TRAVIS TIDDYThe Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to conduct research into post-industrial sites for community development and geo-tourism opportunities - Italy, Germany, UK, Ireland
Queenstown is best known for its association with a denuded mining ravaged landscape. In an era when the concept of true wilderness holds such strong spiritual and sacred connotations, Queenstown’s ‘desecrated’ landscape has evoked generations of scorn from visitors and the broader community. This generational interplay still shapes the perception of Queenstown as an obdurate and backward regional community with no regard for environmental wellbeing.
However, a fresh wave of arts and cultural activity and a ‘can-do’ approach by the community is slowly taking seed. Whilst the future of the town is uncertain, what is unquestionable is that Queenstown has an amazing story to tell, and I view myself as one amongst a strong core of civic leaders who are willing to give that story a voice.
I received the Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to conduct research into post-industrial sites for community development and geo-tourism opportunities.
I travelled to seven Geoparks that are regarded as pillars of the European Geopark Network and Global Geopark Network. Although sharing similar methodologies of partnerships between communities, industries and organisations, each Geopark was different with nuances in management, staff, funding models, community engagement practices, marketing strategies, as well as the more obvious differences in geological assets.
At each location I met with Geopark Managers and Geologists, Rangers, Tour Operators and Staff, to gain a broad understanding of the various roles of Geopark personnel. I met with members of the EGN and GGN and gained insight into the development and operation of both networks. I also met with locals to ascertain community involvement with and awareness of Geoparks.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
At its core, my Fellowship researched how regional development organisations are founded, operated and sustained. I developed many observations and recommendations relating to the Queenstown Geopark Project during my Fellowship, all of which can be read in my attached Churchill Fellowship Report.
My main observation is that Queenstown has a diverse range of natural, cultural and industrial assets, and a renowned scientific and historic pedigree that compares favourably with European Geoparks – and that with the right structures, funding models and partnerships, Queenstown can feature a world-class Geoopark that will provide significant benefits to regional western Tasmania.
I’d like to sincerely thank the Gallaugher family in collaboration with the Churchill Fellowship for making possible the international research which has been so valuable in furthering our community.