Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, in Tasmania, Australia. Port Arthur is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas and the open air museum is officially Tasmania's top tourist attraction. Known for its harsh conditions, dark history and stark beauty, it is located approximately 60 km south east of the state capital, Hobart. In 1996 it was the scene of the worst mass murder event in Australian history.

Tourism started up almost as soon as the last convicts had left, supplying the new residents with a source of income, part of its undoubtedly due to its unsavoury past, and the ghost stories that accompany it. In 1927 tourism had grown to the point where the area's name was reverted back to Port Arthur. 1916 saw the establishment of the Scenery Preservation Board (SPB) which took the management of Port Arthur out of the hands of the locals. By the 1970s the National Parks and Wildlife Service began managing the site.

In 1979 funding was received to preserve the site as a tourist destination, due to its historical significance. The "working" elements of the Port Arthur community such as the post office and municipal offices were moved to nearby Nubeena. Several magnificent sandstone structures, built by convicts working under hard labour conditions, were cleaned of ivy overgrowth and restored to a condition similar to their appearance in the 19th century. Buildings include the "Model Prison", the Round Tower, the church, and the remnants of the main penitentiary. The buildings are surrounded by lush green parkland.

The mass graves on The Island of the Dead also attract visitors. The air about the small bush-covered island being described as possessing "melancholic" and "tranquil" qualities by visitors.

Tourists can either survey the site for themselves, or participate in guided tours, including late night "ghost tours". There is also a museum, containing written records, tools, clothing and other curiosities from convict times.


7 °C

Clouds, broken clouds

Wind10.54 m/s
Cloudiness59 %
Temperature (min/max)7/8 °C
Pressure1003 hpa
Humidity69 %
Last update: 17 May 2022 @ 16:44

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