About Port Arthur
Port Arthur is located approximately
100 km south-east of Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula.
Port Arthur village has so much to offer - it
is so much more than just an historical site.
Whilst staying in the village of Port Arthur
you can experience surfing, sea kayaking, bushwalking,
explore huge sand dunes and Remarkable Cave.
Although mainly known as a convict
settlement, Port Arthur started out as a timber
station in 1830. In the 1833 it became a penal
colony. The penal colony is famous world wide
for its harsh conditions and very black history,
but it is also an amazingly beautiful landscape.
The prison at Port Arthur was used
for the worst of the British and Irish convicts,
as well as convicts who re-offended after arriving
in Australia. The prison design was based on Pentonville
prison in London. The prison was built in the
shape of a cross. This prison shifted incarceration
from a physical punishment to a psychological
punishment. Port Arthur penal colony had some
of the strictest security with shark infested
waters on three sides and the only land contact
with the mainland, Eaglehawk Neck was crossed
by fences and guarded by prison guards and dogs.
The prison closed in 1877. Today Port Arthur prison
is said to be home to many ghosts. Late night
ghost tours are held on the site.
Places to visit in Port Arthur
Guard Tower and Military
The Guard Tower and Military Complex, are perhaps
the most sophisticated buildings at Port Arthur.
Now in ruins,it was the third military complex
built at the colony.
Isle of the Dead
The island, Isle of the Dead was originally called
Opossum Island after the ship, the Opossum, which
sheltered here in 1827. Isle of the Dead is so
named because it became the cemetery for Port
Arthur in 183. It was divided into two sections
one for free settlers and the other for convicts.
Over the years 1769 convicts and 180 free settlers
(mostly military personnel) were buried on the
Remarkable Cave is situated about 6 km from Port
Arthur historical site. It is a spectacular journey
to the cave with breath taking coastal views from
Safety Cove across Port Arthur to Budge Head,
Resolution Point, Yankee Rock, Cape Pillar and
Tasman Island. Remarkable Cave is actually a huge
tub rather than a cave created by the collapse
of the walls of the cliffs.
The beautiful Asylum building was last major building
constructed at Port Arthur and was completed in
1867. It was capable of housing 100 mentally ill
patients. Today the Asylum is a major museum at
The Church and Government
These impressive buildings are located on the
hill and look down across Masons Cove towards
the Isle of the Dead. Built around 1836-37 it
is probably based on a design by the convict architect,
Henry Laing and the Deputy Commissariat Officer,
Thomas Lempriere . The church was never consecrated
or named. The buildings have been partially rebuilt
after being damaged fire.
The Model Prison
Located next to the Asylum is the building known
as the Model Prison. It was built in 1848 and
is based on the design of Pentonville Gaol in
London, with separate cells and an exercise yard.
It was built by convict labour. Prisoners were
given separate cells and called by number and
instead of name, total silence was maintained,
and hoods were worn in the exercise yards.
Port Arthur’s maximum average
daily summer temperature is 18.5 degrees Celsius
in January and the average daily winter temperature
is 11.5 degrees in June.
Getting to Port Arthur
By Car: Port Arthur is about 100
kilometres south-east of Hobart on the A9. The
1.5 hour drive is along a scenic road which forms
part of the Convict Trail Touring Route.
By Bus/Coach: Daily coach services
are available between Hobart and Port Arthur.
By Ferry: Port Arthur can also be
accessed by ferry or sea plane from Hobart.
Useful Links To Shops, Services and other things
in Port Arthur
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