Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Port Arthur Historic Sites Management Authority (PAHSMA) are partnering with the community and volunteers to help conserve the Coal Mines Historic Site at Saltwater River, which is part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. The Coal Mines were the first mechanised mines in Tasmania and the most severe tier on Governor Arthur’s progressive scale of convict punishment and reform.
Nowadays, this peaceful site overlooking Norfolk Bay on the Tasman Peninsula is loved by locals and visitors alike for its picturesque ruins scattered within native bushland evoking an atmosphere of past confinement, toil and suffering. The size of the area and minimal facilities offers a sense of discovery for visitors as they chance upon ruins along winding bush tracks or encounter some of the local wildlife.
Previously managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, the Coal Mines Historic Site has been managed by PAHSMA since 2004. Management and conservation activities at the Site are guided by the recently-completed Coal Mines Historic Site Master Plan (www.portarthur.org.au/cmhsmasterplan).
Project coordinator John Hueston says that a number of necessary activities have been identified to conserve the site whilst maintaining its unique appeal.
“These include vegetation management, fuel load reduction, coastal protection, walking track maintenance, visitor surveys and flora and fauna monitoring and survey including of the local rabbit population.”
The project was launched at the Coal Mines on Saturday 16th November with an informal gathering for people interested in assisting to discuss the project with the team, sign up and enjoy a light lunch. The occasion also saw the launch of PAHSMA’s Master Plan for management of the Coal Mines Historic Site.
The project, ‘The Coal Mines Historic Site and Engaging Community’ was the recipient of funding from the Federal Government under the ‘Your Community Heritage Program’.
Work is intended to commence during November and to carry on through to the end of 2014. Anyone interested in helping out can contact John Hueston on 0429 334 481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Coal Mines Historic Site is available at coalmines.org.au