Friday, 18 December 2015

Port Arthur, Tasmania. Australia.

Lots of history, comings and goings at Port Arthur down the southern part of the State of Tasmania.
Once we could go there and have a picnic on the lawns for free.  Many a person brought a trailer and collected the fallen bricks, until one day it was decided to make the site into a tourist venture.

Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement from 1833 to 1853, and is on the Tasman Peninsular, in Tasmania, Australia.  Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most significant heritage areas and an open-air museum. Port Arthur was much more than a prison,  It was a complete community – home to military personnel and free settlers.  The convicts worked at farming and industries, producing a large range of resources and materials. The Port Arthur Historic Site contains more than 30 historic buildings, extensive ruins and beautiful grounds and gardens.



The Penitentiary two lower floors contained 136 cells for 'prisoners of bad character'.  The top floor provided space for 480 better behaved convicts to sleep in bunks.









Guard Tower


Well worn steps that lead to Solitary Confinement room.  No window, no light, nothing.


Smith O'Brien's Cottage
This cottage housed one of Port Arthur's most famous political prisoners - Irish Protestant Parliamentarian,  William Smith O'Brien. Transported for life, he was sent to Port Arthur after an attempted escape from *Maria Island.  (*A mountainous island off the east coast of Tasmania and is about 20kms in size ) 


The Chapel.in the Separate Prison.  Each cubicle was separate with a locked door.




Part of the Separate Prison.


The Church represents the important role of religion in convict reform at Port Arthur.  Up to 1100 people attended compulsory services here each Sunday.  Much of the decorative stonework and joinery in the church was crafted by boys from the Point Puer Boys' Prison.
Once the Highway went around the Church.  I remember it well.




The Isle of the Dead on the left, and Point Puer on the right.

Between 1834 and 1849, 3000 boys were sentenced to go to the boys’ prison at Point Puer.  The youngest had just turned 9 years old.
To get there required a short journey on the boat, the Prison was on an island, next to the Isle of the Dead!
Point Puer was the first separate boys' prison in the British Empire.  It was renowned for it's regime of stern discipline and harsh punishment.  However, the boys received an education while some were give the opportunity of trade training.




Isle of the Dead.
Between 1833 and 1877 around 1100 people were buried at the settlement's cemetery.  The Isle of the Dead is the final resting place for military and civil officers, their wives and children, and convicts.  The most common causes of death among convicts were industrial accidents, and respiratory disease.


Some gravestone from the ferry.


Shipwright's House, and Clerk of Works' House from the ferry.




The biggest tragedy happened at Port Arthur on April 28, 1996 when Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded twenty five more before being captured.  He is now imprisoned and is serving thirty five life sentences plus 1,035 years without parole in the psychiatric wing of Risdon Prison in Hobart. Tasmania.
This shooting spree banned all guns in Australia, except on farms/pistol, guns clubs etc and of course a license is required,


The map of where Port Arthur is in Tasmania.

51 comments:

  1. History is a synonym for intriguing. Love your shots, too.

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  2. What an interesting story this morning. I would have loved to take the tour around the prison, sort of like touring Alcatraz in San Francisco.There are some awful characters in history and still today.

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    1. Ms L.Kay
      Port Arthur is nothing like Alcatraz - Alcatraz being somewhat of a prison fortress on a small island in San Francisco Bay.
      Colin

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    2. This is a harsh reply. She said "sort of" not exactly. A tours of old prisons do have similarities wherever they are. I hope Linda doesn't return to read this rude rebuff.

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    3. You are right Linda Kay. All prisons are similar in a way..
      Thanks.

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  3. I hear after the tragedy, your country introduced more gun control. And you haven't really had any similar event since. America has done the opposite, and keeps meeting disastrous results.

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    1. Adam: Here is the link on the whole history of gun laws in Australia.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Australia
      Cheers
      Colin

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    2. So far for Australia all is fairly OK in the gun department. It took that dreadful tragedy to ban the guns.

