08 6552 7474 foundation@fwam.com.au


Underwater crime investigation cracks the FameLab case…

Australian winner Dr Paola Magni on her way to the UK final

Dr Paola Magni from Murdoch University has been announced as FameLab National Final Winner and Audience Choice for 2019.

Paola will represent Australia at the International FameLab Competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June, competing against scientists from 25 countries.

FameLab is the world’s leading science communication competition to find and mentor young STEM researchers to share their stories with the world.

Winning over the judges and the audience at the National Final, Paola dived into the world of underwater crime investigation, asking how do you reconstruct the events of crime and identify the culprit when water washes the evidence away?

Paola’s research is finding revolutionary tools for underwater investigation, bringing new witnesses to life – ‘colonising’ plants, animals and little creatures like the barnacle. The presence and activity of these organisms can help investigators reconstruct and identify how long a body has been in water and track the location of the crime scene. 

This research has global application as it can be key to investigate criminal cases – using science for justice and closure for families.

Paola will represent Australia at the international FameLab competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June, competing against scientists from around 25 countries.

“It’s a huge privilege to be able to represent Australia at the international FameLab competition. We have world class scientists and science communicators in this country and being able to share the wonder of science with people is an amazing experience,” said Paola

FameLab is the British Council’s international science communication competition and Australia is one of 25 participating countries. It is a training program in a competition format to get people talking about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Applicants have three minutes to present a concept from their field of study to a panel of judges. The judges look for somebody who can shine in content, clarity and charisma – it has to be scientifically accurate, clear to understand and presented with a lot of personality.

“We are thrilled that Paola Magni will bring Australian forensic innovation to a global stage in June. For over a decade the British Council has supported thousands of STEM researchers around the world, promoting international collaboration in higher education and science, and giving audiences the chance to hear about new discoveries that could change our lives.” said Helen Salmon, Director British Council in Australia. “For the last two years the Australian winners of FameLab have gone on to be Global Runners-Up in the International Competition. We will be following Paola’s journey at the Cheltenham Science Festival next month as she shows off her brilliant work which is helping bring justice and closure to many.”

Jenny Allen, CEO, Foundation for the WA Museum was thrilled with the standard of creativity, research projects and presentation skills. “FameLab is unique in that it fosters serious and important scientific work introducing it to the world in a fun and informal way. The winner, Dr Paola Magni, is in a position to make a real impact on forensic investigations of the future – we can all be proud that this initiative was created in Perth, by a woman, who will now represent Australia against the rest of the world.  I would like to personally congratulate Paola, along with Runner-Up Hayley and the rest of the finalists – they are the future of science.” 

In 2019, FameLab was produced in Australia by the Foundation for the Western Australian Museum with the British Council as the International Partner and National Partner, the Western Australian Museum.

Dr Paola Magni

Dr Paola Magni is a forensic biologist with key focus on the application of natural sciences to crime scene investigation. She is a researcher and lecturer in forensic science, with experience as an expert witness on cases of homicide, suspicious death, animal/wildlife cruelty and food forensics. Paola is an author of papers in international scientific journals, has written chapters in forensic books and is the editor of a forensic entomology book. She is also the developer of “SmartInsects”, the App designed to facilitate police and pathologists at crime scenes. Guest speaker in talk shows about science and investigation, she has played an intrinsic role as screenplay consultant for the Italian version of the TV series “CSI”. TEDx speaker, advocate of STEM and WISE.


FameLab is a competition owned and created by Cheltenham Festival in the UK. The British Council has license to deliver the competition in 25 countries. Since its birth at the Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into the world’s leading science communication competition. A partnership with the British Council since 2007 has seen the competition go global with more than 10,000 young scientists and engineers participating to date.

