The McGowan Government has contributed $3.5 million to an urgent works program to conserve the World Heritage Listed Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.

Initial works will see the cells within the main cell block repaired by local Aboriginal business Thuroona Services at a cost of $1 million.

The overall program will see the careful conservation of the building’s heritage fabric, reinforcement of the character of the Convict Establishment and improved connection to Aboriginal experiences and stories.

"Fremantle Prison is the most intact complex of convict-built structures in Australia, recognised by UNESCO, with World Heritage listing as well as State and National heritage recognition,” says heritage minister David Templeman.

“The McGowan Government recognises the potential of Fremantle Prison to contribute to our tourism, education, culture and the arts industries in Western Australia, which is why we have sought to redirect funds from the Heritage Grants program for the 2019-20 financial year to fund urgent conservation works.”

Fremantle Prison is one of the 11 member sites of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. Currently, the Federal Government funds Australia's natural World Heritage properties; however, there is no ongoing funding for built World Heritage properties, including Fremantle Prison.

Heritage minister David Templeman has called on the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to at least match the State Government's contribution to assist with the works in recognition of the prison's World Heritage status.

Image credit: Department of Lands, Heritage and Planning