US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

Presenting the Story of Convict Transportation in three Pacific Islands
Anita Smith and Kristal Buckley, Melbourne, Australia Both Britain and France established substantial penal settlements in the South Pacific during the late 18th and 19th centuries. This was one component of a set of larger patterns of movement of labour through forced and unforced migrations within and into the Pacific. While the transportation of convicts occurred in many parts of the world, the experience of Australia and the Pacific has some particular characteristics such as the relatively large and sustained nature of the transportation programs, and their inextricable relationship with the establishment of European colonies and the post-colonial nations of today. This paper is part of research we are developing into the diverse cultural and ethnic communities of the present day Pacific. We will briefly consider the history of forced migration in three Pacific Islands – Tasmania, Norfolk Island and New Caledonia. In each of these cases, the island/peninsula landscape has been used to establish a complex system of classification of convicts, land use and public works, and colonial enterprise, reflecting the philosophies of punishment and reform, the imperatives of subsistence and the colonial objectives of resource exploitation. One aspect of our research concerns the ways in which these places and landscapes are presented by and for the communities themselves, and to outsiders, through the operation of the tourism industry. While tourism is often positioned as an issue of economics, management or even a pressure or threat to the values of heritage properties, this paper takes as its starting point the statement of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter that: domestic and international tourism continues to be among the foremost vehicles for cultural exchange, providing a personal experience, not only of that which had survived from the past, but of the contemporary life and society of others. It is increasingly appreciated as a positive force for natural and cultural conservation. Similarly, the draft ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation of Cultural Heritage Sites, and the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter pose interpretation of the meaning of sites as an integral part of the conservation process and fundamental to positive conservation outcomes. In the case of the heritage of the forced migration of convicts to the South Pacific, we are therefore looking at the extent to which the contemporary

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

contexts of these histories are reflected in the presentation (or lack of presentation) of these places to visitors. Transportation of Convicts & the South Pacific Transportation of criminals and political prisoners is of course, not unique to the Pacific. It has occurred in many parts of the world and over many periods of time, driven by various local and global factors – as a means of managing the growth of recidivist criminal activity in the cities of Europe, as a tool in global colonial and economic objectives, to provide labour, to protect new markets and sea trading routes, to counter or pre-empt the colonising activities of rival nations, and so on. For example in the Americas, from the mid-17th century more than 50,000 British convicts were sent to the British North American colonies, and 4000 were transported to British colonies in the Caribbean. Spain transported several thousand convicts to its colonies in North and South America, especially during the mid-18th century. Globally, the transportation of convicts has been compared with the histories of slavery, and of governmental and commercial systems of indentured labour which flourished in many contexts throughout the world. In the Pacific, although European exploration and trading occurred earlier, permanent settlement and colonisation by European countries date to the late 18th and 19th centuries. For Britain and France, the transportation of convicts played a role in colonial objectives and was also a response to domestic problems. The Convict Transportation History of three Pacific Islands In parts of Australia, Norfolk Island and the Southern Province of New Caledonia, the remnant convict period landscape is a pervasive element, easily readable in the present. Figure 1 shows the south-west Pacific, and the locations of the three Pacific Islands of our presentation – Tasmania (a State of Australia), Norfolk Island (an External Territory of Australia), and New Caledonia (a self-governing Territory of France). Figure 2 shows the convict heritage places of New Caledonia in more detail. Tasmania Over 160,000 British and Irish convicts – male and female - were transported to the Australian continent from 1788 to 1868. About half of these spent their sentences in New South Wales, including Sydney Cove, now the largest of Australia’s cities and capital of the most populous State. For the island state of Tasmania – formerly the infamous British colony of Van Diemen’s Land – the legacy of the convict period has been an indelible element of the State’s identity, and is strongly felt and remembered. Close to

