Isle of the Lifeless Will get 1.three Million
- The Isle of the Dead, which lies in the waters of Mason Cove, was the main burial site of Port Arthur Penitentiary between 1833 and 1877.
- It is estimated that over 800 convicts are buried on the island, mostly in unmarked graves.
- Today, visitors to the island can still see ornate monuments marking the graves of military personnel, freelance officials, women and children.
Tourism on the Isle of the Dead has grown with improved services and infrastructure as increased conservation initiatives have been taken to preserve the island and its relics. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected by Australian state and federal law.
PAHSMA Conservation Manager, Pamela Hubert, said, “This project features continuous above-ground walkways with a series of viewing platforms that will add to the very popular tours of the Isle of the Dead Cemetery. The project has been carefully designed to ensure minimal impact on major burial sites, landscape features and views of the island. ”
“This project has been carefully planned and implemented in 5 phases to ensure that the work can be carried out while allowing access to the island for most of the visitor season,” said Ms. Hubert.
This project started in 2016 with the aim of reducing the impact on the grave areas, improving accessibility and improving the visitor experience. The first phase of the project was made possible by a $ 80,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government’s National Historic Site Protection Program.
PAHSMA worked with a group of Tasmanian companies and consultants responsible for various aspects of the work: Sue Small Landscapes for the walkway design, Pitt and Sherry for structural advice, Saunders and Ward for steelmaking and on-site installation, and Abrasive Blasting and painting for special paintwork. Working with Osborne Aviation, PAHSMA was able to use helicopters to move materials to the island, which significantly accelerated the project.
“The new walkways not only increase accessibility by replacing stairs with ramps, but also improve the visitor experience with better viewing platforms and assembly points for guided tours. It is important to recognize that the island is still the resting place of around 1,000 people and this project shows our continued respect for the island as a cemetery and place of reflection, ”said PAHSMA Archaeological Manager Dr. David Roe.
Port Arthur Historic Site, along with Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, Coal Mines Historic Site, Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island, and Brickendon and Woolmers Estates make up 5 of the 11 Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Sites.
“This is an important milestone in the ongoing conservation of the Isle of the Dead,” said Ms. Hubert. “We are delighted to have completed this project and, along with the development of a new history and interpretation center at the Cascades Female Factory, which will open in early 2022, demonstrates PAHSMA’s commitment to ensuring that the compelling stories of our Australian convict history are passed on will.”
The Isle of the Dead was the destination for all who died in the prison camps. It is a small island that lies next to Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia. After the fall of the Port Arthur settlement in 1877, the cemetery was closed and the island was sold as private land. It has since been repurchased and is administered by the Tasmanian government.