World Heritage Listings for Parramatta Park and Old Government House
At its meeting in Brazil on July 31, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee officially added Parramatta Park (Domain) and Old Government House to its register of the world’s most important historical sites, as part of a larger application by the Federal Government for Australia’s unique convict sites to be recognised.
Mr Greene,Sport and Recreation Minister said Parramatta Park is one of Australia’s most significant cultural landscapes and Old Government House is the oldest remaining public building in the country.
“Parramatta Park’s rich cultural heritage includes colonial structures and over 40 archaeological sites dating from 1788 to 1856,” Mr Greene said.
“I am delighted that this world heritage site comprises a total of 37 hectares - more than half of the total size of Parramatta Park.
Director of the Parramatta Park Trust Christopher Levins said international recognition of the property by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is worthy recognition for what is perhaps Australia’s pre-eminent colonial landscape.
“Parramatta Park will continue to be an important landscape and open space, managed in the public interest to conserve its heritage values and for sport, recreation and enjoyment,” Mr Levins said.
“Inscription will open opportunities for nationally-based tourism and interpretation programs linking all 11 Australian Convict Sites and promoting this important period of Australia’s history to the world.
Yesterday, Federal Minister for Environment Protection and Heritage, Peter Garrett, and New South Wales Acting Minister for the Arts, Linda Burney, announced the listing of four NSW sites as part of the 11 Australian convict sites;
Cockatoo Island, which was established as a prison for re-offenders in 1839, where more than 1,400 prisoners endured harsh conditions and built a barracks, a guardhouse and a large dry dock., Hyde Park Barracks, which stands in the central business district of Sydney. Designed by noted convict architect Francis Greenway, it was a self-contained dormitory building that housed an estimated 50,000 convicts between 1819 and 1848, Old Great North Road near Wiseman’s Ferry, a 7.5 km portion of the original convict road, one of three ‘Great Roads’ that linked north Sydney with the Hunter Valley and Old Government House and Domain on the Parramatta River, which was convict-built under several New South Wales governors. The layout of the house and landscape reflect patterns of the penal colony’s administration as well as the lives of the convicts.
“Australia’s history of forced migration is preserved at sites such as these, where we can empathise with the sorrows, but also take pride in the convicts’ contribution to Australia’s development,” Mr Garrett said.
“Australia’s convict sites are highly relevant to world history and heritage, despite our relatively recent recorded history.
“The forced penal migration that characterised so much of our early history is reflected in the pre-eminence of our convict sites and their worldwide relevance and interest.”
Ms Burney credited community interest and involvement as playing a critical role in getting heritage sites listed.
“The benefits of heritage awareness are potentially massive. With a recent surge of interest in convict heritage, these listings are sure to benefit Sydney tourism, as many Australians seek to connect with convict ancestors,” said Ms Burney.
The other sites that together make up Australia’s 18th World Heritage listing are; Fremantle Prison in Western Australia, Brickendon and Woolmers Estates, Darlington Probation Station, Port Arthur Historic Site, Coal Mines Historic Site and the Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania and Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area in Norfolk Island.
For more information and images go to www.heritage.gov.au