28 September is UN World Tourism Day, and one of the biggest and busiest tourist hotspots in our state is the award-winning Port Author Historic Site. It takes many workers keep Port Arthur running, adding to the visitor experience through education, and of course maintaining this unique UNESCO site.
We chatted to CPSU Delegate and Interpretation and Experience Project Support Officer Nikki Manley about the site and the amazing work staff do.
Nikki’s job is a diverse one, providing support to the Interpretation and Experience team.
“I get to run some smaller projects, under $10,000 and I also assist with all the paperwork, research, and correspondence for all of the projects that we do, getting all the materials, and being a qualified tradesman means I can help with installations.
“At the moment we have a pretty big project on. The site model that used to be in Visitor Centre is turning 50 years old this year. It’s currently in Castlemaine being refurbished. It’s pretty huge, we will be decommissioning part of the gallery, then putting the model back in, hopefully in December. It’s been a four-month project so far.”
There’s plenty that Nikki loves about this historic site.
“The thing I love most is the site in the morning – I love 6.30 in the morning, how the site looks, how the cleaners are coming in and doing their job before anyone else. When there’s no one in the building and you almost have it all to yourself and realise how lucky we are to work and live in such a beautiful place.”
“I grew up next door at Stewarts Bay – I’ve been going to the site for 32 years and I’ve always loved being there because it’s so beautiful and interesting, and I wanted a job there forever. I ended up guiding, which is one of the most enjoyable work experiences I’ve ever had – it’s the best job, teaching people about this amazing site.”
“The internal Expressions of Interest are great because it meant I could branch out and do a different job. I still get to interact with the public, although it’s a lot less, but it’s also full-time hours. The great thing about Port Arthur is that if you’ve got some skills, you could always move to a different department, change your hours – it can be a pretty dynamic workplace.”
With summer fast approaching, the busy visitor season is gearing up. Meanwhile the site is undergoing an exciting revamp.
“We’re all well into summer planning and it’s starting to pick up. We’ve had fairly good mainland school holiday numbers so far. We’re envisioning it’ll be a pretty busy summer, especially with the café refit happening. It means we’re undergoing a huge amount of change in a busy time but we’re setting up the site to run really well over the summer. So hopefully that means people aren’t being horrendously overworked because people can find their way around the site properly and people can get things from the café easier.”
Spring school holiday programs are always a hit for Tasmanian families – here’s what’s happening at the Port Arthur and Cascades Female Factory Site at South Hobart.
“For these upcoming holidays at Port Arthur we have a scavenger hunt . There’s a great activity happening up at the Cascades Female Factory – following Mary Mouse around the site. It’s well worth going and checking it out – it’s audio-guided and you can hear the story of Mary Mouse, how she got there and what she’s doing. That was trialled last school holidays and it was really successful, so they’re running it again this school holidays.”
A huge shout out to workers across Port Arthur Historic Sites – your work is phenomenal and showcases our state to the world! Thank you!