Port Arthur Historic Site

From 1833 Port Arthur was used as a punishment station for repeat offenders from all over the Australian Colonies. It was described as a machine for turning rogues into honest men. Just its name struck fear into the most hardened offenders.

Today Port Arthur Historic Site is a place of national and international significance. The site itself is spread over many acres and is fronted by a huge modern visitor information and reception area. To get to Port Arthur you have to drive across Eaglehawk Neck, a narrow strip of land with water on either side that seperates Port Arthur from the mainland. This strip was once guarded by a line of ferocious dogs chained a few feet apart. Only two people ever escaped (the same as Alcatraz). Many died trying.

The first thing that strikes you is just how beautiful the place is with lovely properties with English gardens, a huge church, beautiful botanical gardens and a blue sea lapping up to green lawns. But Port Arthur had to be attractive to attract good quality skilled blacksmiths and shipbuilders with their wives and families to live and work there teaching the prisoners. The British government had decided that places like Norfolk Island where men were nearly flogged to death just didn’t work as a deterrant. Port Arthur was set up as a model. The cogs were discipline and punishment, religious and moral instruction, seperation and training. If you strayed off the path punishment was harsh but no one was ever flogged. Many men were broken but others left Port Arthur rehabilitated and skilled.

The site was a success for the British government. It turned out masses of timber, made bricks and built boats, all with free labour. A part of our day ticket was a boat trip around the offshore islands. One island was used as a cemetary and the other for juvenile offenders, some as young as nine, the idea being was that seperation would stop them learning bad ways from the old rogues.

Most of this was told to us by an excellent guide. Perhaps there was a slight spin on it to make this place sound a little better than some history books might suggest.

Later we drove round the rest of this stunning peninsula and back to Hobart. Two good sightings of wildlife today were dolphins in the bay and believe it or not a Tasmanian Devil in a tree not 20 feet from us.

Next Diary Entry >>

Diary Entries

The Campsite

The campsite is based near Beccles in the Waveney Valley in Suffolk.

Dove Cottage,
Waterheath Road,
NR34 0DQ

Telephone: +44 (0)1502 677266
Mobile: 07884 264468
Email: campervans@waveneycampers.co.uk

Sales and Rentals

Sales and Rentals are at Norwich Camping and Leisure

Norwich Camping and Leisure,
58 Yarmouth Road,
NR13 4LQ

Telephone: +44 (0)1502 677266
Mobile: 07714 466997
Rentals: rentals@waveneycampers.co.uk
Sales: campervans@waveneycampers.co.uk

© 2022  Waveney Campers | Terms & Conditions | Financial Disclosure Statement  | Privacy Policy  | Site designed & Maintained by Red Dune.