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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
The Hon. Peter Costello MP
16 June 2006
The Treasurer announced today that Point Nepean has been included on the prestigious National Heritage List in recognition of the site's outstanding heritage value to the nation.
Point Nepean in Victoria has played an important role in Australia's coastal defences and quarantine protection. The National Heritage Listing, combined with the announcement today of an additional $27 million Australian Government funding for the protection and rehabilitation of Point Nepean, will ensure that future generations will be able to better use and enjoy the precinct.
Point Nepean is renowned for its historic features, outstanding coastal scenery and panoramic views of Bass Strait, the Rip and Port Phillip Bay. The site has also played a vital role in our nation's defence against the dual threats of disease and foreign attack for over a hundred years.
In 1852 Point Nepean opened as a maritime quarantine reserve to prevent the outbreak of serious diseases such as cholera, typhoid and small pox that otherwise would have decimated the population.
In addition to its role as a quarantine station the area's line of fortified defences contributed to Melbourne being known at the end of the nineteenth century as the 'best defended commercial city in the British Empire'.
This claim was tested in World War I with the first shot fired by Australian forces in the conflict, when the German steamer Pfalz was prevented from departing Port Phillip Bay.
The site has also played an important social role in our nation's heritage and is enmeshed in Australia's migration history. Within a year of the first discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851, around 100,000 people arrived in the colony by sea. The Quarantine Station became the first point of contact for thousands of migrants, seeking a new home on Australia's shores.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell made the decision to include Point Nepean as the 30th place to be included on the National Heritage List. Other outstanding places include the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Sydney Opera House, Port Arthur in Tasmania and Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.
Marianne McCabe (Senator Campbell's Office) 0400 389 580
Renae Stoikos (Treasurer's Office) 0418 568 434