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World Heritage Centre focus on historic site

14/02/2007

The Port Arthur chapter in Australia’s convict story was highlighted this week to a high-level delegation from the World Heritage Centre.

Director Francesco Bandarin and Mr Giovanni Boccardi, the chief of the WHC’s Asia and Pacific Unit, toured the historic site on Tuesday with an entourage of government representatives, PAHSMA chair Barry Jones, Port Arthur Historic Site CEO Stephen Large and PAHSMA staff.

Port Arthur Historic Site is among five Tasmanian and 11 national convict sites to be nominated for World Heritage Listing.

Mr Bandarin and Mr Boccardi were clearly impressed with the site and their informal tour gave them an appreciation of why Port Arthur has been selected in the joint Tasmanian nomination.

The other Tasmanian sites are the Tasman Peninsula Coal Mines Historic Site, the Cascades Female Factory at South Hobart, the Woolmers and Brickendon sites at Longford and the Darlington probation station on Maria Island.

Mr Bandarin acknowledged there was “a lot to value” at Port Arthur.

“This is a very interesting case,” he said.

“It is not just a memory. The human side is very important. [This place] represents an episode of human suffering and redemption.”

Mr Bandarin said the nomination would go through a series of evaluations.

“It is important to me to have a look in terms of values,’ he said.

Barry Jones likened World Heritage Listing to winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games or the Nobel prize.

He said Port Arthur was a place of extraordinary beauty and its nomination among the national convict sites highlighted its significance.

He is confident the nomination will be successful.

“Three states – Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia - and the territory of Norfolk Island are working with the Commonwealth to put the nomination in,” he said.

“It draws attention to the fact that a country like Australia has developed into a robust nation despite its beginnings.”

Among the other convict sites on the serial nomination are Norfolk Island, Fremantle Prison, Old Government House and part of the Domain at Parramatta.

After the nomination is finalised and then submitted for consideration by 1
February, 2008, the sites will then be visited and assessed by the World Heritage technical advisory body.

The earliest a decision is expected is mid 2009.

World Heritage Centre focus on historic site

Jo Lyngcoln provides information at the separate prison

World Heritage Centre focus on historic site

Greg Jackman discusses conservation techniques with Giovanni Boccardi

World Heritage Centre focus on historic site

Francesco Bandarin and Barry Jones with the media

World Heritage Centre focus on historic site

Barry Jones and Francesco Bandarin