Proposed extension of Port Arthur Historic Site heritage listing

April 15, 2008

The Tasmanian Heritage Register entry for the Port Arthur Historic Site is being updated. The proposed amendment incorporates a considerable amount of new information about the history and significance of the site that has come to light since the original registration in March 1998.

Port Arthur Historic Site was added to the National Heritage List in 2007 and it is one of the six convict sites in Tasmania included in the ‘Australian Convict Sites’ nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List in January 2008.

The existing entry in the Tasmanian Heritage Register includes:

  1. the main penal settlement at Mason Cove including the Dockyards Precinct and buffers of native forest between the settlement and surrounding freehold land,
  2. the Point Puer boys prison,
  3. the narrow connecting coastal strip between the Mason Cove Settlement and Point Puer, incorporating Brick Point,
  4. the Isle of the Dead, and
  5. the land parcel containing the Garden Point Caravan Park.

It is proposed that the amended entry will be renamed ‘Port Arthur Penal Settlement’ and that the boundary will be extended to take in the sea and sea floor of Mason Cove and Carnarvon Bay. This boundary adjustment will not affect private land.

Carnarvon Bay and Mason Cove provided the original transport route to the penal settlement. They contain structural evidence of early transport systems including the Mason Cove wharves and numerous jetty structures around Carnarvon Bay, which was itself a major anchorage for ships. There are also slipways and structures associated with the historic dockyards, as well as artefacts that were jettisoned or lost overboard.
The modern recreational jetties along the southwest side of Carnarvon Bay are not considered to be of any heritage value. Normal recreational use and maintenance of the jetties will not be affected by the amended registration.

Existing moorings close to these recreational jetties will not be affected, and the provision of new or replacement moorings and new or replacement jetties will be possible so long as they avoid any known archaeological features.

Removal or disturbance of historical archaeological material within the area will not be allowed. In order to protect this material, future restrictions may be placed on diving and the anchorage of larger vessels within the area.

The amendment also removes the land parcel containing the Garden Point Caravan Park from the THR entry.

Public submissions close on 17 May 2008.