Current Projects

The Rottnest Foundation works in partnership with the Rottnest Island Authority, corporate and Government partners in the delivery of major projects that  ‘Conserve the essence of Rottnest’.  Projects identified and supported by the Rottnest Foundation are of significant cultural, heritage or environmental importance to the Island.

Major Projects

Wadjemup Bidi

The Wadjemup Bidi project consists of a 45 km network of trails that facilitates public access and connection to the Island’s rich natural features, abundant wildlife & unique cultural heritage whilst also providing a strategy to minimise the pressures of tourism on the natural environment.


To date the Rottnest Foundation has contributed $1,149,312.91 towards the implementation of this project. Interpretation fosters appreciation of the cultural significance, multiple histories and environmental dynamics of Rottnest and encourage visitors to better understand, protect and respect the Island.


Community and volunteer groups played a fundamental role in the implementation of the trail. This amazing recreational experience was completed in 2018. Additions and extensions to the trail will continue as required and include the North Thomson Bay stairs donated by the London Chapter of the Rottnest Foundation and which are currently under design, preparatory to construction.

Find out more information about the Wadjemup Bidi, including trail fact sheets here

Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground Conservation Project

Before the sea rose some 6,500 years ago, Wadjemup, also known as Rottnest Island, was joined to the mainland. The oral history of the Wadjuk Nyoongar people documents their ancestors walking to Wadjemup to perform ceremony and look after Country. Wadjemup has long been an important place for the Nyoongar people and we recommend you view ‘Always Wadjemup’ a fascinating online exhibition, to further your understanding of Aboriginal culture and history of Wadjemup.

Rottnest Island was used as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1903, closing its doors in 1904.It is recorded that over 370 Aboriginal men and boys imprisoned during this period, died on Rottnest Island and are buried at the site known as the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground. This is the largest known deaths in custody gravesite in Australia and is extremely sacred for Aboriginal people as it contains the remains of Aboriginal Elders, Law Men and Warriors from almost every Aboriginal Language Group in Western Australia. The conservation & acknowledgement of the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground is an important step in aiding in the healing process for Western Australian Aboriginal people and delivering a significant commitment of reconciliation from the State.

The project to reconcile the history of Aboriginal people’s imprisonment at Rottnest Island is progressing with the recent development of a cultural authority process to lead State-wide Aboriginal community engagement. The Rottnest Foundation will implement recommendations for the Burial Ground in concert with the historic Rottnest Island Wadjemup Project.

To date the Rottnest Foundation has raised $520,440 to contribute to the conservation of this site, however further funding is still required and we are appealing to the community to get behind this significant reconciliation project for WA. “Through interpretation-understanding, through understanding–appreciation, through appreciation–protection.” Tilden 1957



To find out more about the Aboriginal culture and history of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island, including the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground, please click here

Rottnest Island Settlement Greening Plan

The Settlement Greening Plan aims to restore native vegetation and quokka habitat in and around visitor precincts on Rottnest Island. Delivery of the plan will result in the planting of over 130,000 trees and shrubs within the settlement areas over a five year period, from 2020-2025. The species selected are either local native to the island or pre-existing within the Settlement (Norfolk Island Pine) and so will enhance rather than detract from the island’s fauna habitat and heritage values.

Rottnest Island has a unique fauna assemblage that has been influenced by the isolation of the island from the mainland. Included are a wide variety of bird species, the world renowned quokka and a variety of reptiles and invertebrates. The Settlement areas provide a variety of habitats for fauna and the Greening Plan will add to fauna habitat values. The plan also highlights the potential to enhance the habitat area of the Rock Parrot. The Rock Parrot population on Rottnest Island is the only remaining population on the west coast of Australia between Lancelin and Augusta.


There will be opportunities for sponsorship, volunteer engagement and the chance for the general public to support the project throughout the implementation of the plan.

Quokka Monitoring and Research

The Rottnest Foundation supports ongoing research into the health and habitat of the quokka, the only mammal native to Rottnest Island. The Island habitat supports the largest known quokka population in the world and is essential for the survival of the species. There are approximately 10,000-12,000 quokkas living on Rottnest Island and the species is listed as vulnerable under ICUN (2014). The Rottnest Island Authority has established the Rottnest Island Quokka Monitoring Programme. The Focal Conservation Target for quokkas is the basis for setting goals, carrying out conservation and measuring conservation effectiveness. Population health and population size were selected as key attributes for the quokka conservation target. Five key indicators measure population health including body condition, parasite load, general health, weaning rates and survival rates. Relative abundance was chosen to measure population size. In 2018/2019 the Focal Conservation Target for quokkas achieved 91% and the health rating was ‘Very Good”.

The Quokka Monitoring Programme builds on knowledge from a PhD doctoral thesis by Veronica Phillips in 2016 entitled ‘The demographics and ecology of the Rottnest Island quokka (Setonix brachyurus)’, completed through UWA. The thesis can be found in the link below, attached with permission from the author

Part proceeds of sales of ‘Chocca the Quokka’ merchandise, which include chocolate quokkas and quokka T-shirts, produced by the Margaret River Chocolate Co has raised $20,000 to date to support the Rottnest Island Quokka Monitoring Programme.




Scientists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) have recently carried out world first genome mapping of the quokkas and more information can be found in the following link