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education, and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

The Foundation for the WA Museum

The Foundation for the Western Australian Museum is the producer for FameLab Australia. The Foundation has been committed to securing the future of our State’s heritage since 1995. Our role is to cultivate and develop relationships with individuals, organisations, and community groups who understand the critical role that museums play in society to create a thriving WA Museum. We assist in delivering engaging community and educational programs, support ground-breaking scientific research and discovery, source funding for touring exhibitions, and acquire new items for our State’s collection.



WINNER Dr Paola Magni, Murdoch University – Crimes, Critters & Clues. A crime scene investigator’s job is to reconstruct the events of crime and identify the culprit, where insects, crustaceans, molluscs, microorganisms and plants were the first witnesses!


RUNNER-UP Hayley Teasdale, University of Canberra – The ball to prevent falls. Find out how a piece of handheld technology is delivering real time spatial information helping in the rehabilitation of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.


Amanda Tauber, Bond University – Slamming the breaks on metastatic cancer. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed travel through the blood or lymph system. New research in medicinal chemistry is looking to slow the growth of these cells to improve our ability to tackle the disease.


Thimo Ruethers, James Cook University – The deadly danger of crocs on the plate. How do we tackle the problem of fish allergies with thousands of different fish varieties, and what can eating crocodiles or other reptiles teach us?


Catriona Nguyen-Robertson, The Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne – Exercise can take your immune system for a ride. We all know exercise is good for us…or that’s what we think. New research is tracks immune cells after exercise to look for changes in their function, making sure we don’t push our immune system to the point where it cannot cope.


Dr Dwan Price, Deakin University – Nuts and guts. Nationally, 3.9 million Australians avoid foods due to allergy and intolerances. Researching the effects that peanut allergens have on gut leakiness and the routes peanut allergens take to cross the intestine could help people suffering from peanut intolerances.


Sathana Dushyanthen, University of Melbourne – The double-edged sword. Cancer is a constant battle between good versus evil. Certain immune cells possess the ability to penetrate into tumours locating these call villains. A new drug is out to attack and destroy.


Samuel Bladwell, University of New South Wales – A new spin on electronics. What does watching Rafael Nadal smash a topspin forehand at the Australian open have in common with the spin of the electron and fundamental quantum mechanical properties?


Dilan Seckiner, University of Technology Sydney – Forensic gait analysis: morphometric body assessment with associated CCTV image quantification. Surveillance cameras are become an important tool for minimising crime, but what if you can recognise a face? New research uses footage to analyse a person’s gait for identification.


Hossein Tavassoli, University of New South Wales and Swinburne University – Mending the broken hearts using micro and nanotechnology. Understanding the interactions of different cells in the heart can provide insights into the development of new methods of heart repair through the use of 3D-printing and microfabrication technology.


Rebecca Wellard, Curtin University – Eavesdropping on killer whales. The transient and mobile nature of killer whales makes them difficult to study by traditional method. Using passive acoustic monitoring to focus on how different killer whales sound and what makes them unique – a way to eavesdrop on the ocean’s secrets!


Kit Prendergast, Curtin University – Flowers to keep the native bees buzzing. Investigating native bees in the ‘burbs’ of the biodiversity hot-spot of southwest WA. How do we protect native bees?



Etienne Rastoin-Laplane, Curtin University – What’s fishy about the Galapagos? Underwater video footage analysed to provide the crucial insights needed to bring about the long-awaited changes in the fisheries management of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Ensuring long term conservation and avoiding the pitfalls of an iconic tourist destination.



Thank you to our valued FameLab Australia Partners

Foundation for the WA Museum welcomes new partner DFO

The Foundation for the WA Museum is very excited to announce a new partnership with DFO Perth. Since opening to great aplomb in October last year, DFO offers customers a premium outlet shopping experience.

DFO, by association with the Foundation for the WA Museum, and the WA Museum, is Principal Partner of the Kylie On Stage exhibition which opened at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle last month and which runs until mid-June 2019. Sharing strong values and a genuine commitment to positively impacting the community, the partnership is a perfect fit for the Foundation and the Museum, and we hope, is the first of a long and fruitful alliance.

