About Us

Poplar trees leading to the asylum at the Port Arthur Historic Site

Oak Trees at the Port Arthur Historic Site(Credit: PAHSMA (photo by Andrew Ross), 2007)

Social and Environmental Responsibility

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) has long been a champion of sustainable tourism, with visitation of the Historic Site supporting its long-term conservation and interpretation and this in turn leading to increased understanding and appreciation of the need for the conservation of cultural heritage sites.

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Social and cultural benefits

Along the way the Port Arthur Historic Site has become one of Australia’s leading visitor attractions, with more than a quarter of a million visitors to the Site each year. Being in a relatively remote regional area on the Tasman Peninsula, around an hour and a half’s drive from Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, the Port Arthur Historic Site is a major employer and driver of economic activity in the region.

These major social benefits are further enhanced through the support of numerous local community groups and activities as well as the presentation of cultural events which have become a regular feature at the Historic Site and to which local community members enjoy free access.

PAHSMA contributes to the community and is involved in a number of community initiatives and activities, by:

  • Supporting the local economy through employment, procurement and marketing practices
  • Acting in a key role within the local government partnership agreement between State Government and the Tasman Council
  • Participating in the Tasman Economic Development Committee, which advises Council on relevant economic matters, including tourism
  • Maintaining strong relationships with Tasman District School and other schools and colleges to provide educational initiatives, such as work experience and VET program placements
  • Offering free entry to local rate payers
  • Hosting a range of community events at the Site
  • Providing sponsorship, in-kind support and donations to community organisations
  • Presenting the Port Arthur Talks Program, a regular series of seminars open to the public and stakeholders
  • Actively supporting the directions of Tourism Tasmania, regional tourism bodies and local tourism operators
  • Participating in cultural heritage sector initiatives, providing representation on heritage committees and providing advice and support to private owners of local heritage sites.

Environmental benefits

Port Arthur is in a sensitive coastal environment, with much of the surrounding area included in the Tasman National Park. For more than 20 years, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority has operated its own water supply and waste-water treatment system, to reduce the environmental impacts of such high levels of visitation on the local ecosystem. In recent years a number of local businesses have also been connected to these systems, the only reticulated water supply and sewerage treatment systems in the region.

Constant improvement

PAHSMA has commenced a Climate Change Initiatives project which seeks to generate a sense of achievement and pride among staff as they contribute to the global movement to mitigate climate change impacts. Already several staff initiatives have combined to make a significant difference:

  • Polystyrene containers have been banished and paper coffee cups may be the next to go, when a viable alternative is found.
  • During winter the warehouse cool room and freezer are turned off. The small quantity of low-season stock is relocated to the kitchen freezer, saving a significant amount in power consumption and usage costs.
  • In offices, computer monitors, heaters and lights are checked nightly to ensure energy use is minimised outside of work hours and windows are opened in summer to reduce need for air conditioning.
  • In the Gift Shop plastic carry bags have been phased out; visitors are able to purchase a calico bag for $2.
  • Plastic garbage bags are emptied into a larger bag and re-used where possible:
  • Evening display lights have been reduced to one set of lower wattage bulbs;
  • Storeroom lights are switched off at all times unless the store room is in use.
  • Staff are encouraged to print documents double-sided wherever possible.
  • Local food products are sourced wherever possible.  For example potatoes and apples are grown on Site and used in soups, salads and desserts.
  • Wherever possible we support organic or free range product in our cafe and restaurant.

These initiatives are just a start, with energy audits being undertaken to find further ways to reduce energy use at the Historic Site.

PAHSMA fulfils its environmental responsibilities by:

  • addressing a range of issues including water conservation, recycling of waste materials, gardens and grounds management and the building of new infrastructure within primary and secondary management plans
  • operating the region’s only reticulated water supply and offering sewerage treatment services for the Site and a number of other businesses
  • participating in initiatives to improve the provision of sewerage and water services in the region
  • implementing climate change initiatives within the context of the Tasmanian State Government carbon emissions reduction project, and
  • recycling glass, cooking oil, plastics and disposing of other waste in a responsible manner.