The Australian Convict Sites World Heritage PropertyHeritage Values
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 were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010.
Consisting of eleven sites spread throughout Australia in Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and on Norfolk Island, the Australian Convict Sites tell 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.
Community Advisory Committee
Cascades Female Factory Community Advisory Committee
The Purpose of the Community Advisory Committee is to improve the involvement and support of the local community in the management and conservation of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site as well as:
- To promote the exchange of information about, and raise awareness of, issues involving the local community and PAHSMA that involve the management and conservation of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site.
- To facilitate communication between the Authority and the local community, and to provide a forum to exchange information relevant to PAHSMA issues and local community views and concerns.
- To give the local community an avenue to formally discuss local issues and to work towards identifying and resolving local concerns.
- To provide a mechanism, including helping to source funding, for the active participation of the local community in conservation and tourism actions and activities associated with the Historic Site.
- To provide a forum in which to allow all committee members to express the views and opinions of their representative groups.
The Port Arthur Historic Sites are at the forefront of Australian heritage management practice.
A program of professional conservation management was established at the Port Arthur Historic Site in 1980; this was the first in Tasmania and one of the first in the country. This program established cooperative relationships between archaeology, interpretation, architecture and engineering at Port Arthur.
We continue this today with our team of conservation professionals and trades staff who are responsible for planning and carrying out the ongoing heritage and infrastructure works that are essential if the Port Arthur, Cascades Female Factory, and Coal Mines Historic Sites are to be conserved and protected for future generations.
Conservation of the sites is guided by a series of plans and management processes, covering activities such as interpretation, archaeology, collections and landscape management. Selected management plans are available from our publications page.
The archaeological value of the Port Arthur Historic Sites are found in the structures, deposits, objects and cultural landscapes that connect living communities with the sites’ pasts.
Through archaeology a range of past meanings for each place and its setting can be rediscovered and shared.
Archaeological research at the historic sites focuses primarily on convict-related topics, however Aboriginal and post-convict archaeological values of the sites are also acknowledged and managed.
Buildings and Works
One of the important ways our Conservation staff protect the heritage values of the Port Arthur Historic Sites is through the conservation of standing historic structures and the management of supporting infrastructure.
Much of this is done through the skills of our Buildings and Works Crew. Tasks include the initiation and implementation of large work projects, and ongoing minor and maintenance works programs.
Initiatives such as technical workshops, and promotion and use of traditional building methods allow us to work with the broader conservation area and Tasmanian community.
The majority of the collection material relating to the Cascades Female Factory is associated with archaeological excavations carried out on the site during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Some of this material is exhibited on site, with the remainder being housed in our collection facility at the Port Arthur Historic Site.
More recently PAHSMA on behalf of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site accepted a donation from the Burnie Emu Bay Lions Club – a book inscribed with handwriting believed to be that of convict Hannah Barker, you can see this fabulous artefact on display in our Visitor Centre.
Our historic collections database is not currently open to public access. If you are researching convict artefacts or your interest lies in historic images we will do our best to help. Please contact us.
Grounds and Gardens
Our conservation staff, and particularly the Grounds and Gardens crew, manage all conservation values and infrastructure requirements associated with the landscape, gardens, plantings and environment of the historic sites.
Today the grounds and gardens and bushland of the sites are among the more remarked aspects of our historic landscapes.
At the Port Arthur Historic Site visitors are able to enjoy a range of features – from reconstructed 1850s gardens, through to flower and vegetable gardens of the early 20th century.
In contrast, the bushland of the Coal Mines Historic Site provides a thought-provoking setting for the ruins and relics of the ambitious and harsh convict mining endeavour that took place there.
Gardens at the Cascades Female Factory are modest in scale, but significant.
Our interpretation of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site aims to meet the needs and expectations of visitors by offering a layered approach.
The Heritage Tour provides a basic overview of the main messages of the site and its complex and layered history. Visitors can find out more through participation in our site tours or by taking part in ‘Her Story’. We encourage visitors to also contemplate the site in their own time accompanied by our Visitor Guide publication.
Our recently completed landscaping and installations in both Yards 1 and 4 offer our Visitors an opportunity to visualise the spaces and structures that once existed within the tall factory walls as well as begin to learn about the individuals who lived and worked in the convict system.
Our interpretation is based on sound, contemporary and scholarly research and encompasses historic activities, structures, places and landscapes. It includes a regular program of audience research in order to ensure we continue to offer the best experiences for visitors.