Richard (Dick) Murray Fowler was born in South Australia and educated at the Prince Alfred College, Adelaide. He married Iola Woods of Flinders Island in 1941. They took up farming in the Memana area on Flinders Island. In 1965 RM Fowler established the Furneaux Historical Research Association with a collection housed at 'Dryazell' on his property at Emita. After his death in 1969 his widow gave the museum and the land to the Flinders Island community.