DFO Perth boasts 113 specialty stores including international designers, premium apparel, mainstream fashion, lifestyle and homewares at up to 70% off, all year round. With 24,000 square metres of modern retail space and a contemporary food offering, playground facilities and parking for more than 1,500 cars, it is a space for the whole family to enjoy.

DFO Perth Centre Manager Leanne Smith said the centre was a unique offering within the Perth market.

“We opened in October 2018 with a number of premium brands first to market in Western Australia, all at up to 70 per cent off,” Leanne said.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer such phenomenal value on the best brands to West Australians every day of the week.

“The DFO brand is iconic in retail and we are really excited to partner with the Foundation and the WA Museum to bring some of music’s most iconic costumes and stories to WA with the Kylie On Stage exhibition.”

Mandurah Crab Fest

The Channel Seven Mandurah Crab Fest is Western Australia’s largest free community event. Celebrating culture, lifestyle, food and of course the native Blue Swimmer Crab, the Mandurah Crab Fest is an annual must-do experience. Held over the weekend of 16 & 17 March, you will once again find the WA Museum at Crab Fest 2019! With the support of the Foundation for the WA Museum, the Museum in a Container, proudly supported by Santos will be open from 10am to 6pm!

The WA Museum is providing audiences with a wide range of offsite Museum experiences while the New Museum in the Perth Cultural Centre is under construction. During the Crab Fest weekend, the Museum in a Container will engage audiences in a variety of activities:

Find out about the Blue Swimmer Crab
Learn about the Museum’s research into WA’s amazing marine diversity
Talk to Aquatic Zoology curators who will answer all your crustacean questions and tell you about some fascinating specimens
Watch live taxidermy demonstrations and crab dissections
Create your own fish or crab and add it to our interactive aquarium

20 Years of Scientific Discovery

Since 1998, Woodside has partnered with the WA Museum to understand the biodiversity of northwest Australia in the Dampier Archipelago and the Kimberley regions. The Foundation for the WA Museum has become increasingly involved in the partnership since 2003 and has worked with the Museum and Woodside to explore project opportunities and develop and support the relationship.

The partnership has expanded to include more than 140 scientists from 25 countries, 19 Australian and international museums, 43 Australian and international universities, 17 State and Commonwealth government agencies, and 23 industry and private partners.

Researchers have surveyed 315 sites across 575,000 square kilometres of ocean off the Kimberley coastline, collected more than 55,000 marine animal and plant specimens, and discovered more than 700 species new to science.

The research has won 11 WA and national awards for excellence in science, environment, business and technology; and more than 50 million people worldwide have viewed the exhibitions, documentaries, publications, lectures, articles, live fieldwork feeds, websites and educational resources produced.

The knowledge gained is being used by managers, decision-makers and the community to contribute to biodiversity conservation and natural resource management, and will help guide the future of sustainable development, business and conservation policies and the assessment of natural heritage values.

Material collected during the project partnership is housed at the WA Museum, and available to scientists and researchers around the world. Work to examine and identify the specimens collected is continuing.

This video celebrates Woodside’s ground-breaking 20 year partnership with the WA Museum, and its 25 year partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Watch the video


Image: Sea slug mollusc, Phyllidia coelestis (Scott Reef) is found in clear water on tropical Indo-Pacific reefs where it feeds on sponges. Clay Bryce, WA Museum.

Foundation + Partners + Museum = Cultural Impact

In October this year the exciting new Tianqi Lithium Connections Gallery was framed! A 45 metre-long steel structure, weighing 30 tonnes, was carefully lifted into position to complete the frame of the cantilever gallery, a major feature of the striking New Museum currently under construction in the Perth Cultural Centre.

