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Port Arthur & Tasman National Park

Day six of my adventures in Tasmania

· Historical Sites,Australia

All good things must come to an end, and so the last day of my trip to Tasmania crept up. First stop of the day, Port Arthur, a former convict settlement. From 1833 to 1853 it was the hardest place to be for those sent here, all who were second offenders. It closed as a prison in 1877, but it took a long time for tourism to commence.

Below are the ruins of the convicts barracks. A lot of the buildings unfortunately are missing their wooden roofs, as forest fires ran through this area in the 1890's.

Remains of the church

Here is a look at the grounds outside the church. As you can see this is a rather nice looking place, one wouldn't expect a prison to have so much green grass and fresh air.

At one point the military doctors were sent away due to wars that were occurring. Because of this they had to hire a civilian doctor, and in order to convince his wife (who was nervous at the thought that they would be living in a prison for several years,) they built this nice house as a sort of bribe.

The solitary confinement area was based off of sensory deprivation techniques being used in American prisons at the time. During their stay here, prisoners were completely separated from their fellow inmates, and all noises were kept to a minimum.

Even for their one hour of exercise each day, they were guided out, with a cap over their head. Each man was given his own area like this one. When the guard watching from above gave the word they could lift their cap and walk around. No talking or stopping was allowed, making sure they still had no contact with any other inmates. At the end of the hour they had to put their cap back down, and wait to be escorted back to their cell.

This is all that remains of what was once the prison hospital.

This island served as the cemetery for prisoners, guards, and civilian staff alike. The lower ground on the back of the island was for the convicts, and early burials were done without headstones. The higher ground was for the rest, and they got a headstone for themselves.

View of Port Arthur from the harbor.

When you enter, you're given a playing card. In the visitor center you can match it with the real life convict that you have been given. It includes bio and arrest information, as well as where to find them in the museum.

Apparently, I was a very amateur art thief.

After our time at Port Arthur we made our way down to our last stop, Tasman National Park. We went for a little walk around the edge of the cliff.

Nearby there is a small town, consisting of about 20 vacation homes. Here's the story of how their name came about. Other house names I saw included "Dr. Doolittle", "Much aDoo", and well....a few that are a little too crude for me to include here.

There's a little seafood and ice cream truck, I highly suggest stopping and getting some ice cream.

Their berry sundae features a fresh amount of local in season items.

Sadly, that was the end of my time in Tasmania, but it was a truly beautiful place to spend time in. If you're ever in Australia, I hope you make some time to head down there, you won't regret it.

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