The Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), on Norfolk Island, is of outstanding significance to the nation as a convict settlement spanning the era of transportation to eastern Australia between 1788-1855. It is also significant as the only site in Australia to display evidence of early Polynesian settlement. Most importantly for the Island today was the re-settlement of the Pitcairn Island descendents of the Bounty mutineers in 1856.
Norfolk Island’s World Heritage listing
In 2010 the Australian Federal Environment Protection and Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, and Norfolk Island Chief Minister, David Buffett, welcomed an announcement by the World Heritage Committee that Norfolk Island’s Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area has been included on the World Heritage List as part of the Australian Convict Sites inscription.
“Norfolk Island’s convict site is a rich historical landscape, where lessons from the past are relevant to the whole world,” said Mr Garrett.
“It holds a visual record of harsh and brutal conditions endured by forced penal migrants for more than 60 years from 1788, but it is also associated with innovative developments in the rehabilitation of criminals, that were later modelled to the rest of the world in the 1840s.
“The Norfolk Island story is part of a phenomenon in world history, the forced migration of prisoners to far-flung places, and their subsequent role in developing the cultural life and the economy of the places they were sent to.”
Mr Buffett welcomed the decision as being important for Norfolk Island.
“The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area had a reputation as one of the harshest and cruelest of Australia’s penal settlements. A convict settlement spanning 1788-1855, it today comprises a large group of buildings from the convict era, some of which have been modified during the Pitcairn period (from 1856 to the present), substantial ruins and standing structures, archaeological remains, landform and landscape elements.
“The process involved lengthy consultations and much hard work on the part of property managers and the community. I am extremely proud of the Island for getting this site onto the list,” Mr Buffett said.
Australia’s World Heritage listings
The other sites that together make up Australia’s 18th World Heritage listing are:
- Old Government House and Domain (NSW)
- Hyde Park Barracks (NSW)
- Cockatoo Island Convict Site (NSW)
- Old Great North Road (NSW)
- Fremantle Prison (WA)
- Brickendon and Woolmers Estates (TAS)
- Darlington Probation Station (TAS)
- Port Arthur Historic Site (TAS)
- Coal Mines Historic Site (TAS)
- The Cascades Female Factory (TAS)
The Australian Convict Sites join more than 850 of the world’s most special places given this prestigious international recognition. Some other Australian places on the World Heritage List are:
- The Sydney Opera House
- The Great Barrier Reef
- Shark Bay
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
The Australian Convict Sites are also included on the National Heritage List and are protected under national environment law.
Visitors to KAVHA can follow self-guided walks, visit the Norfolk Island Museums, play a game of golf, walk through the convict cemetery, enjoy the beaches or visit the Public Research centre at No. 9 Quality Row. To contact the Research Centre – EMAIL.
*From www.norfolkisland.com.au, courtesy Norfolk Island Tourism