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

70,000 convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land in the period 18011852. Reflecting on the strength of this and other dramatic legacies, the poet Margaret Scott, a Tasman Peninsula resident has written about Tasmania: For decades, movements and events which have seemed diffuse or partial in Australia at large have become in Tasmania, concentrated and extreme. The island is a place of weird contrasts and fierce polarities. In its clear light, issues take on a harder edge and battle lines stand out more sharply… In Tasmania the best and worst trends in Australian life reach some kind of climax or, at least, can be seen for what they really are. At the cessation of transportation to Van Diemen’s Land in the early 1850s, the colony opted to change its name to Tasmania, in large part a conscious effort to ‘erase the hated stain’ of its convict origins, and to forge a new identity as a free settler society. Much of the settlement patterns and infrastructure of the State owe their origins to convict labour and the use of the Island to establish a complex and integrated system of industry and public works for the redemption and rehabilitation of criminals. While there are a number of convict settlements now promoted to visitors as ‘historic sites’ and tourism destinations, the preeminent symbol of Tasmania’s convict history is the former penal settlement of Port Arthur (1830-1877), established as a place of secondary punishment that is, a place of imprisonment and punishment for convicts who re-offended following transportation. Port Arthur is one of the State’s top tourism destinations – there were over 250,000 ‘day visits’ in 2006 (which includes Tasmanians and domestic and international tourists). The total number of visitors to Tasmania as a whole was 863,700 in 2006, and most (87%) of these were from other parts of Australia. Port Arthur features prominently in tourism promotions for the State generally, and is the visual symbol of the historic heritage of Tasmania. Port Arthur was of tourism interest almost from its very establishment, and has now been a tourism site for far longer than its forty-seven years as a penal institution. The site also holds a prominent place in the development of modern professional conservation practice in Australia, having been a focus of national conservation programs since the 1970s. The tourism industry in Tasmania relies heavily on a series of ‘fly-in, drivearound’ itineraries. In all of these Port Arthur is marketed as a ‘must-see’ destination. Heritage is one of Tourism Tasmania’s ‘three great journeys’ for touring, and the State’s rich history and heritage is identified as a ‘competitive advantage’. Port Arthur represents a very highly developed form of presentation and interpretation of its history of convict transportation to visitors. The messages

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

identified in the site’s Interpretation Plan are drawn directly from the ‘statement of significance’ in the Conservation Plan, and the Tourism Operations Plan interleaves with the Conservation Plan to ensure that these objectives are addressed in ways which are mutually consistent and ensure excellent visitor experiences. The key messages of the site include the confronting and paradoxical nature of the experiences of the people of the penal settlement – including both brutal and enlightened aspects. The messages emphasise the evolution of the system and its underpinning philosophies during the penal settlement period, and the relevance of these issues in today’s global society. Norfolk Island Convict settlements were established at Kingston on Norfolk Island in two distinct periods. There is archaeological evidence of small scale Polynesian occupation of Norfolk Island, but at the time of the establishment of Kingston, the Island had been unoccupied for more than a century. The first convict settlement coincides with the establishment of the first settlement of Sydney Cove on mainland Australia in 1788. The settlement was closed in 1814. Although it had been of assistance in supporting the settlement of Sydney in its earliest years, it was difficult and expensive to maintain and the aims of establishing a self-sustaining agricultural settlement had not been realised. During this so-called 1st Settlement, male and female convicts farmed allocated allotments. At the close of the 1st Settlement, all buildings were removed and the Island was completely abandoned. Ephemeral archaeological evidence, some remnant plants and landform modifications are the only evidence surviving from this relatively short and benign period. The 2nd Settlement (1825-1855) is what visitors to Kingston most readily witness. Like Port Arthur, this was a notorious penal settlement of secondary punishment, known for its harsh conditions, and immortalised somewhat sensationally by the popular novel and movie For the Term of His Natural Life. It was deliberately established as a place of harsh punishment, intended for the ‘worst convicts’. During this period, male convicts were subjected to a harsh regime of punishment, incarceration and heavy labour, thought to demonstrate the extreme in the severity of the British penal system in the region. When the 2nd settlement closed, the remaining convicts were moved to Port Arthur and New Norfolk (Tasmania), and the Island was again completely abandoned, this time leaving a substantial built settlement and agricultural lands. In 1856, the descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian wives moved to Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island – termed the 3rd Settlement which continues to flourish today. These families with their famous surnames – Adams, Buffett, Christian, Evans, McCoy, Nobbs and Quintal - and unique language and cultural traditions form the core of the present day community.

