Convict sites nominated for World Heritage listing

January 30, 2008

Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority and DTAE staff are celebrating the official nomination of five Tasmanian convict sites for World Heritage listing as part of 11 in all from Australia.

Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority chief executive Stephen Large said they were thrilled the nomination had been completed and is on its way to Paris, a vital stage in securing world heritage recognition for Tasmania’s convict heritage.

The nomination document has been sent to meet the international World Heritage Committee’s 1 February deadline.

The World Heritage nominated sites in Tasmania are:

  • Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Penisula
  • Coal Mines Historic Site on the Tasman Penisula
  • Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart
  • Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island
  • The combined rural properties of Brickendon and Woolmers at Longford

The acting Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Michael Aird, today welcomed the submissions, which recognise the outstanding value of convict heritage sites in Australia.

“These convict sites are an outstanding part of the rich cultural and natural heritage of this state and an integral part of the story of Australia’s convict history,” Mr Aird said.

The convict heritage site nomination dossier is the result of extensive work during the last 10 years by many department staff, site owners and managers.

Tasmania is part of the federally led nomination team, which includes the governments of New South Wales, Norfolk Island, and Western Australia.

The dossier will be examined by UNESCO before assessment by an expert advisory body – ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

ICOMOS will visit the sites as part of its evaluation and provide an expert analysis to the World Heritage Committee.

A final World Heritage Committee decision is expected in mid-2009.

The World Heritage List contains natural and cultural sites that demonstrate outstanding and continuing importance on a global scale with the objective to ensure they are protected for future generations.

Tasmania’s Aboriginal and natural heritage is already recognised and inscribed on the World Heritage List, as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Port Arthur and the Coal Mines on the Tasman Peninsula tell the well known story of harsh punishment and reform of convicts.

The Cascade Female Factory at South Hobart represents the important history of the female convicts sent to Australia.

Darlington on Maria Island is an example of the ‘probation system’, where convicts were placed in a reform system.

The Brickendon and Woolmers properties outside Longford are excellently conserved examples from the assignment system, and represent the main experience of the majority of convicts as assignee labourers to private land owners.