The Tasmanian Government understands the importance of protecting our heritage values.

On 31 July 2020, the Tasmanian sites included in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property will mark the 10th anniversary of their inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Tasmania is an historic place and an important convict landscape. Much of our grand public buildings, private farming estates, early roads, bridges and other infrastructure was built using convict labour. This legacy connects us to the global story of the forced migration of male, female and children convicts, and appeals to locals and visitors alike.

On 31 July 2010, after many years of research and deliberation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil made a decision to inscribe the Australian Convict Sites on the World Heritage List. This listing brought together 11 sites, spread over four jurisdictions, which together help to tell Australia’s convict story.

The Tasmanian convict sites included in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property are:

  • Brickendon-Woolmers Estates, Longford (1820–50s);
  • Darlington Probation Station, Maria Island National Park (1825–32 and 1842–50);
  • Cascades Female Factory, South Hobart (1828–56);
  • Port Arthur Historic Site, Port Arthur (1830–77); and
  • the Coal Mines Historic Site, Norfolk Bay (1833–48)

Between 1788 and 1868, more than 160,000 convicts arrived in Australia from Britain, and these historic sites are a physical representation of forced migration and the ideas and practices used to punish and reform convicts in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the probation (Darlington) and assignment systems (Brickendon-Woolmers), female factories (Cascades), harsh worksites (Coal Mines) and penal settlements (Port Arthur).

To help mark this milestone, the Australian Convict Sites Steering Committee (ACSSC) has launched a series of videos, providing the opportunity to gain further understanding and insight into the importance of these places and our convict past.

These videos and information on the Australian Convict Sites are available at www.australianconvictsites.org.au

I would like to acknowledge the hard-working site managers who assist us to share and celebrate Tasmania’s unique convict legacy.

Now that Tasmanians are able to explore our beautiful and historic island state again as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, I encourage people to visit and re-connect with our fascinating historic sites and the legacy of previous generations.

The Tasmanian Government acknowledges the assistance of the Sydney Living Museums in providing some of this content.

Elise Archer, Minister for Heritage