More recently the WA Museum revealed a video animation ‘fly-through’ taking viewers inside the $396 million project. Viewers are taken on a journey from Yagan Square, over the Perth Cultural Centre, through the New Museum’s public spaces and then are offered glimpses into the new exhibition Galleries. The iconic and much loved 24m Blue Whale skeleton can be seen, suspended through the triple-height ceiling space of Hackett Hall.

The animated video shows what an exciting experience the museum will offer locals and visitors with viewers given a sense of where each Gallery space is located. The Foundation for the WA Museum is currently engaging support from the local and global community interested in Gallery Naming Rights and the opportunity to partner in this once-in-a-century project.

The New Museum project is on schedule, with the building expected to be complete in 2019. Exhibition fit-out will occur over the following 12 months, ready for opening in 2020.

Watch the fly through    Watch the time lapse

Picture: WA Museum, Multiplex

Woodside on the Move

3,200 Woodside staff have recently moved into their new 32-storey headquarters, which the company has named Mia Yellagonga. The name means “place of Yellagonga” and pays homage to the Whadjuk elder who interacted with Capt. James Stirling when the Swan River Colony was founded.

Mia Yellagonga hosted a range of activities for Woodside staff and their families over a full weekend in September. The weekend provided an opportunity to activate the new building with various engagement activities including a taste of The Antarctica Experience, currently showing at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

Without question, the marine craft activity offered to children visiting the building for the first time and a touch cart providing a hands-on experience of the Museum’s Woodside Collection were highlights of the weekend. WA Museum Curators were on hand to talk to the key outcomes of Woodside’s 20 year partnership with the Museum which has focused on understanding the biodiversity of northwest Australia in the Dampier Archipelago and Kimberley regions.

Picture: Michael Wilson

West Australian culture and arts advocates recognised

At the State Arts and Culture Partnership Honours Awards held on Monday 8 October 2018 at the State Theatre Centre, two of the Foundation for the WA Museum’s long-standing community partners received acknowledgement for their support of arts and culture in Western Australia.

In its second year, the Awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions of individual philanthropists and businesses who partner with arts and cultural organisations helping create a vibrant arts and culture scene in our State.

Stan Perron of the Stan Perron Charitable Trust was awarded honours under the Individual Partnerships category, which acknowledges individuals who have contributed significant support to an arts or cultural organisation. Mr Perron’s ongoing contribution to the Foundation for the WA Museum creates a leadership statement:  his generosity over many years has significantly benefited the community and he is recognised as setting a new benchmark in untied private philanthropy.

In April 2018, the Foundation for the WA Museum was recipient of a $1m donation from the Stan Perron Charitable Trust toward the Foundation’s Discovery Endowment Fund. The fund supports a wide variety of WA Museum exhibitions, research projects, educational opportunities, outreach programs and acquisitions.

Andrew Forrest AO and Nicola Forrest of the Minderoo Foundation were awarded honours under the Arts Development category, which acknowledges collaborations that foster development within the arts and cultural community. The partnership between Minderoo and the Foundation of the WA Museum began in 2011 with a generous donation to the Foundation’s Discovery Endowment Fund to enable a secure sustainable source of funding to the WA Museum in perpetuity.

In 2018, the Foundation for the WA Museum used a portion of donation dividends to set up an annual Minderoo Grant. Four recipients of the inaugural Minderoo Grant received funding for key Museum projects which offer far reaching benefits and represent some of the WA Museum’s diverse disciplines in science, social and cultural knowledge.

In addition to these two prestigious awards, Nyamba Buru Yawuru was nominated by the WA Museum and awarded the honour in the Aboriginal Arts category. Thanks to the generosity of Tim and Christine Ungar of the Ungar Family Foundation, two young Yawuru people, Maya Shioji and Bart Pigram, participated in the WA Museum’s Emerging Curator Program. They worked with Nyamba Buru Yawuru curator Sarah Yu to develop the exhibition Lustre: Pearling and Australia. A book based on the exhibition has since been developed in consultation with Yawuru, Karajarri, Bardi, Jawi and Mayala Elders, and the wider pearling community. The exhibition is current touring Australia for a 3-year period.

