Our Latest News

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Maintaining vigilance with campfires

03/11/2017

Parks and Wildlife Service staff have thanked the many campers who have heeded the restrictions placed on campfires and pot fires, but ask that park and reserve visitors continue to take care while the fire risk remains high in certain areas of the State.More

World Heritage Values

Historic Heritage

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA) is recognised for its natural and Aboriginal cultural values. However the area also includes the earliest of Tasmania's penal settlements -- Macquarie Harbour Historic Site. The site is an outstanding example of one of the most significant features of world population movement in the 18th and 19th centuries -- the transportation of convicts. Sarah Island and the surrounding region of Macquarie Harbour were used for a penal settlement from 1822-1833.

Convict industry

Sarah Island convict ruins

Convict ruins on Sarah Island
(Photography by Steve Johnson)

The Macquarie Harbour penal settlement was not just a "place of banishment and security for the worst description of convicts". The settlement, like all penal establishments of its day, was expected to recover much of its cost through industry. Although the settlement never quite achieved this aim, it did produce an enormous number of saleable items for the newly-founded colony. Convicts were engaged in various forms of labour including pining, carpentry, brickmaking, shoemaking tailoring and tanning.

Shipbuilding was a major industry on Sarah Island. During the latter years of the settlement, this small island was one of the largest shipbuilding yards in the southern hemisphere. During the life of the settlement a total of 113 vessels were constructed, 80 of them in the period 1828-1832.

 

Working in the wilderness

Ducane hut

Ducane hut, along the Overland Track
(Photography by Steve Johnson)

The WHA also contains a variety of historic remains which portray the wide range of activities carried out by the early non-Aboriginal settlers of Tasmania. Such sites include trappers' huts, mines, tracks, tramways and long-abandoned settlements such as Adamsfield and Pillinger.

Piners, prospectors and trappers extracted the resources of the region. The historic remains that act as a testimony to their activities and lifestyles reveal a legacy of human interaction with the land and force us to reconsider what we mean by the term "wilderness".