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article imageTasmania offers 'convictourism' to promote its convict heritage

By Laura Trowbridge     Oct 5, 2010 in Travel
UNESCO recently added five prison sites to its World Heritage List, all located in the Australian island and state of Tasmania.
Tasmania Tourism is taking advantage of the recognition by advertising the prison sites as "convictourism."
Felicia Mariani, chief executive officer of Tourism Tasmania, said: “The listing is great news for our tourism industry, and will allow us the opportunity to build an additional dimension to our visitors’ experiences.
“When you ask people what comes to mind when they think of Tasmania, the first thing they usually mention is our wilderness. This is not surprising given that over half of our state is ancient World Heritage Wilderness, national parks and forest and marine reserves. And, given our history and rich colonial heritage, it is fitting that our State has now received recognition for these five important convict heritage sites. It can only add further to our reputation as a world-class destination.”
The Tasmanian sites are Port Arthur and the Coal Mines Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula; the Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart; Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island; and the sites of Woolmers and Brickendon Estates near Longford. Six other prison sites have been listed in mainland Australia, as well.
According to AOL News, "thousands of penal sites were established in Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries, imprisoning criminals expelled from the United Kingdom and Ireland, many for committing petty crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread."
Tourism Tasmania spokeswoman Mel Percival said: "It used to be thought of as a black spot on the family, but now it's become trendy to have a convict in the past."
Percival went on to say: "Female convicts were brought to Tasmania to settle the men down, because they were getting a bit unruly. So women were really instrumental in populating the island."
The female convicts' role has mostly been ignored, but this is about to change now that Percival says, "They're the future of convictourism."
Tourists interested in tracing their ancestors by following "the convict trail" will find the Tasmanian state authorities hold complete records of convict history to aid in family root-tracing.
More about Tasmania, Convict, Heritage, Convictourism, Prisons
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