A year of progress on many fronts for the Port Arthur Historic Sites

December 17, 2014

The 2013-14 year has been a period of significant progress for the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA).

PAHSMA Chair, Professor Sharon Sullivan, named the recovery from the effects of the 2013 bushfire disaster, a massive project to restabilise the Penitentiary, the dramatic increase in Chinese visitation, a new pontoon for cruise ships and substantial progress at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site as just some of the highlights of what has been a very productive period for the Authority.

“The biggest challenge facing PAHSMA has been the re-stabilisation of the Penitentiary, a project that, based on professional engineering advice, needed to be completed as a matter of urgency,”: said Professor Sullivan at the Authority’s final Board Meeting for the year.

“Financial assistance from both the State and Federal Governments along with continued strong visitor numbers and revenue enabled commencement of the project, which is nearing completion, and will be open again to visitors from this weekend.”

“The Port Arthur Historic Site achieved an 18% increase in visitor numbers over the previous year, which was impacted by the bushfires, but importantly it was a similar increase on the 2011–12 result.”

“The dramatic increase in Chinese visitors coming to the Port Arthur Historic Site is also a very pleasing outcome for PAHSMA’s long-term engagement with that market and investment in providing a quality visitor experience to Chinese visitors.”

As the State’s only tourism government business enterprise PAHSMA is committed to making a positive difference in Tasmania.

“The Port Arthur Historic Sites plays a significant role in attracting visitors to the State and encouraging regional dispersal. From an environmental and community perspective PAHSMA’s commitment to conserve and preserve these sites guarantees they will remain for future generations.”

PAHSMA contributes to the economy, having directly employed 126 staff during the period and also engaging many local contractors to supply services and utilising local produce in the visitor centre and in food and beverage outlets wherever possible.

The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site broke visitation records, with 22,999 paying visitors during the year, which also saw the introduction of a $5 site entry fee that raised $40,935. The visitor experience continued to be developed, with the completion of the Yard 1 interpretation works and the Matron’s Quarters Conservation Project. The Heritage Tour saw a 97% increase in numbers whilst Her Story had an increase of 31%.
These and many other achievements are detailed in PAHSMA’s Annual Report for 2013-14.

The Report is available for download.

Conservation works on Port Arthur's Penitentiary are nearly finished; visitors will have access to the Penitentiary from this Saturday, 20 December

Conservation works on Port Arthur’s Penitentiary are nearly finished; visitors will have access to the Penitentiary from this Saturday, 20 December

One of the large yet elegant beams with its 'gecko' grip on the original walls

One of the large yet elegant beams with its ‘gecko’ grip on the original walls

New internal vistas have been opened up and the structure of the internal walls has been revealed

New internal vistas have been opened up and the structure of the internal walls has been revealed

On the ground floor, interpretive installation shows the location of former cells

On the ground floor, interpretive installation shows the location of former cells