Australian Convict Sites anniversary for Norfolk Island's KAVHA

Last week marked 10 years since the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Norfolk Island's Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) is one of the 11 historic sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property, inscribed on 31 July 2010.

Collectively, these places tell a story of exile from one side of the world to the other and how a nation was formed from hardship, inequality and adversity.

Each site represents key elements of the story of forced migration of convicts and is associated with global ideas and practices for punishment and reform of criminal elements of society during the modern era.

The transportation of convicts to penal colonies dates back to the 17th century and continued up until 1938. Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia and Argentina transported criminals to penal colonies across the world.

British transportation to Australia was the world's first conscious attempt to build a new society on the labour of convicted prisoners. Some 160,000 men, women and children were transported to Australia over a period of 80 years between 1787 and 1868.

With two very different convict settlements, from 1788–1814 and from 1825–1855, KAVHA spanned the era of transportation to eastern Australia from 1788 to 1855. The story of KAVHA also includes settlement of the site by Polynesian seafarers and their families, long before the convicts, and the arrival of the Pitcairn community in 1856 and their ongoing cultural legacy right up to the present day.

The Australian Government is continuing to support the delivery of conservation and interpretation projects at the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), to preserve Norfolk heritage and improve visitor experience.

The other places included in the serial listing are:

  • Old Government House and Domain, Parramatta Park, New South Wales (1788–1856)
  • Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales (1819–1848)
  • Brickendon-Woolmers Estates, Longford, Tasmania (1820–1850s)
  • Darlington Probation Station, Maria Island National Park Tasmania (1825–1832 and 1842–1850)
  • Old Great North Road, Wiseman's Ferry, New South Wales (1828–1835)
  • Cascades Female Factory, Hobart, Tasmania (1828–1856)
  • Port Arthur Historic Site, Port Arthur, Tasmania (1830–1877)
  • Coal Mines Historic Site, Norfolk Bay, Tasmania (1833–1848)
  • Cockatoo Island Convict Site, Sydney, New South Wales (1839–1869)
  • Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, Western Australia (1852–1886)

Visit or for more information.

If you would like to find out more about any other KAVHA matters, please contact Martin Purslow, Heritage Manager, at

Mr Eric Hutchinson
Chair, KAVHA Advisory Committee
August 2020