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

Kingston is the capital of Norfolk Island, the base for both the Australian Government and Norfolk Island Government administrations. Few of the Island’s present day residents trace their personal ancestry to the convicts. Today, the Norfolk Island economy is dominated by tourism. There are 30,000-40,000 visitors per year; 80% come from the Australian mainland. About 90% of the Island’s labour force is involved in the tourism industry. Currently, the tourism industry on Norfolk Island is oriented around week-long packages which include air travel, accommodation and a hire car. Extra day and half-day tours focus on various aspects of the local natural and cultural heritage are provided by local operators, including various evening entertainment options. Kingston is the most visited tourist destination on Norfolk Island. Kingston has fascinating and strongly celebrated associations for the Islander community – including the annual celebration of ‘Bounty Day’ - but this is not the main story told to tourists. Instead, the focus of the interpretation is the infamous 2nd Settlement and its terrible stories of punishment, changing theories of criminology and rehabilitation, and survival in circumstances of great hardship. New Caledonia New Caledonia presents a strongly contrasting example to the Australian convict sites. Like Norfolk Island, New Caledonia was visited by Cook in 1774, who gave the archipelago its name. Colonial activity during the 18th and early 19th centuries consisted of the activities of traders (focused on the sandalwood trade) and missionaries. France consciously watched the British experience of convict transportation to its Australian colonies before following suit. France annexed New Caledonia in 1853, and between 1864 and 1897 sent 30,000 criminals and political prisoners from France and other French colonies (such as Algeria) to the South Pacific colony, providing an alternative to the earlier penal colony of French Guiana. Unlike the experiences in Tasmania and Norfolk Island, resistance to settlement by the Indigenous Kanaks was a significant factor in the evolution and operation of the New Caledonian penal settlements, particularly following the Kanak insurgency in 1878. Following this, the open agricultural settlement of Teremba in Central Grande Terre, was fortified. In contrast, convict settlements along the west coast of the Isle of Pines were established on land negotiated with the Kanaks and the missionaries already established on the small island. Like Port Arthur and Kingston, some of the people transported to New Caledonia were political prisoners. Approximately 4000 communards, were deported to New Caledonia for their role in the Paris Commune in 1871.

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

Through their own writings, and historical research, these are the most well known of New Caledonia’s convicts, although in many ways they were atypical. The communards were offered amnesty in 1881 and returned to France. For the other transported prisoners the return to France was not an option, and many of the present day Caldoches (New Caledonians of European descent) have convict ancestors. This key characteristic of New Caledonian society does not feature in tourism literature. The tourism industry strongly promotes the ‘white sand, sea and sun’ resort images common throughout the South Pacific. A wide range of outdoor and recreational activities are also strongly promoted. The cultural heritage of the islands has a minimal presence in the tourism materials, and there is almost no mention at all of the history of convictism, despite its pervasive physical and social legacies. The economy of New Caledonia is largely dependent on mining (in particular, nickel) and the financial support provided by France for a range of government services, but tourism is also an important sector. Overseas visitors come mainly from Japan, France, Australia and New Zealand, and there are over 50,000 cruise passengers that visit New Caledonia each year. ‘Convict Heritage’ Today in Australia, places identifiably associated with the history of transportation and incarceration of British convicts are collectively valued as ‘heritage’ and are often important tourism assets. Recognition of the diversity of convict experiences in the interpretation at Port Arthur reflects the central place of this history in the present day identity of Tasmanians and to a certain extent, all Australians of Anglo-Celtic ancestry. Many Australians now seek to find a convict ancestor in their family tree; and the Australian Government considers the history of transportation to be an exceptional example of the global story of forced migration. Australia entered a group (or series) of its convict heritage sites on its Tentative List in 1997, and work is now in progress to submit a nomination of a group of eleven sites to the World Heritage List. Port Arthur and Kingston are included in this group of places intended for nomination to the World Heritage List. For Kingston, the recognition of this place as a part of the ‘nation’s heritage’ has had a range of implications for the Islander community, where important community associations parallel the more overtly interpreted convict story. Norfolk Island is first and foremost the home of its residents. This phrase is the enshrined mission of the Norfolk Island Government and the Island’s community. Finding an accommodation between the important associations of Kingston for Norfolk Islanders, and the interests of the globally significant story of forced migration is an ongoing challenge for the management of the site, including its interpretation to visitors.

