Willow Court snubbed again

The Federal Government’s heritage website

WILLOW Court has not been included in a project to collect memories at convict heritage sites this weekend. The former convict hospital pre-dates Port Arthur but was excluded from the State Government’s successful nomination for similar sites to be given World Heritage status.

Tasmanians are now being invited to take part in activities at the state’s “six World Heritage listed convict sites”, to mark the inaugural Australian Heritage Week. Heritage Tasmania director Pete Smith said this event would be held on April 16 and 17 as part of the Collecting Memories Project.

“If your grandparents camped at the Coal Mines, or if someone in your family remembers playing tennis in front of Port Arthur’s penitentiary, you should consider being part of these activities,” Mr Smith said. “Better still, if you have photos, diaries, letters, stories or oral histories about our major convict heritage sites, why not share them?”

These activities will be held at Port Arthur and the Coal Mines Historic Sites, Cascades Female Factory, Brickendon Estate, Woolmers Estate and Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island. Mr Smith said each site had set aside a day to host community members wanting to share and reinforce their connections with the properties.

“People will be on hand at each site to record details of objects or memories,” he said. “Every contribution will increase our knowledge and understanding of our shared history, not just our convict past, and of the important place these sites hold in our local communities. Surviving records, collections and images relating to all these places are recognised as forming an incredibly important and significant component of the story-telling capabilities of each of the sites.”

Mr Smith said information gathered at the events would be collated into a publication that will help to celebrate our community’s connections to these significant Tasmanian places. “This month’s event will be the first to simultaneously involve all the Tasmanian convict sites in the one event and therefore will be the first opportunity for the wider Tasmanian community to come together to celebrate the significance of World Heritage listing,” he said.

All the convict sites except Willow Court, that is. If you played sport on the oval, danced on the stage at the social centre, raised funds for the hospital auxiliary, worked in the laundry, had a convict ancestor, visited patients, or did anything else in connection with Willow Court, it would seem that Heritage Tasmania doesn’t want to know.

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