The Foundation congratulates all who were nominated or awarded honours last night, with special thanks to Stan Perron, and Andrew and Nicola Forrest for their outstanding commitment to the arts and culture sector.

Bringing the Museum to the People

A butterfly can taste with its feet, ants tap each other with their antennae to talk to each other, and male stalk-eye flies attract a mate with their big round eyes. These are just a few fun facts shared by the WA Museum at various sites across Perth while the New Museum for WA is under construction in the Perth Cultural Centre. The Foundation’s partnership with Quadrant Energy has helped to create a transportable, secure, multi-use ‘Museum in a Container’ that has appeared at the Perth Royal Show and the Awesome Festival over the October school holidays. Kids of all ages had the chance to create and build their own bugs of all shapes and sizes.

The ‘Museum in a Container’ engages with local communities at various sites including festivals, fairs and other community events. Upcoming events include:

  • Saturday 27 October, 10am to 4pm, 2018 Maritime Day, B-Shed, Fremantle
  • Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 November, 10am to 6pm, Act Belong Commit Bonjour Perth 2018, Market Square Park, Subiaco

Generosity & Foresight: the Putcuyps-Mustafina Estate

In 2016 while on holiday from their home in Belgium, Mr Jozef (Joe) Putcuyps and his wife Elena Mustafina visited the WA Museum’s Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle and the Museum of Geraldton. Joe and Elena, both retired from distinguished careers in the oil and gas sector, have strong interests in the history and the significance of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in early international trade.

Joe and Elena, appreciating the significance and impact of these early voyages to the history of WA and the State’s shared history with Europe, were impressed by the WA Museum’s collections, depth of information and displays of Batavia and VOC material, so much so, that they contacted the Foundation for the WA Museum to discuss how they could gift their significant personal collection accumulated over decades, to the WA Museum.

Joe worked with the Foundation over the next two years to identify the best way to gift their collection and provide further support the Museum’s leading research in maritime archaeology and history.

In February 2018 the Museum welcomed the receipt of two crates of VOC related objects from Joe and Elena’s personal collection including artworks, rare books, chinaware, ships models and artefacts. Significantly they also generously provided the Foundation an endowed cash gift to support this collection and the Museum’s leading work in Maritime Heritage. This endowed fund, known as the Putcuyps – Mustafina Maritime Heritage Fund, will continue to grow and support the Museum work in maritime archaeology, history and related activities in perpetuity.

The Foundation for the WA Museum and the WA Museum wish to acknowledge and thank Joe and Elena for their generosity and foresight. In providing these remarkable gifts they have enabled the Museum to build its significant collection of VOC material, continue its valuable research and communicate these fascinating stories of early exploration and trade to Museum visitors.

A Q&A with Jenny Allen, CEO, Foundation for the WA Museum

Jenny Allen FAIM hopes to be known and remembered in years to come as a caring, determined and dedicated individual who looked to help others and loved her family and friends unconditionally. On the basis of her multiple career achievements to date, there is little doubt of this happening.

Currently Foundation for the WA Museum Chief Executive Officer, Ms Allen previously worked at The 500 Club, which followed a successful 16- year stint with Youth Focus WA. Within this role she took the not-for-profit organisation from fledgling start-up to a significant contributor to the mental health and wellness sector for young people. During her time with Youth Focus, Ms Allen picked up a range of accolades, including the Western Australian of the Year Community Award in 2013 and a finalist placing for WA in the 2014 Australian of the Year Awards.

Ms Allen also cited some of the proudest moments of her career while working for Youth Focus. “I am extremely proud of the successes I achieved in looking after young people and their families, seeing them at the beginning of their counselling journey and then at the end,” she said. “It would make my heart sing.”