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US ICOMOS 10th International Symposium, April 2007 Session 4: Protecting Cultural Values of Place

The convict sites of New Caledonia have only recently begun to be actively managed as heritage places, and many are found as evocative and decaying ruins within areas of heavy vegetation, with little visitor access and virtually no interpretation. Following a period of conflict in the 1980s concerning the question of independence, and the steady progress toward resolution since then, there is an emerging need to recognise the past of both Kanak and Caldoches (and the diverse multi-ethnic community of the country), contributing to the evolution of a diverse and shared ‘national’ identity. Accordingly, there is a growing interest in the appropriate conservation treatment of what remains, commemoration and restoration of selected buildings and ruins, the beginnings of historical archaeological investigations, and the very small beginnings of commercial tourism activity – primarily oriented toward international tourists and holidaying French citizens. The varying perceptions of convict history and heritage in these three contexts are therefore a product of various factors including the different experiences and timeframes of convict transportation, the different histories following the closure of the convict era in each island, and different contemporary perceptions and degrees of comfort with the integration of this past with current notions of ‘heritage’. Tourism & ‘Convict Heritage’ Some of the questions that we will illustrate in the presentation to the 2007 10th US ICOMOS conference International Symposium: Balancing Culture, Conservation and Economic Development: Heritage Tourism in and around the Pacific Rim include: • What lessons do the experiences of conservation, interpretation and tourism at the Australian and Norfolk Island convict sites have for New Caledonia (and vice versa)? For heritage of this kind, is there a cycle that moves from denial and lack of recognition, to tentative acceptance (starting with the valorisation of the ‘noble’ convicts), to more fervent interest (including the search for convicts in the family tree)? Does this pattern simply reflect the passage of time and generational change? Lessons from many other places have taught us that we can ‘overconserve’ and sanitise these places. Especially for New Caledonia, where the process is just beginning, is a different approach possible? One that can develop heritage tourism without loss of the powerful sense of authenticity and the exciting sense of discovery the sites now allow? How does the selection of conservation approaches to the tangible remnants of the history of transportation inevitably affect the messages that visitors receive about what these places were and are? And, messages about the memory of people of the past and whether they are important to the communities of the present? How is it that some of

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the people in the complex story of forced migration can be selected, remembered and valorised, while others remain invisible? • In what ways do the differing histories of interaction with Indigenous people and Islander communities in each of these places affect the subsequent treatment and interpretation of these sites?

