Among thousands of penal colonies established across the continent of Australia, Tasmania contains five that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Collectively they commemorate the British practice of deporting its own convicts (and other unwanted citizens) for unpaid labor in building the Commonwealth. Here’s what you need to know about these Australian convict sites in Tasmania.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Once known as the Island of the Dead, this isolated prison used to sequester Australia’s most hardened convicts. Few ever escaped from Port Arthur, which served as a labor camp for both men and boys. Finally closed in 1877, the site is now the most popular tourist attraction in Tasmania.
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
The former disease-ridden Cascades Female Factory in Hobart, used as a workhouse for female convicts from 1828 to 1856, is now open to the public as a museum.
Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict Village
The adjacent Brickendon and Woolmers Estates were farmed by convicts in exchange for food, shelter, and clothing, representing a prevalent 19th-century system of consigned labor. Both sites are now historical attractions.
Coal Mines Historic Site
A forced coal-mining labor camp for male convicts from 1833 to 1848, Coal Mines Historic Site now lies in ruins near Port Arthur.
Darlington Probation Station
The most intact of Tasmania’s 78 former probation stations, Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island was built by and provided shelter for convicts from 1825 to 1850.