King Island Maritime Trail: Shipwrecks and Safe Havens

The treacherous waters of Bass Strait have claimed hundreds of ships and more than a thousand lives. It’s a major part of King Island’s history, and visitors can learn about it through a series of panels along a drive trail right around the island.

Many of the sites require some effort to reach, and the interpretation panels reward visitors with ample content, drawn from research by marine archaeologist Mike Nash. It seemed to be selling visitors short to stick to the current interpretive practice of short, snappy text.

The second half of this interpretation project is a booklet that functions as a navigation aid. Rather than replicate the panel content — which would frustrate visitors who drove for an hour only to read the same material that they already had in hand — the booklet employs different content. It even contains a quiz, with the answers only available on the interpretation panels.

A linking device across panels and booklet, the identity for the trail depicts a rescue scene from one of the illustrated newspapers of the time, with the ever-present surf roiling in the background.

Writing and design: Julie Hawkins