As with all heritage places, an examination of the key messages presented to visitors to these convict heritage sites in the Pacific reflect as much on the values of the current community as they do on the past. It seems clear that they are derived from a mixture of the knowable things about the past and the experiences of the people who lived those lives, and also the sensitivities and interests of the contemporary community – probably in equal measure. At each of these places, the interpretation (or lack of interpretation) asks and answers several fundamental questions – Who were these people, sent here so far away from their homes? What kind of place was this at that time? What kinds of experiences, choices and opportunities did people exercise? What would it have been like? Acknowledgements The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia & the Pacific at Deakin University (Melbourne) supported our initial field visit to New Caledonia in August 2006. Anita Smith is currently part of the Australian Government’s expert reference panel for the development of the World Heritage nomination of convict sites. Kristal Buckley is currently the Chair of the Conservation Advisory Committee for the Port Arthur Historic Site, and is also currently working as a consultant to the Norfolk Island Government. However, all the materials sourced for this paper are available in the public domain, and the views expressed in this paper are the authors’ alone. Our ideas have developed through our work with the communities, governments and site managers of these powerful places of history and contemporary meaning. We are especially grateful for the assistance of Dr Christophe Sand (Archaeologist for the Government of New Caledonia).
Kristal Buckley is an archaeologist and heritage consultant in private practice, based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a Vice-President of ICOMOS, Chair of Australia’s National Cultural Heritage Forum and a member of the Heritage Council of Victoria. She is the Chair of the Conservation Advisory Committee for the Port Arthur Historic Site, and has conducted consultancies which explore the contemporary community heritage values of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage places in Australia. Contact: kristal@bigpond.net.au Dr Anita Smith is an archaeologist with research interests in the history and heritage management in the Pacific Islands and Australia. She is an Honorary Fellow with the Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia & the Pacific at Melbourne’s Deakin University and Project Manager for Heritage Victoria. She has conducted a number of cultural heritage projects in the Pacific Islands for UNESCO. Dr Smith is a member of the Executive Committee of Australia ICOMOS and convenor of its World Heritage Reference Group. Contact: anita.smith@dse.vic.gov.au

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Figures (captions) 1 2 3 4 5 6 Map of the South Pacific, showing the locations of Tasmania, Norfolk Island and New Caledonia Map of New Caledonia, showing the locations of sites mentioned in the presentation Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia Kingston & Arthur’s Vale Historic Area, Norfolk Island Fort Teremba, Central Grande Terre, New Caledonia Ouro, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

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References
Aldrich, Robert 1990. The French Presence in the South Pacific, 1842-1940. Macmillan, Basingstoke. Australia ICOMOS 1999. The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance. Melbourne. Australian Heritage Commission 1999. Australian Convict Sites. Nomination by the Government of Australia for Inscription on the World Heritage List. Canberra. Barbancon, Louis-Jose 2003. L’Archipel des Forcats: Histoire du bagne de NouvelleCaledonie. Histoire Septentrion, Presses Universitaires. Barronnet, Jean and Jean Chalou 1987. Communards en Nouvelle-Caledonie: histoire de la deportation. Mercure de France, Paris. Bullard, Alice 1997. Self-representation in the arms of defeat: fatal nostalgia and surviving comrades in French New Caledonia 1871-1880. Cultural Anthropology 12(2):179-212. Bullard, Alice 1998. The affective subject and French colonial policy in New Caledonia. History and Anthropology 10(4):375-405. Campbell, Ian 2003. World’s Apart: a history of the Pacific Islands. Casella, Eleanor and Clayton Fredericksen 2004. Legacy of the ‘fatal shore’: the heritage and archaeology of confinement in post-colonial Australia. Journal of Social Archaeology 4(1):99-125. Casella, Eleanor Conlin 2005. Prisoner of His Majesty: postcoloniality and the archaeology of British penal transportation. World Archaeology 37(3):453-467. Clark, Julia 2002. Talking with empty rooms. Historic Environment 16(3):34-37. Clarke, Peter 1986. Hell and Paradise: the Norfolk-Bounty-Pitcairn Saga. Shearwater Press, Norfolk Island. Dewar, Mickey and Clayton Fredericksen 2003. Prison heritage, public history and archaeology at Fannie Bay Gaol, Northern Australia. International Journal of Heritage Studies 9(1):45-63. Dornoy, Myriam 1984. Politics in New Caledonia. Sydney University Press. ICOMOS 1999. International Cultural Tourism Charter. Managing Tourism at Places of Heritage Significance. Paris. ICOMOS 2006. ICOMOS Ename Charter for the Interpretation of Cultural Heritage Sites. 4th draft, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation, July 2006. Kerr, James Semple 2002. Islands of vanishment, islands of emergence. Historic Environment 16(3):17-21.

