Furneaux Museum

The museum is a cluster of seven buildings which are themselves exhibits e.g.. One is 'Dryazell' (on its original site), one time private school and residence of first government subsidised teacher on Flinders Island. Another building is the replica of a Muttonbird processing shed as used 1920-1948. This shed contains original artefacts donated by Frank and Heather Willis whose family have been Muttonbirding for well over 100 years. Muttonbird harvesting is also a part of the culture of the indigenous people of the Furneaux. The museum is operated entirely by volunteer members of the Furneaux Historical Society

Collections

Approx. 2 000 images, 1 200 documents, 1 500 objects.. The collection housed in the Museum is one of National and State significance and consists of a variety of objects, images and documents reflecting the natural and cultural history of the Furneaux group of islands situated in Eastern Bass Strait. Much of the material is maritime in origin, the oldest artefact being the anchor from the 'Sydney Cove' a vessel beached on Preservation Island in 1797. The implications from this event were far reaching and include - 1. The establishment of the second permanent European settlement out of Sydney, at Kent Bay, Cape Barren Island, by sealers in 1798. 2. The establishment of Australia's first export industry, sealskins and oil. 3. The survival of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people because of their interaction, albeit forced, with the sealers. Also to the demise of many brought to the Furneaux Islands by George Augustus Robinson in 1832. 4. The proof of the existence of Bass Strait, thus shortening the route to the new colony. Mathew Flinders on the third rescue voyage to Preservation Island observed tide and currents and suspected the existence of the Strait, later proved by the voyage of the Norfolk with George Bass. It was Flinders who brought news of the seal colonies to Sydney.