Ms Allen spoke to Leader about this and some other key insights from her illustrious career.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
There have been many, but the success each year of Hawaiian Ride For Youth – its growth, its supporters and riders – and then two award wins in 2012 and 2015 for Best Charity Event at the Australian Event Awards were all thrilling achievements.

What has been most challenging and how did you overcome this challenge?
Heading up a not-for-profit with no money and little professional expertise was a challenge we overcame with the support of organisations and individuals in the corporate sector.

Do you have a mantra or work ethic that drives you on each day?
Enthusiasm and an insatiable wish to continue to learn and succeed in giving back.

How big an impact did your time with Youth Focus have on your leadership style?
The biggest impact was knowing if I could not achieve my goal one way, we as a team would work together to find another solution. I believe my compassion for humanity and its frailties made me a leader whose team’s loyalty and support gave me the impetus to always go further and beyond. I believe my 16 years at Youth Focus made me a better person and a strong and collaborative leader.

Was it difficult to leave Youth Focus and did you find it difficult to adapt to a new company?
In a word – yes. It had become part of me and my passion around suicide prevention and mental health was very real. I was not ready to retire and so made the decision to look for different areas that would give me challenges and opportunities to use my skills and experience gained as a CEO.

When you started working for the Foundation for the WA  Museum, did you have a goal you wanted to achieve?
Together with the chair and the foundation board, we wanted to achieve a substantial endowment fund to give our WA Museum the opportunities that government could not. To accomplish this we needed to look at structural and positive changes within the foundation, and these goals meant growing the brand, achieving DGR-1 (deductible gift receipt) status so the foundation could receive donations from a private ancillary fund and looking at the operation of the foundation in an exciting and innovative way.

What does the future hold for the Foundation for the WA Museum?
Excitement, education, advocacy. An ability to share and bring the community along to enjoy, learn and feel enormously proud of this iconic one and only state-of-the-art museum being built in our city with recognition throughout the international community of arts and culture.

Are there any major career goals you would still like to tick off?
I would love the opportunity to chair an important and recognised organisation to make a difference in the area of children and youth mental health initiatives. It is an additional passion of mine, as I have always had a great love of children and young people.

Do you have any pieces of advice for emerging leaders?
Although you may be the boss, you also need to have the trust and respect of all members of your team, which means open and honest discussions where everyone contributes. Remaining open to new ideas, listening and knowing when to step in and guide your team is also a valuable strength as a leader. You are only as good as your team and colleagues who surround you.

Article reproduced with permission. AIMWA Leader magazine, Fellow Q&A, Chris Thurmott, Issue #12, September 2018

Chair and Board appointees – Foundation for the WA Museum

Former Fortescue Metals Group CEO Nev Power will take over as Chair of the Foundation for the WA Museum Board later this month. Succeeding Justin Mannolini, who has held the role for the past 6 years, Mr Power is looking forward to steering the Foundation in the count-down to the new Museum opening scheduled for late 2020.

From 2011 to 2018, Nev was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, one of the world’s largest, lowest cost producers of iron ore. Fortescue is widely recognised for its unique culture and world class infrastructure and mining assets in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. During his tenure, Fortescue quadrupled its production to over 170 million tonnes per annum and positioned itself as the lowest cost supplier of seaborne iron ore to China.

Mr Power chairs Perth Airport Pty Ltd, the fourth busiest airport in Australia which operates around the clock, 365 days a year, servicing around 14 million passengers per annum as Australia’s western hub and centre for commercial and leisure travel in Western Australia.

Mr Power is keen to contribute to the growth and development of Western Australia and is passionate about the economic and community development of Northern Australia. His belief that we must create the right environment for passion with focus will ensure that his stewardship will support the Foundation to reach its goal of raising $35m for the Discovery Endowment Fund.

This Fund will enable the Museum’s ability to bring international exhibitions to Perth and our branch Museums; WA Maritime Museum, WA Shipwrecks Museum, Museum of Geraldton, Museum of the Goldfields and the Museum of the Great Southern.