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Lacourrege, Gerard and Pierre Alibert 1986. Nouvelle Caledonie : Au temps des bagnes. Editions Atlas, Paris. Maclellan, Nic 1999. The Noumea Accord and decolonisation in New Caledonia. Journal of Pacific History 34(3):245-252. Mason, Randall, David Myers and Marta de la Torre 2003. Port Arthur Historic Site: A Case Study. The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles. Merle, Isabelle 1996 Colonial experiments, colonial experiences: the theory and practice of penal colonisation in New Caledonia. In Robert Aldrich and Isabelle Merle (eds) France Abroad: Indochina, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte. Department of Economic History, University of Sydney. Minister for the Environment & Heritage (Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell) 2007. Media Release: Australia’s Convict Heritage Goes Global. 12 January 2006. Muckle, Adrian 2002. Killing the ‘Fantome Canaque’: Evoking and invoking the possibility of revolt in New Caledonia (1853-1915). Journal of Pacific History 37(1):25-44. Pearson, Michael and Duncan Marshall 1995. Study of World Heritage Values – Convict Places. Report to the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Canberra. Pisier, Georges 1971. Kounie ou L’Ile des Pins. Essai de monographie historique. Publications de la Societe d’Etudes, Historiques de la Nouvelle-Caledonie, No. 1. Noumea. Pisier, Georges 1971. Les deportes de la Commune a l’Ile des Pins 1872-1880. Societe des Oceanistes, Musee de l’Homme, Paris. Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority 2000. Port Arthur Historic Site Conservation Plan. Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority 2001. Interpretation Plan. Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority 2002. Port Arthur Historic Site: Landscape Management Plan.. Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority 2006. Annual Report. Province Sud, Nouvelle Caledonie [no date] Patrimoine de Nouvelle-Caledonie. Un regard en province Sud. Province Sud Direction de la Culture, de la jeunesse et des sports, Noumea. Romey, Peter 2002. Conservation vs. tourism: can’t we still be friends? Historic Environment 16(3):17-21. Sand, Christophe, Jacques Bole and Andre Ouetcho 2006. What is archaeoloogy for in the Pacific? History and Politics in New Caledonia. In Ian Lilley (ed) Archaeology in Cceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology pp.321 – 345.

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Sand, Christophe, Jacques Bole and Andre Ouetcho 2006. Historical archaeology in Island Melanesia: first research on the convict settlements of New Caledonia. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 27:5-21. Scott, Margaret 1997. Port Arthur: A story of strength and courage. Random House, Sydney. Singer, Barnett and John Langdon 1998. France’s imperial legacy. Contemporary Review 272(1588) Toth, Stephen A. 1999. Colonisation or incarceration? The changing role of the French penal colony in Fin-de-siecle New Caledonia. Journal of Pacific History 34(1):59-74. Toth, Stephen A. 2003. The desire to deport: the recidivist of Fin-de-siecle France. Journal of Pacific History 25(2):147-160. Veracini, Lorenzo 2003. The ‘Shadows of the Colonial Period’ to ‘Times of Sharing’: history writing in and about New Caledonia/Kanaky, 1969-1998. Journal of Pacific History 38(3):331-352.

Websites:
Australian Heritage Database: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl New Caledonia Tourism South: http://www.newcaledoniatourism-south.com/home.cfm Norfolk Island Tourism - Your Island Home: http://www.norfolkisland.com.au/ Port Arthur Historic Site: http://www.portarthur.org.au/ Tourism Tasmania: http://www.tourismtasmania.com.au/ Tourism Australia: http://www.australia.com

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