The last financial year saw many significant developments and advances for the Tasmanian tourist attraction, along with a sound financial outcome and strong visitation despite the challenges arising from the global financial situation of the past two years.
Perhaps the highest profile conservation achievement was the commencement of a further stage of the Separate Prison Conservation Project after securing funding of $900,000 through the Jobs Creation Program. However many other conservation and interpretation projects were undertaken through the year, including commencement of a major project of stabilisation works on the Penitentiary, initiation of a conservation plan for the WWI Memorial Avenue, the establishment of a community sub-committee for the development of the Coal Mines Historic Site master plan and the launch of a new publication, The Career of William Thompson, Convict.
A range of major corporate projects were undertaken, including a tender process for the Port Arthur Cruises/PAHSMA ferry contract for the next decade, completing a Site and Market Appraisal and subsequent Tender Project for the Port Arthur (Garden Point) Caravan Park and restructuring and implementing the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority employment award. PAHSMA continued its involvement with the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Nomination, including hosting visits by international assessors.
PAHSMA undertook a number of steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including a review of heating in the heritage buildings on Site.
PAHSMA’s marketing was boosted through implementation of a new marketing communications strategy, including new print and television advertisements, the launch of a new website and adoption of inbound marketing strategies including two Facebook pages and a Twitter page.
PAHSMA continued to recognise the importance of the local community and supported local initiatives such as convening the bi-monthly Port Arthur Talks Program, working closely with the Tasman Council on a number of mutual initiatives and providing assistance and advice on both conservation and tourism to local residents and businesses.
PAHSMA also provided significant support for the Tasman District School, hosted a number of community events on Site, gave financial and in-kind support to many local clubs and organisations, provided free entry to local residents and continued its ongoing support of regional tourism. The Authority also provided work experience to vocational education and training students and all Tasman District School’s Year 9 students and delivered two Pre-employment training courses on Site.
The efforts of PAHSMA’s team were recognised through a number of Awards, including the 2009 The Australian Newspaper Travel and Tourism Award in the Best Heritage Tourism category and the 2010 Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards – Best Heritage Tourism category. Conservation and interpretation work on the Separate Prison was awarded the 2009 Australian Institute of Architects (Tasmanian Chapter) Heritage Award (awarded to architects Tonkin Zuleikha Greer).
The details were contained in the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority’s Annual Report for 2009-10, which was tabled in Parliament recently.
“These are exceptional results, ranging across the full spectrum of performance indicators and corporate objectives,” said PAHSMA CEO, Stephen Large.
“While overall visitor numbers were not quite as high as in the previous couple of years, the Authority has done very well given the delayed impact of the global economic crisis on visitation to Tasmania.”
“The tourism industry is facing challenges at all over Australia and around the world at present,” said Mr Large. “PAHSMA is responding to those challenges by adhering to its carefully developed plans and taking steps to capitalise on every opportunity offered by its recent World Heritage listing.”
“These excellent outcomes have been achieved through the hard work and diligence of the entire team at Port Arthur, and I would like to express my thanks and congratulations to the Board, management and staff of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority for this exceptional result.”
“Port Arthur and the Coal Mines are incredible cultural heritage assets for Tasmania and Australia and we take the responsibility vested in us to manage them on behalf of all Tasmanians very seriously.”
The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority’s Annual Reports are available for download