Covid mutes party

THIS Friday, Fremantle Prison will mark 10 years as Perth’s only World Heritage listed site — but COVID-19 means it won’t be a big celebration. 

On July 31, 2010, the prison was listed as part of the Australian Convict Sites, 11 locations chosen to represent the country’s convict past. It was up against a shortlist of over 3000 Australian landmarks. 

“Fremantle Prison is a monument to the development of Western Australia as we know it today,” says the Prison’s heritage conservation manager Luke Donegan, who’s the current Chair of the Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee.

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, 168,000 men, women and children were forcibly shipped from Britain to Australia. Beginning in 1850, 10,000 of these came to WA, where many built — and then lived – in the Freo prison.

According to Mr Donegan, the listing shows the important but difficult task faced by Australian historians. 

“The story of colonisation, common across the world, wasn’t adequately represented on the heritage list. It’s often a difficult story – it involves the displacement of Indigenous people, and the forced incarceration of men, women, and children,” Mr Donegan said. 

“We aren’t actually holding an event to recognise the anniversary – in the current climate it just didn’t seem right,” said Amberlee Hong, the prison’s sales and marketing manager.

“However it is an important milestone so we’re celebrating on the inside!”

by LOTTIE ELTON

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