Minister for Heritage, Brian Wightman MP, today officially opened the new jetty on the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur, facilitating access for around 23,000 visitors who tour the island each year.
The new jetty replaces one that was more than 30 years old and incorporates a number of features designed to reduce environmental and heritage impacts on the World Heritage-listed site, as well as improving safety.
“Not only had the old jetty deteriorated and become difficult to use in rough weather, it was also quite short, with propeller wash causing disturbance of the inshore seabed,” said the Minister. “The new jetty is longer, reducing these impacts. It is also one metre higher to allow for storm surge and tidal change.”
“The heritage values of the Site are also protected, with the new structure scarcely visible from the shore at Port Arthur due to its careful alignment and the selection of materials.”
The Isle of the Dead is located a kilometre across Mason Cove at the Port Arthur Historic Site. Between 1833 and 1877, around one thousand burials took place on the island. These included convicts and free settlers; women, children, military, clergy and even the remains of sailors shipwrecked on the coast. It is visited daily by guided tours operated by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA).
The jetty was designed by Noel Carroll of Tasmania-based engineering firm Pitt & Sherry, with project management by Rod Cooper from the PAHSMA’s Conservation and Infrastructure team. Construction of the jetty was undertaken by Tasmanian Marine Construction with associated works completed by PAHSMA’s Buildings and Gardens crews. The project was funded by PAHSMA.
The Minister joined PAHSMA staff, board members and jetty contractors for a celebratory harbour cruise to mark the end of a challenging but successful year.
“PAHSMA has risen to the challenges of a very difficult winter season and global financial turmoil,” said Minister Wightman.
“Its leadership position in Tasmania’s heritage and tourism industries was acknowledged recently when the Port Arthur Historic Site was named Tasmania’s best Major Attraction in the Tasmanian Tourism Awards.”
“I congratulate PAHSMA on its success, and wish it, and all tourism operators, a bumper summer season.”