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Rottnest Island

Management Plans & Legislation

Rottnest Island Management Plan 2014-19

The Rottnest Island Authority is required by its legislation to manage Rottnest Island in accordance with a 5-year management plan. The (RIMP) 2014-19 has been approved by the Minister for Tourism and was gazetted on 16 December 2014. This management plan replaces the previous RIMP 2009-14. Read more about the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2014-19.

Pinky's Rock


The Rottnest Island Authority administers the management of the Island under the provisions of the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987 and Rottnest Island Regulations. Download a copy of the Rottnest Island Regulations or the Rottnest Island Authority Act from the State Law Publisher.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Rottnest Island Authority is pleased to announce the launch of its Reconciliation Action Plan 2012-2015.

Rottnest Island (known as Wadjemup to Noongar people) is spiritually important to Aboriginal people.

Before sea level change, about 6,700 years ago, Wadjemup was the highest point on the Swan Coastal Plain. Wadjemup was an important traditional place where Aboriginal groups met for ceremony and cultural activity. This early occupation is verified by archaeological evidence.

The Island has significance for all West Australian Aboriginal people today because of its sad history as a Native Prison between 1838 and 1931 when the last prisoner left the Island. Over 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys from throughout the State were sent to Rottnest Island during this period. In the 1830s and 1840s they were predominantly Noongar men from the Swan and Avon Valley regions and the South West. By the 1850s, with the discovery of gold in the Kalgoorlie region, the Wongi peoples were imprisoned on the Island. From the 1860s onwards, over 1000 men from the Pilbara and Kimberley were incarcerated. The prisoners were important men in their language groups as they were the Elders, Loremen and warriors. It is reported that over 370 Aboriginal prisoners died on Rottnest Island. While many deaths were caused by disease and injury, historical records indicate that at least five prisoners were hanged in the gaol.

During their time on the Island Aboriginal prisoners constructed a large number of buildings and other structures including the seawall and lighthouses. Most of the development took place in Thomson Bay. The native prison (known as The Quod) and the Burial Ground, where nearly 400 Aboriginal men are buried in an unmarked grave, are of particular significance to Aboriginal people.

The Rottnest Island Authority recognises the pre- and post-settlement cultural significance of Rottnest Island for Aboriginal people and therefore its position of responsibility to ensure the Island is appropriately managed. The Authority is working closely with Aboriginal people to ensure that its actions and decisions are informed, culturally appropriate, and deliver economic opportunities for Indigenous people through tourism and related activity.

The Rottnest Island Authority has released a Reconciliation Action Plan 2012-2015 to identify the specific actions it will take to achieve improved social and economic outcomes for Indigenous Western Australians.

Marine Management Strategy 

The Marine Management Strategy (MMS) for Rottnest Island was released in 2007 with a main focus of ensuring the unique marine environment of Rottnest Island is preserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy. It was developed with a working group through extensive consultation and community feedback. The main components of the MMS include a zoning plan outlining the additional sanctuary zones that were gazetted in 2007, and emphasise the importance of monitoring, scientific research, education programs, enforcement and compliance.

To view the Marine Management Strategy please click here.

Terrestrial Management Strategy

The Terrestrial Management Strategy was released in 2014 and provides an overarching management direction towards ensuring that the condition and integrity of the flora, fauna, landforms, geology and hydrology of the Island are protected and enhanced where necessary. The objective of the Strategy is to provide for sustainable management of the terrestrial environmental, sustainable recreation and protection of the natural asset on which the Rottnest Island Authority bases its holiday and recreation business.

To view the Terrestrial Management Strategy please click here.

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan

The Rottnest Island Authority has also made a number of commitments to continue to provide and improve services and facilities for people with disabilities, their families and carers. 

A Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017 (DAIP) was adopted in July 2012 and provides a planned approach to progressively improve access to services provided.