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Conservation volunteers conserve Tasmania's convict heritage


A group of international volunteers has been working to conserve a part of Tasmania’s convict heritage.

The project involved the careful dismantling, recovery and recording of an abandoned boat slip at Saltwater River on the Tasman Peninsula.

The boat slip, which was built during the 1950s, incorporated a lot of recycled material, much of it coming from local convict era structures. A convict Probation Station and farm operated at Saltwater River from 1841 until the 1870s.

The boatshed, which had been derelict for many years collapsed in a storm last winter. The structure was not able to be repaired, and the floating debris was considered to pose a potential marine hazard.

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority received approval to remove the collapsed structure and recover convict-period fabric for further conservation. The most historically significant elements include sections of iron tram rail and chairs originally introduced to the peninsula convict stations in the 1850s.

A group from Conservation Volunteers Australia has been carrying out the recovery work under the oversight of the PAHSMA. The volunteers from the UK, Korea and Japan, are in Australia for up to 20 weeks working on a range of environmental and heritage projects. Over the past week they have systematically dismantled the collapsed structure, carefully recording every piece individually as well as their structural relationships.

Convict period material recovered by the CVA team will be stored at Port Arthur following conservation treatment.

More information on PAHSMA's Conservation Program is available on our website

Conservation volunteers conserve Tasmania

The abandoned boat shed at Saltwater River

Conservation volunteers conserve Tasmania

The shed was systematically dismantled

Conservation volunteers conserve Tasmania

Components were then carefully recorded and salvaged

Conservation volunteers conserve Tasmania

The Conservation Volunteers at work on the project