Mr Power’s experience and profile at a national and international level will add value to the Board and strengthen the profile of the Foundation. He is keen to contribute to the cultural development of Western Australia through supporting the scientific and historical exhibitions and displays our Museums have to offer.

In accepting the role Mr Power said, “I am very excited to be working with the WA Museum and the Foundation Board to provide the opportunity for WA locals and tourists alike to experience and explore our rich history and insights into the future”.

Outgoing Chair, Justin Mannolini said: “I am delighted that Nev has agreed to take over as Foundation Chair.  His experience in developing and leading high performance teams, coupled with his reputation and profile at a national and international level, will add great value to the Board and enhance the Foundation’s ability to reach its fundraising goal in time for the opening of the New Museum in 2020.”

Also joining the Foundation Board is Michelle Tremain, Managing Partner of PwC Perth.  With more than 24 years’ knowledge and experience, Michelle leads PwC Perth’s National Indirect Taxes practice.  Ms Tremain is also actively involved at a National level as PwC’s national GST Government and Not-for-Profit sector leader.   Michelle has a demonstrated passion for culture and the arts and has been proactive in her personal support for emerging artists in Western Australia.  She is also a current Board Member of the Perth Theatre Trust and sits on the Curtin Business School Advisory Board.

Jenny Allen, CEO, Foundation for the WA Museum said that she was excited by the appointments and looked forward to capitalising on Mr Power and Ms Tremain’s personal and professional networks and corporate reputations to raise the profile and presence of the Foundation and to highlight the supportive work it does for the WA Museum.  “We have been fortunate to have a visionary Chair in Justin Mannolini and I am confident that Nev Power will bring his own leadership style and passion to the role: my team and I are very proud to be working under his leadership. Michelle’s vast experience and involvement with our sector will also contribute significantly to the Foundation’s strategy and governance.”

The Inaugural Minderoo Grant

The introduction of the Foundation for the WA Museum’s inaugural Minderoo Grant, funded from the Discovery Endowment Fund, has generated an excellent response from the WA Museum’s scientists and curators in its inaugural year. Eleven high calibre submissions were received from a wide cross section of Museum research departments with four recipients receiving Grants for key Museum projects which would not otherwise be funded.

The projects selected offer far reaching benefits and represent some of the WA Museum’s diverse disciplines in science, social and cultural knowledge. The successful Minderoo Grants project include:

Mid-Cretaceous vertebrate from the Pillawarra Plateau

Palaeontology fieldwork expedition to find fossil evidence of toothed birds, marine reptiles, shark and rays from the Cretaceous period.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of WAM’s historical, iconic and holotype specimens

Using cutting edge molecular DNA technologies to discover new knowledge on important and iconic biological specimens.


Acquisition of 3D scanner to improve WAM’s Collections conservation abilities and enable 3D digital and tactile access to the public. The 3D capability will provide benefit across a number of Museum teams including Materials Conservation, New Museum, Learning and Creativity, Maritime Archaeology, Anthropology and Archaeology.

Preserving the past – securing the future of the WAM tissue collection

Supporting the Museum to conserve against molecular degradation (RNA and DNA) to one of its most invaluable biological assets – the historical terrestrial vertebrates ultra frozen tissue samples. Many samples within this collection are irreplaceable due to being endangered or extinct and comprise a fraction of the 70,000 tissue samples held by the Museum. Tissue samples are ultra frozen at -80C to preserve them for future decades of genetic research on WA’s diverse terrestrial animals.

The four Minderoo Grant recipients were announced at an event hosted by the Foundation for the WA Museum where the WA Museum awarded its highest honour to philanthropists Andrew and Nicola Forrest for their committed leadership and financial support over many years. The Forrest’s became Fellows of the WA Museum, an accolade awarded to only 17 others over the 127-year history of the Museum, with Nicola Forrest being its first female Fellow.