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World Heritage Listing for Convict Sites

World Heritage Listing for Convict Sites
August 4, 2010

Historical convict sites will be included on the World Heritage List following a decision made by the World Heritage Committee.

Federal Minister for the Arts Peter Garrett said a decision by UNESCO had ensured eleven sites across Australia would form a single World Heritage property called Australian Convict Sites.

The sites include Old Government House and Hyde Park Barracks, in NSW, Port Arthur, in Tasmania, and Fremantle Prison, in Western Australia.

Minister Garrett said he was delighted at the committee's decision which he said was "great news for Australia."

"These convict sites ... are an essential part of our Australian story and being an essential part of our Australian story it is fantastic that Australia's convict sites have received the Nobel prize for recognition by the World Heritage Commitee.

"World Heritage listing is incredibly important because it is global recognition of places that have universal significance and very high cultural or natural value. So this is a huge day for Australia."

Other sites included in the announcement are Cockatoo Island Convict Site and Old Great North Road, in New South Wales, Fremantle Prison, in Western Australia, Brickendon and Woolmers Estates, Darlington Probation Station, the Coal Mines Historic Site and the Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania and Kingston and Arthurâs Vale Historic Area in Norfolk Island.

"Together these sites tell a story that is central to modern Australia. It is the story of how people were transported in exile from one side of the world to the other and how a new nation was formed from hardship, inequality and adversity.

"Visiting historic sites such as these is a way for us to connect with those who played a critical role in the development of Australia as a modern nation.

The 11 convict sites are also included on the National Heritage List and are protected under national environment law.

The listing will be the 18th World Heritage Listing for Australia, which also lists the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and Uluru among World Heritage sites. 

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