Monthly Archives: February 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #175: Australian Convict Sites

Posted by on February 28, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #175: Australian Convict Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #175: Australian Convict Sites

From the World Heritage inscription:

The property includes a selection of eleven penal sites, among the thousands established by the British Empire on Australian soil in the 18th and 19th centuries. The sites are spread across Australia, from Fremantle in Western Australia to Kingston and Arthur’s Vale on Norfolk Island in the east; and from areas around Sydney in New South Wales in the north, to sites located in Tasmania in the south. Around 166,000 men, women and children were sent to Australia over 80 years between 1787 and 1868, condemned by British justice to transportation to the convict colonies. Each of the sites had a specific purpose, in terms both of punitive imprisonment and of rehabilitation through forced labour to help build the colony. The Australian Convict Sites presents the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.

The Australian Convict Sites is one of the few World Heritage Sites to have multiple locations across a entire country. There are 11 sites in total in New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and Norfolk Island. I visited the 3 sites located in the Sydney area: Cockatoo Island (pictured), the Old Government House and the Hyde Park Barracks.

Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbor and was a prison up until the 1860’s. After that it was used as a dockyard up until the 1980’s. The convict parts of the island are small compared to the industrial areas, which quite honestly, are far more interesting.

The Old Government house was the home of the former colonial governors of New South Wales located in Paramatta. The house was the NSW equivalent of the White House. While I thought the convict ties were sort of dubious, it is historically interesting and I learned a lot about Australian history in visiting.

The Hyde Park Barracks was the primary housing for convict labor in Sydney. It is located in the central business district and is easy reachable on foot if you are visiting the harbor area and Sydney Opera House World Heritage Site.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #174: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Posted by on February 27, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #174: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

UNESCO World Heritage Site #174: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

From the World Heritage inscription:

The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species.

The reef extends from the border with Mexico to the north, to near the Guatemalan border to the south. The Belize submarine shelf and its barrier reef, represent the world second largest reef system and the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean area. Outside the barrier, there are three large atolls: Turneffe Islands, Lighthouse Reef and Glover’s Reef.

The reef system in Belize is second only in size to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Unlike the Great Barrier Reef, however, the reef in Belize is much more accessible. The Great Barrier Reef cannot be seen from shore and is an hour boat ride away. The Belize reef can be see from shore on any number of cayes in the area and going to a snorkel or dive spot doesn’t take that much time.

To get to the reef, just take a water taxi from Belize City to either Caye Caulker or San Pedro. From there you can see the reefs and easily take a day snorkel or dive trip.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Monday Travel Update – Deep in the Heart of Texas Edition

Posted by on February 27, 2012

Last week was a busy one for me. I began the week on Lord Howe Island, where I had limited internet access, flew to Syndey where I was for 24 hours before taking a 14.5 hour flight back to the United States.

I’m staying in Forth Worth with my assistant Amy this week, working on catching up with projects and trying to get as much work done as I can.

One thing I’ve been working on is getting my iPhone app done. My developer Paula and I have been working on this for over a year now and I am finally ready to upload the final release to iTunes today. This has been a very long process, mostly due to the fact that working with me while I’m traveling is very difficult.

I’m also working on editing my photos from Australia and Belize as well as my Antarctica photos. It is always a time consuming process for me… (more…)

UNESCO World Heritage Site #176: Lord Howe Island Group

Posted by on February 26, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Site #176: Lord Howe Island Group

UNESCO World Heritage Site #176: Lord Howe Island Group

From the World Heritage inscription:

Located in the South Pacific, 700 km north-east of Sydney, the property is included administratively in New South Wales. The preserve includes some 75% of the land area of Lord Howe Island and all of the offshore islands and rocks of significant size in the region. These are the Admiralty Group; Mutton Bird and Sail Rock; Blackburn (Rabbit) Island; Gower Island; and Ball’s Pyramid, together with a number of small islands and rocks. The seaward boundary follows the mean high water mark and consequently excludes all littoral and marine areas. The entire island group has remarkable volcanic exposures not known elsewhere.

The main island of Lord Howe measures 10 km from north and south and is little more than 2 km in width. It roughly describes a crescent, enclosing a coral reef lagoon on its south-western side. The island’s topography is dominated by the southerly Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird. Only a narrow isthmus of lowland country in the north-central part of the island is habitable. The northern tip consists of steep hillsides culminating in extensive sea cliffs against the northern coastline.

Lord Howe is one of the truly special places on Earth. Located several hundred miles off the coast of Sydney, it is the southernmost coral reef in the world. The lagoon has excellent coal specimens along with turtles and stingrays.

The island is home to 300 people and only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at any given time. It is a community where everyone knows everyone else and many people will tell you that they are a 6th or 7th generation islander when you meet them.

The island has even taken the step of keeping cell towers off the island, so mobile phones can’t be used. As a result you will see more phone booths on Lord Howe than you probably will in Sydney.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.