World Heritage Areas
Tasmania's unique wilderness and five of Tasmania's historic convict sites are listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as worthy of World Heritage Listing in recognition of their outstanding natural or cultural importance to the common heritage of humanity.
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
In December 1982, the World Heritage Committee included the Western Tasmanian Wilderness National Parks into the World Heritage List. In 1989 this was expanded to encompass around 1.4 million hectares - almost a fifth of the total area of the State.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area consists of part of a chain of six national parks and a number of reserves and conservation areas and covers coast, islands, rivers, peaks, valleys and button grass plains of almost indescribable beauty and remoteness.
It's also the world's largest tract of temperate rainforest set aside from 'modern life', where an escape from all forms of communication is possible within a few kilometres of your embarkation point.
Tasmania's compelling convict heritage is also officially recognised as worthy of world heritage listing.
In July 2010, a total of 11 Australian convict sites were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, five of which are found in Tasmania. The sites are recognised as "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts".
The Tasmanian sites are Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula; the Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart; Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island; and Woolmers and Brickendon Estates near Longford.
Brickendon is one of Tasmania's oldest farming properties, settled in 1824 by William Archer. The farm has been continuously operated and lived on by his direct descendents, now in their 7th generation. In July 2010, Brickendon Estate, along with its neighbouring property Woolmers Estate, were listed jointly as a World Heritage Site being part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. More on Brickendon...
Woolmers Estate (1820-50s)
Woolmers and Brickendon are two neighbouring estates located in northern Tasmania, where convicts were assigned to 'private masters' to undertake agricultural work. The estates operated as large farming properties with convict labour from the early 1820s until the 1850s. More on Woolmers...
Darlington Probation Station (1825-32; 1842-50)
Darlington Probation Station, located in Maria Island National Park off Tasmania's east coast, initially functioned as a convict station and later as a probation station for male convicts. Darlington is the most representative and intact example of a probation station in Australia with 14 convict buildings and substantial ruins in a layout that reflects the key features of the probation system in Van Diemen's Land. More on Darlington Probation Station...
Cascades Female Factory (1828-56)
The Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart was separated and hidden from the main colony, yet played a pivotal role in the penal transportation system. Approximately 25,000 female convicts were transported to Australia, comprising only 15 to 17 per cent of the convict population. However, convict women made an important contribution to the development of the colonies through their labour and their vital role in family formation, ultimately leading to greater social cohesion. More on Cascades Female Factory...
Coal Mines Historic Site (1833-48)
The Coal Mines Historic Site is located in the north-western corner of the Tasman Peninsula. At its peak the Coal Mines held up to 500 convicts plus another 100 people including officers, guards and their families. The site is relatively intact and comprises over 25 substantial buildings as well as the remains of coal mining activities in an undisturbed bushland setting of around 214 hectares. The site is a unique example of the important role that convicts played in the economic development of the colony. More on the Coal Mines Historic Site...
Port Arthur Historic Site (1830-77)
The Port Arthur Historic Site, located on the Tasman Peninsula, began as a timber-getting station in 1830. The site then operated as a penal station for secondary offenders between 1833 and 1877. Today, Port Arthur comprises more than 30 convict-built structures and substantial ruins in a picturesque landscape of 136 hectares. More on the Port Arthur Historic Site...