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Interpretation and heritage upgrade for Richmond Gaol


The unique heritage values of the old Richmond Gaol have been preserved and protected by a major conservation project.

The Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Paula Wriedt, said the Richmond Gaol Historic Site is one of the State's most visited heritage sites, with nearly 40,000 to 50,000 visitors last year.

"The state's convict heritage is a major part of the visitor experience to Tasmania and the upgrade of interpretation and conservation work will ensure it remains a key heritage destination," Ms Wriedt said.

"Richmond is the oldest, still intact, gaol in Australia, predating the penal colony at Port Arthur by five years.

"It was built in 1825 and it has had few modifications since the day it closed as a convict gaol complex in 1898.
"This site provides a fascinating and accurate snapshot of the convict system devised by Governor Arthur after his arrival in the colony in 1824."

Ms Wriedt said the interpretation upgrade has involved the production of more than 150 new signs, from artefact labels to room signs to large interpretive panels that help to tell the story of the many and varied people associated with the site.

"New handcrafted steel exhibition cabinets showcase many items of interest associated with the gaol and convict life, while reinforcing the industrial feel of the site," she said.

"Another major change is the restoration of the courtyard from a cottage garden to its original use, a stark prison yard.

"This was accomplished with the help of a number of archaeologists and an enthusiastic Greencorp team, and the project unearthed a number of interesting artefacts that have now been incorporated into the displays."

Ms Wriedt paid tribute to the site's lessees, Kerry and Veronica Dean, who have operated the site for 34 years. She also recognised the skills of Parks and Wildlife Service staff who were involved in the project.

Money for the $180,000 project was provided from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.