Murchison GeoRegion launched

Geotourism is an emerging global economic development opportunity which fosters tourism based on the geology and landscapes that shape the character of a region.

The ancient geology of WA’s Murchison is considered an ideal platform for this model of tourism and the Shire of Mount Magnet recently hosted the launch of the Murchison GeoRegion project.

This is WA’s first major GeoRegion tourism initiative – a collaboration between the Murchison local governments and the Mid West Development Commission, under the guidance of Professor Ross Dowling AM, Honorary Professor of Tourism at Edith Cowan University and his wife Wendy Dowling AM.

The aim is to add a new dimension to the region’s tourism experience by highlighting and drawing connections between geology and landscapes, ecology, astronomical observations and their relevance to local Aboriginal culture.

The shires involved are Cue, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Murchison, Sandstone, Wiluna and Yalgoo.

Professor Dowling, who is a Park Ambassador, said: “The launch was the end point of a journey started eleven years ago when the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism (FACET) held a Regional Tourism Conference in Mount Magnet”.

He added that the GeoRegion would now form the basis of WA’s first Aspiring Geopark with the ultimate aim of applying for recognition as a UNESCO Global Geopark.

“When this occurs, it will draw national and international interest, “he said.

Three other Park Ambassadors also contributed to the event. They are Cr Karen Morrissey OAM, Launch Convenor; Professor Stephen Hopper AC, who gave a keynote talk; and FACET Founder, Mrs Pat Barblett AM, who conducted the official launch.

The Murchison GeoRegion project has completed stage one including the plan blueprint. Identification and description of GeoRegion sites, a branding style guide and a GeoRegion Trail Guidebook have been completed, supported by a dedicated app for site identification and location description.

Information accessible via the app includes interpretation of how geology informed the natural environment (flora and fauna) and its use by traditional Aboriginal owners and non-Aboriginal settlers, providing visitors with an appreciation of the geodiversity that underpins the landscapes and biodiversity.