Australia Convict Sites: World Heritage

Australian Convict Sites
The properties includes a selection of 11 penal convict sites, among the thousands established by the British Empire on Australian soil in the 18th and 19th centuries.

They are located on the fertile coastal strip from which the Aboriginal peoples were then forced back, mainly around Sydney and in Tasmania, as well as on Norfolk Island and in Fremantle.

They housed tens of thousands of men, women and children condemned by British justice to transportation to the convict colonies. Each of the sites had a specific purpose, in terms both of punitive imprisonment and of rehabilitation through forced labour to help build the colony.

The Convict Sites presents the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.

The Convict sites are:

  • Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (Norfolk Island)
  • Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta New South Wales)
  • Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney New South Wales)
  • Brickendon–Woolmers Estates (Tasmania)
  • Darlington Probation Station, (Tasmania)
  • Old Great North Road (New South Wales)
  • Cascades Female Factory (Tasmania)
  • Port Arthur Historic Site (Tasmania)
  • Coal Mines Historic Site (Tasmania)
  • Cockatoo Island Convict Site (New South Wales)
  • Fremantle Prison (Western Australia)

Australian Convict Sites

There are 11 convict sites (known as the Australian Convict Sites) that make up Australia’s World Heritage. The sites are:

  • New South Wales: Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta), Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney), Cockatoo Island Convict Site (Sydney) and Old Great North Road (near Wiseman’s Ferry).
  • Norfolk Island: Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).
  • Tasmania: Port Arthur Historic Site (Tasman Peninsula), Cascades Female Factory (Hobart), Darlington Probation Station (Maria Island), Coal Mines Historic Site (via Premadeyna) and Brickendon-Woolmers Estates (near Longford).
  • Western Australia: Fremantle Prison.

The Australian Convict Sites were listed under criteria (iv) and (vi) under the UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention  for its outstanding global significance.

In July 2010 the World Heritage Convention’s announced that Kingston and Arthurs Vale on Norfolk Island and the other 10 Australian convict sites to be listed on the World Heritage List.

Contact Heritage Tourism for KAVHA tour details

Chain Gang – Convicts

As many as 50,000 convicts transported to New South Wales from around the old British Empire spent some time at the Barracks.

Based at the Barracks, they provided the labour and skills that built the colony. Later the old building was a temporary home for thousands of female immigrants and infirm or destitute women. By the turn of the 20th century its rooms and corridors echoed to the sound of lawyers, clerks and a range of public servants working at a variety of jobs from providing law courts to public services like the vaccine institute and government printer. Today it is a museum of its own history and a window into our past.

Today it is a museum of its own history and a window into our past.


Things To Do in Greater Port Macquarie NSW

With something for every week of the year, Greater Port Macquarie has ideas on tours and attractions in this diverse and beautiful region of NSW.

Perfect for return visitors, and families booking longer stays, the listing will challenge any notion – or whining from the kids on a grey day – that Port may be short on things to do.

“Greater Port Macquarie is far more diverse then people realise and has lots of new tours and unique things to do, especially in the hinterland,”

“When visitors come to Port they hit the beaches and relax, but research says ‘74% of them plan to explore and tour the region”

Some of the ideas include:

  • Port Macquarie Hastings Heritage Walking Tours.
  • Take a Coast and Country Trike Tour on a three-wheeler Harley.
  • Join a Pub-Ride on horse-back at Bellrowan Valley.
  • Learn about convict history and sites.

Greater Port Macquarie is a 4.5 hour’s drive north of Sydney and is serviced by regular Qantaslink, Brindabella Airlines and Virgin Blue flights.

Tasmania at its Best

Tasmania’s historic past is no dead and dusty creature – it’s a living, breathing spirit that reaches out from its place in time, everywhere you tread.

The fascinating convict heritage lives on, not just in the penal settlements and convict-built towns, but in the communities of descendants that continue to live on the island.

Thousands of years before Europeans first came ashore, Tasmanian Aborigines were the state’ sole inhabitants. A number of significant historic Aboriginal sites are visible today, predominantly in the north-east of the island.

From its position on the edge of the great Southern Ocean Tasmania has rich maritime heritage: with colourful wharves, bustling fishing towns, and a strong marine science community working to manage this extraordinary resource.

Named after the British statesman Lord Robert Hobart, Hobart Town became the capital of Tasmania in 1825 and was chartered as a city in 1857. Convict Transportation ceased in 1853, after more than 74,000 convicts had been sent to the island. The still-fledgling colony’s parliament changed the name to Tasmania in 1856.

From dense cool climate rainforests to craggy mountain peaks, Tasmania’s diverse wilderness sets it apart.

Surveyor George Frankland named many of the mountains and lakes in the park. Lake St Clair was named after a Scottish family in 1835 (The lake’s Aboriginal name ‘Leeawuleena’ means ‘sleeping water’), but inspired by Greek mythology, Frankland also named Mounts Olympus, Ida, Pelion and Rufus.

During the 1890s a rail route from Hobart to the west coast, between Pelion Creek and Frog Flats, was cut. The rail line never eventuated but miners walking from Deloraine to Rosebery and drovers used it for many years. Today it forms part of the Overland Track.

Austrian Gustav Weindorfer climbed Cradle Mountain in 1910. Both Gustav and his Victorian wife, Kate, were pioneering conservationists of the region. In 1922 the Weindorfer’s cri de coeur was heard and 158,000 acres was proclaimed a ‘Scenic Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary’. In 1982 the park was placed on the World Heritage list, along with the Southwest and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Parks.

Deloraine has been classified by the National Trust as a town of historical significance with building dated back to the 1830’s. Visit the growing number of local antique and brickabrac shops.

Check out some Hobart Tours