown Barracks, and the Woodlands Restoration Program, currently in its fourth year of development.
The Coastal Walk Trail Project is a Rottnest Island Authority initiative implemented through the Commonwealth-funded Green Corps Program, in partnership with the Australian Trust of Conservation Volunteers.
The Bickley Walk Trail is one of the first in a series of walk trails planned for the Island and it is anticipated that up to three sites will be open for public use by November this year.
“This project will enable visitors to enjoy the natural environment of Rottnest Island while managing issues such as erosion, human impact and visitor risk,” Mr Moore said.
He said the Woodlands Restoration Project was also part of an ongoing plan developed to restore woodland habitats vital to the conservation of the island’s unique flora and fauna.
About 70,000 seedlings are due to be planted this year with the assistance of Island Ranger staff and Green Corps personnel.
Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office 9321 1444
Lisa Smith, Rottnest Island Authority 9432 9302