Oct
06
2011

Fascinating convict history at Port Arthur

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The historic site of Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most intriguing convict sites, offering visitors the chance to explore and become lost in the atmosphere of a fascinating time in the nation’s past.

Situated on the Tasman Peninsula, the buildings, ruins and restored period homes are scattered throughout this remarkably intact destination.

Having been established in 1830, the prison operated until 1877 and housed about 12,500 convicts. For many, their time there was shocking and walking around the site can be a provocative and haunting experience.

To truly get the most out of your journey, you need plenty of time to take it all in – an entry card is valid for two consecutive days.

This pass includes a guided walking tour, souvenir book, harbour cruise, interactive experiences in the visitor centre and access to 30 interesting buildings, ruins and restored homes.

You will gain an in-depth understanding of what it was like for the convicts, soldiers, civilians and family members who lived at the penal settlement.

A cruise to the Isle of the Dead and guided tour around the island burial ground will provide a great insight into the harshness of the period.

It is also possible to venture over to Point Puer Boys Prison – the first reformatory in the British Empire built exclusively for juvenile male convicts. The prison was renowned for the strict discipline and punishments meted out by those in charge.

Boys built structures among the bush – a landscape relatively unchanged since the 19th century.

Australian history lovers or those keen to learn more will enjoy a tour of Tasmania, with the island state home to many sites worth researching, discovering and exploring. If you hire a car it will be easy to create your own adventure in whatever time you have available.

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