INSPIRED: Stunt woman Ky Furneaux is in Rockhampton this week to film surivival stories with Rocky Instincts.
INSPIRED: Stunt woman Ky Furneaux is in Rockhampton this week to film surivival stories with Rocky Instincts. Jann Houley

Hollywood stunt woman inspires young Rocky graduates

KY Furneaux shelters in a tiny courtyard, exploding cars on fire raining down around her, as two people drag her to 'safety' behind a concrete barricade.

Hugh Jackman gives her a wry smile and says: "That was close."

It's a typical day's work for one of the world's best stunt performers who visited Rockhampton this week to spread her message of survival and strength.

As well as X-Men: The Last Stand, you can catch Ms Furneaux's work doubling for Jennifer Garner in Electra, Sharon Stone as Catwoman and Anne Hathaway in Passengers.

She was awarded the Best Female gong in Taurus Stunt Award 2012 (the Oscars of the stunt industry) for her work in Thor as Jaimie Alexander's stunt double.

Best Stunt Performer 2012
Best Stunt Performer 2012 contributed

"The on-set joke went 'I'm tho Thor I can hardly thtand (sic) up'," she said.

But it was how she began in show business which resonates most closely with the young women Ms Furneaux meets as she travels up the Queensland coast, sharing the top 100 things women need to know.

Her 2014 book offers the know-how and confidence to survive in any situation, whether it's fixing a broken heel or staying safe in the city, finding water in the desert, or navigating by the stars.

A car accident left the Australian native with limited mobility at 19 after which the doctors told her she would never be able to play sports or do the majority of the outdoor activities she enjoyed.

"But I was determined to prove him wrong," she said.

Ms Furneaux became an adventure sports leader after being told she's never be mobile following an accident.
Ms Furneaux became an adventure sports leader after being told she's never be mobile following an accident. contributed

After regaining her strength and athletic ability, Ms Furneaux took a job as an outdoor team leader in climbing, rappelling, high ropes, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking with an adventure company.

"Then one day a client said to me: 'You should be a stuntwoman' and I thought it sounded like a good idea," she said.

She underwent extensive fight training in Canada to land movie roles and, more recently, to star in TV and web-based series.

Ms Furneaux produced and co-hosted an epic 100-mile Hike for Survival and spent three weeks Naked and Afraid in a Louisiana swamp infested with alligators, poison ivy and venomous cottonmouth snakes.

She spent February in the Bahamas with nothing but a canvas bag to film another episode of the hit Discovery Channel Show which airs in Australia on Foxtel.

Ms Furneaux was recuperating at home in Melbourne recently after a nasty hamstring tear - "I have four screws in my bum now" - and chatting online with other survivalists around the world when she decided to travel north on her motorcycle.

Ky Furneaux rode from Melbourne to Rockhampton to motivate young women and make a web series with locals
Ky Furneaux rode from Melbourne to Rockhampton to motivate young women and make a web series with locals contributed

She dropped in to Bundaberg to visit a teenage girl who runs a therapy service named Chickens to Love.

"Summer's an extraordinary girl, really inspirational," said Ms Furneaux who interviewed her for Girl Shaped Flames, a web series about arming youngsters with the tools and confidence to achieve their dreams.

Then it was on to Struck Oil outside Rockhampton where the local company Rocky Instincts is based.

Founder Malachi Conway worked in industrial abseiling before he turned to survival training so he and Ms Furneaux have a lot in common.

"We were chatting on Instagram for a while and when we heard Ky was heading our way Jessie [Mr Conway's wife] and I were delighted," he said.

Jessie Conway of Rocky Instincts and Ky Furneaux celebrate the Project Booyah girls' graduation.
Jessie Conway of Rocky Instincts and Ky Furneaux celebrate the Project Booyah girls' graduation. Jann Houley

Ms Furneaux joined with the Conways in training local students of Project Booyah, who graduated on Thursday.

"We believe this next generation is the one which can save our outdoors if we can just get to love it and take care of it," she said.

Rocky Instincts and Ms Furneaux were on hand to congratulate the nine young women whom they introduced to a range of traditional skills during a recent camp.

"We learned about knives and fires, traps and knots... and we caught a bush turkey," one graduate said.

They have also also been filming, editing and producing 10 episodes of a web-based series called Being Human, shot around Rockhampton, which will air on YouTube and their websites on Tuesday.

"The message I want to put out there, for young girls especially, is you can be both strong and feminine," Ms Furneaux said.

"We have no limits except ourselves."



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