A bid to include Port Arthur on the World Heritage List received a boost this week with its addition to a prestigous register of national treasures.
Port Arthur joins eight other Australian sites on the National Heritage List and there is great anticipation that it could now go to the next stage and gain world heritage listing.
However, the process could take some time because of higher expectations of the World Heritage Committee.
Port Arthur is the first Tasmanian site to be included on the National Heritage Llist which now features nine places of exceptional natural and cultural heritage in Australia.
It joins the Eureka Stockade and the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park in Victoria, Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building and Mawson’s Huts and Mawson’s Huts Historic Site on the National Heritage List.
Also included is the Kurnell Peninsula in New South Wales, the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument in Queensland, and the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscapes in the Tyrendarra and Mt Eccles-Lake Condah areas of Victoria.
Port Arthur is first convict site in Australia to be listed – a recognition of its significance in the development of the nation.
Port Arthur is regarded as an integral part of the story of Australian convictism and is one of the best preserved sites of its type in the country.
The intactness of the penal settlement shows how convicts were treated and processed and how they helped to shape the nation.
Parks and Heritage Minister Judy Jackson paid tribute to Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority board and staff for developing the site to the high standard required for nomination to the National Heritage List.
Port Arthur was included on the National Estate in 1978.
Port Arthur remains one of Tasmania’s premier tourist attractions and since the State Government commenced five-year funding programs in 2000, daytime visitor numbers at the historic site have increased by 35 per cent and the popularity of the night-time ghost tours had grown by 32 per cent.
The Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, described the Port Arthur historic site in Tasmania as one of enormous international significance.