A World Heritage Site

The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site is one of 11 convict sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. Collectively these sites represent an exceptional example of the forced migration of convicts and an extraordinary example of global developments associated with punishment and reform.

Representing the female convict experience, the Cascades Female Factory demonstrates how transportation was used to expand Britain’s spheres of influence, and ultimately led to building the Australian nation as we know it today

The Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) is proud that the Port Arthur, Coal Mines and Cascades Female Factory Historic Sites are among eleven historic places that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.

The Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010. This page has links to all sites, and you can download a guidebook to the five Tasmanian World Heritage Convict Sites.

Consisting of eleven sites spread throughout Australia in Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and on Norfolk Island, the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property tells the epic story of Australia’s convict heritage.

Each site in the Property represents a different aspect of the convict system and are the most significant examples in Australia’s history of forced migration. Almost half of the Sites in the inscription are in Tasmania.

For technical reasons, Woolmers and Brickendon Estates are included as a single site but in reality they are two separate properties, which although adjacent, each offer their own unique visitor experience.

The Sites

 Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman Peninsula TAS

Port Arthur was established in the 1830s as a penal settlement. It remains a physical chronicle of a dramatic part of Australia’s history. Its 60 or so buildings and picturesque landscape offer visitors a challenging mix of both beauty and horror and have helped the site to become Tasmania’s most popular tourist destination.

Coal Mines Historic Site, Tasman Peninsula, TAS

The Coal Mines Historic Site is outstanding for its insight into Australia’s convict history and the use of convicts as a cheap source of labour for the exploitation of local resources. Today the mine shafts are evident as circular depressions in the landscape, and 18 damp dark alternating solitary cells convey the grim harshness of Australia’s convict history.

Cascades Female Factory, South Hobart TAS

The Cascades Female Factory was a self-contained, purpose-built institution intended to reform female convicts, where the inmates did laundry and needlework services, offsetting some of the colony’s penal costs.

Darlington Probation Station, Maria Island TAS

Darlington Precinct, located on Maria Island off the east coast of Tasmania, offers a glimpse into our convict past and the probation system that was unique to Tasmania.

Brickendon Estate, Longford, TAS

Woolmers Estate, Longford TAS

Brickendon and Woolmers Estates were private farms that utilised assigned convicts, both male and female, who worked largely in agricultural jobs and contributed to the development of Tasmania’s pastoral industry.

Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, Norfolk Island

The Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), on Norfolk Island, is of outstanding significance to the nation as a convict settlement spanning the era of transportation to eastern Australia between 1788-1855.

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney NSW

Hyde Park Barracks is Australia’s first government-built convict barracks, and the only remaining barracks building and complex from the Macquarie era of convict administration.

Old Government House, Parramatta NSW

Old Government House is Australia’s oldest intact former vice-regal residence and was the residence and offices of 12 prominent governors of New South Wales, from 1788-1856.

 Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

Cockatoo Island is significant as a site that includes the only remaining dry dock in Australia built using convict labour, as well as buildings and fabric related to the administration, incarceration and working conditions of convicts.

Old Great North Road, near Wisemans Ferry NSW

The Old Great North Road is a nationally significant example of major public infrastructure developed using convict labour.

Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, WA

A striking landmark on a small hill, Fremantle Prison is a physical reminder of the contribution made by Australia’s convicts to building this nation.

More information

Nomination documents

Download all or parts of the World Heritage Nomination for the Australian Convict Sites.

Heritage Tasmania

The Heritage Tasmania website has a useful overview of the listing, with a focus on the Tasmanian sites and their significance.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

This Federal Government agency oversaw the nomination process. Its website has many resources and further details of each of the Australian Convict Sites.

World Heritage Committee of UNESCO

The Committee met in Brasilia in August 2010, and inscribed the Australian Convict Sites onto the World Heritage Register. The brief description on its website discusses the outstanding universal value for which the Site has been inscribed.