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Australian Convict Sites

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Australian Convict Sites *
View of Port Arthur, Tasmania one of the 11 penal sites constituting the Australian Convict Sites
Country Australia
Type Cultural
Criteria iv, vi
Reference 1306
Region ** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2010 (34th Session)

"Australian Convict Sites" is a World Heritage Site which includes the remains of 11 places used in the transportation of convicts to Australia. This was a plan by the British government to move thousands of prisoners from England to Australia. It started with the sending of the First Fleet to Sydney in 1788 and continued for about eighty years. The Australian Convict Sites include places in Sydney, Tasmania, Norfolk Island, and Fremantle. These are representing:[1]

" .. the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts."

All the sites were all individually included on the Australian National Heritage List before being put on the World Heritage list.

Penal Sites Included

The 11 penal sites making up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage listed property are[2][3]

Criteria for Listing

There are over 3000 convict sites remaining in Australia. The Australian Convict Sites were selected as the best examples of the world's convict era. This met World Heritage Selection Criteria IV & VI:[16]

A convict ploughing team breaking up new ground - Port Arthur

Criterion IV (i.e. a collection of buildings/architecture etc. showing an important stage in human history):

"an exceptional example of the forced migration of convicts - an important stage of human history"

Criterion VI (i.e. directly associated with events etc. of importance to the whole world):

"an extraordinary example of global ideas and developments associated with the punishment and reform of the criminal elements of humanity during the Age of Enlightenment and the modern era

Related pages


  1. UNESCO's World Heritage "Australian Convict Sites" webpages Accessed 2 August 2010
  2. Chalmers, E & Martin, S (1 August 2010) "World Heritage Committee approves Australian Convict Sites as places of importance" Courier Mail website Accessed 2 August 2010
  3. Australian Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts "World Heritage: Australian Convict Sites" webpage Accessed 4 August 2010
  16. Australian Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008) Australian convict sites: World Heritage Nomination Accessed 5 August 2010

Other websites

This article is about a World Heritage Site