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  4. That's an amazing place to visiting !!
    Gorgeous pictures !
    Greetings

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  5. Interesting history. If walls can talk, there will be many stories to tell.

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    1. Heaps of stories Nancy, I think they would keep us entertained for years...all the horror and joys.

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and history lesson Margaret. Great photos too!

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  7. Such a beautiful place - with so much pain attached. Relatively recent pain, and historical pain as well.

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    1. Yes a lot of sadness there in the past. But it's history now, though many still live with that tragic time not that long ago.

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  8. Well done Margaret - the accompanying photos for your excellent summary do you proud.
    Such a pretty place but with so much savage history attached - penal colony to tourist site to our recent gun massacre by Bryant who is still unremorseful / unrepentant for his actions.
    Thank God for John Howard and his quick response with the gun "buy backs" and the stringent gun laws. Not as it now seems stringent enough, but they are a deterrent and a safe guard.
    Some countries should look very carefully at our "gun control laws" - might make them somewhat safer.
    Constitutions can be changed to keep up with the times.
    Cheers and well done
    Colin
    PS: So much for midnight "meandering" eh - ha ha - 6.00 am Friday (BNE time).

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    1. Thanks Colin.
      Yes, John Howard was good in what he did for our country. Everyone regarding guns was happy in the end..

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  9. The only prison that I visited, was a stage for films of the west .

    Kisses

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  10. Margaret I love your photos and interesting history. But for me the church is the most interesting landmark. Are thesew white houes are detached ones?

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    1. Yes the white houses are seperate ones in the paddocks.

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  11. The contrast of those old buildings and the bright blue skies makes me want to come home! We're staying put this Christmas, but I'm starting to wish we'd bought tickets to come back even just for a few days.

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    1. You might do that in the New Year....come home for a quick visit...I expect you get home sick from time to time,,

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  12. Great photos of a very historic place. I can't remember if we stepped off the ferry onto the Isle of the Dead or just observed from the ferry.

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    1. Thanks Andrew.
      Our tour with the boat was included with the entry fee. Different than from before when you had to pay for entry, then for the boat.

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  13. A very interesting narrative and photos Margaret - what a pity it is that the States doesn't act in the same way that Australia has and ban guns.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary.
      Maybe one day they will. If they do, the shorting of innocent people will stop. If only they could see that.

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  14. It's such a pretty area, in spite of being home to several prisons. I really like all the old buildings, stone and brick together or separate, they look so solid and strong. That's how strongly I would like my (dream) home to be built. To stand for more than a hundred years.

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    1. The people have been restoring the place for a long time now making it strong once again.

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  15. Your photos are excellent and so too the interesting narrative. I'm sorry we didn't do the ferry trip.

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    1. Thanks Diane. The boat ride was excellent and informative. The lovely sunny warm day made it more pleasurable..

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  16. Very impressive history with excellent photos. Just the kind of place I would like to explore.

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    1. I'm sure you would enjoy it. Can walk around at your leisure or take a tour which is included in the entry fee.
      They have Ghost tours too.

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  17. That is super interesting! I just found you through another blog's comments and I'm glad I did! Great stuff!!

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  18. I found Port Arthur hauntingly beautiful when we visited a couple of years ago. So much history, but also so much tragedy, none more so than the recent history.

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    1. Recent history was dreadful. Someone in Tasmania knows someone who was effected.

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  19. Estupendas todas tus imágenes, un placer haberme pasado por tu espacio.

    Un saludo, y feliz Navidad.

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  20. I appear to have been missing in action (or non-action).

    A beautiful area with a sad, tragic history. Life...it is what it is...filled with beauty and also filled with ugliness. May the beauty always shine through...may it always win...

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    1. Nice to see you Lee :)
      Yes, that's life, you summed it up well.
      I'm sure beauty will win in the end.

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