Museum History

Richard Fowler and Dryazell, 1967

A community endeavour

The Furneaux Museum opened in 1965 in the former schoolhouse on Flinders Island known as Dryazell.  The Museum was, and still is, operated by a community not-for-profit organisation, the Furneaux Historical Research Association (FHRA).

Dryazell was owned at the time by author Richard Fowler. On his death Fowler left his private collection of historical objects to the FHRA and the property to his widow.

In 1978 Mrs Fowler safe-guarded the future of the Museum by transferring the property title to the Municipality of Flinders, to be held in perpetuity for the local community. The FHRA retained ownership of the collection.

Five more buildings were added to the site between 1974 and 1992.  Read more> about Mrs Gray's Room, the Land Settlement Scheme Office, Nissen Hut, Mutton-bird Processing Shed and Police Cells.

The next two decades saw the FHRA focus on increasing professionalism in running the Museum, funded by a string of national, state and local grants. Volunteers were trained in museum best practice, buildings were repaired and restored and display areas redeveloped. Environmental control measures were introduced, aided by the connection of electricity in 1996, and Museum opening hours were extended.

In 2006 a new building was constructed, providing a dedicated space for temporary exhibitions, fireproof storage for archives, an office/workroom, and a flushing toilet!

Dryazell, 1989

Reconstruction of the Nissen Hut at the Museum, c.1992