Anniversary for world-heritage convict sites that chronicle enforced migration

31 July 2020

Did you know that an opportunity to dispose of land earmarked for an ill-fated distillery, by a hapless colonial venturer, led instead to the establishment of the infamous Cascades Female Factory in Hobart?

The factory is one of 11 sites comprising the Register of Australian Convict Sites, which today celebrates its 10th anniversary of inscription on the prestigious World Heritage List.

On 31 July 2010, the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property became the 18th Australian place to receive world-heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The places that make up the Australian Convict Sites tell a fascinating story of exile from one side of the world to the other, and how a new society was forged on the hardship, inequality and adversity many endured.

Together, they tell the story of convictism - the forced migration of convicts to penal colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, and showcase developments in the punishment of crime in modern times.

The sites are preeminent examples of our rich convict history and unique in the world today. The stories behind the sites add to our collective understanding of who we are as a nation.

The purchasing of the doomed Hobart distillery in 1827 by the government of the day, and its subsequent conversion into the Cascades Female Factory, is just one of many fascinating facts we can learn from these 11 sites.

The 11 sites forming the Australian Convict World-Heritage Listed Place include: