January 1, 2002 - Tasmania - Port Arthur

MapIf you were bad in the early-19th century England, you had to go to jail.

If you were really bad (or just Irish), you might be sentenced to "transportation," which means you would be loaded on a crowded ship and spend about three months floating to Australia, where you got the chance to wear some great garbs and do some fun public service, like cutting down trees, building roads, or growing crops.

But if you were bad in Australia as a convict, you were sent to Port Arthur. Think "worst of the worst."

Port Arthur was not a fun place to be. A lot of people sent here died and were buried on the Island of the Dead (sounds like a movie title, doesn't it).

Port Arthur Movie
[6.3 mb; 5:16]

Get locked up, cruise around the
harbour, see some flowers, and
enjoy the pleasant life of a convict circa 1845.
Are those leg irons on too tight?

Prison from Water

A view of the Port Arthur penal colony from the bay.

Yard It is an imposing, wooded place.
Head Opening to Maingon Bay.
Head This is the other side of the rocks, as seen from the Remarkable Cave side.
Prison The partially re-created prison building, which used to be a granary.
Prison This area now covered by grass used to be under water when the penal colony was founded.
Prison Can you imagine making the bricks for your own prison? These convicts did ...
Bars Harsh bars and a delicate sun window.
Inside Prison Some of the walls stand on their own, bars still in place.
Cell OK, here is your cell. And it is smaller than you think from this photo.
Freedom A glimpse of freedom from inside the prison.
truk Warning "Be careful, or you could wind up in here."
Behind Prison Behind the main prison building.
Lamberts in Jail The Lamberts take in the cushy soldier's quarters.
Ornamentation You can tell the soldier's quarters by the lack of (most) bars and some nice ornamentation.
Tower As every good military presence must have a tower, here you go.

The British military ran the prison for most of the time it was open.

1835 The stuff here isn't that old, which only makes how old it looks much more impressive.
Looking Down Looking down on the back of the main prison building.
Servant's Quarters Here is the Lazy-E-Boy in the servant's quarters.

Have a seat, take a load off...

Original Box A cool old box.
Flower The commandant's wife planted flowers all around their house.
Flower Lots of flowers.
Mural After the prison closed, the Commandant's house become a hotel.

Apparently, murals gave the place a bit more class than blank walls.

Flower Did I mention the flowers?
Indoor Excavation While the house is open to the public, they are still digging around under it and, apparently, finding stuff.
Lock The lock protecting the bar from the time the house was a hotel.

They would need more than this to protect it from me. ;-)

Doll Some doll on the floor, covered in a plastic cover.

I have no idea why they put it there. I almost stepped on it.

Mantle A mantle.
China Some china.
Clock This grandfather clock is over 200 years old, and it still works.
Mural YAM. (Yet Another Mural.)
Lamberts The Lamberts are glad they came.
Flower Say, did I mention the flowers?
Convict Living it up, convict-style.

Check out the fly threads and the plush bedding.

Model Prison The most screwed up part of the place is the Separate Prison.

Some wacko thought that all of the convicts needed to see the error of a criminal life is silence and a quiet reflection. Real quiet.

So, they started keeping all of the prisoners separate from each other, hence the name.

Punishment Cell Of course, a few days in a place like this (the Punishment Cell) would drive anyone crazy, and sure enough, soon they had a mental health disaster on their hands.
Church The convicts couldn't talk to anyone. They couldn't even look at each other.

At church, they had to stand through the service in little walled rooms that only faced the preacher. Sounds like fun, huh?

Bars Separate Prison is full of open spaces divided by bars.
Church The original church walls still stand.
Church Tower You can climb the church tower stairs and check out the good brick work. (Right.)
Church More church walls.
Garden The church is near a beautiful garden that leads to the harbour.

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