Mrs Wendy Dowling AM is Director, Ideology Pty Ltd, an international tourism consultancy based in Western Australia which specializes in tourism training, planning and development. Together with her husband Ross they have worked in many countries training tourism & hospitality leaders and tour guides; convening seminars, workshops and conferences; and developing local, regional and national tourism plans. She is an experienced Cruise Lecturer having worked on over 20 cruise ships around the world. In Western Australia Wendy is an Executive Member of both Geoparks WA as well as the Forum Advocating Cultural & Eco Tourism (FACET). In addition she is President of the Zonta Club of Perth Northern Suburbs. In 2018 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to community health, particularly in Western Australia, through support for people living with coeliac disease.
The Murchison GeoRegion, Western Australia
Whilst geoparks exist around the world including 161 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 44 countries, there are none in Australia. However, a small but dedicated group of people in Western Australia are creating ‘GeoRegions’ which incorporate some of the characteristics of geoparks, with the intention of later converting all or part of these georegions into geoparks.
The Murchison Region of Western Australia is approximately 250,000 sq km making it about the same size as New Zealand but larger than the United Kingdom. It lies approximately 600 km north of Perth and comprises the seven Shires of Cue, Meekathara, Mount Magnet, Murchison, Sandstone, Wiluna and Yalgoo. In 2009 WA’s Forum Advocating Cultural & Eco Tourism (FACET) held a tourism conference in the town of Mount Magnet and since then there has been a growing interest in fostering geological tourism. In 2016 the WA Government’s Mid West Development Commission created a ‘development blueprint’ for the region which included the goal of establishing tourism based on the region’s unique geology. Since then the Shires have worked together to create the Murchison GeoRegion. A website and app have been created supplemented by a Trail Booklet under the banner of ‘Discover Ancient Lands, Brilliant Skies’. The booklet describes 21 geological sites along a GeoRegion Trail which highlights the abiotic, biotic and cultural features to encourage visitors to find a deeper understanding of and connection with the land they are travelling through. These geological sites will be added to with others focussing on biotic or cultural attractions.