Port Arthur to Hobart and a trek up north to Triabunna
Friday night we stayed at a free camp at Campania, a beautiful little town about 7km north of Richmond, a beautiful Georgian Period town with many of the buildings in original condition. The bridge at Richmond was constructed by convict labour in 1823 and is in use still today.
We filled up with diesel at Sorell. Colleen took a picture of our usual tank filling.
The Tasman Peninsula has much more than Port Arthur. The peninsula on which Port Arthur is located is a naturally secure site by being surrounded by water (rumoured by the administration to be shark-infested). The 30m wide isthmus of Eaglehawk Neck that was the only connection to the mainland was fenced and guarded by soldiers, man traps and half-starved dogs.
Sunday was an overcast day so we waited till the showers eased off before we went to Port Arthur. Entry tickets are good for the second day so we went back to Port Arthur to have a closer look at the buildings.
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 an open air museum.
The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of eleven remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries on fertile Australian coastal strips. Collectively, these sites, including Port Arthur, now represent, "...the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts."
Port Arthur is officially Tasmania's top tourist attraction. It is located approximately 60 kilometres south east of the state capital, Hobart. In 1996 it was the scene of the worst mass murder event in post-colonial Australian history.
On the Sunday we took the cruise to the Isle of the Dead and Port Puer Boys Reformatory. Later in the afternoon we did the introductory tour. This seems a bit back the front but worked out okay as we had been to Port Arthur a few years ago. Port Arthur was also the destination for juvenile convicts, receiving many boys, some as young as nine. The boys were separated from the main convict population and kept on Point Puer, the British Empire's second boys' prison. Like the adults, the boys were used in hard labour such as stone cutting and construction. Point Puer, across the harbour from the main settlement, was the site of the first boys' reformatory in the British Empire. Boys sent there were given some basic education, and taught trade skills.
The guides around the Centre do a fantastic job of bringing the past to life.
Port Arthur was not only a prison for convicts but also political dissidents from Ireland, Canada and other parts of the British Empire. One of the most famous was Irish Parliamentarian William Smith O'Brien.
A rather horrifying experiment was the Separate Prison.Port Arthur was one example of the “Separate Prison Typology” (sometimes known as the Model prison), which emerged from Jeremy Bentham’s theories and his panopticon. The prison was completed in 1853 but then extended in 1855. The layout of the prison was fairly symmetrical. It was a cross shape with exercise yards at each corner. The prisoner wings were each connected to the surveillance core of the Prison as well as the Chapel, in the Centre Hall. From this surveillance hub each wing could be clearly seen, although individual cells could not.
The Separate Prison System also signalled a shift from physical punishment to psychological punishment. It was thought that the hard corporal punishment, such as whippings, used in other penal stations only served to harden criminals, and did nothing to turn them from their immoral ways. For example, food was used to reward well-behaved prisoners and as punishment for troublemakers. As a reward, a prisoner could receive larger amounts of food or even luxury items such as tea, sugar and tobacco. As punishment, the prisoners would receive the bare minimum of bread and water. Under this system of punishment the "Silent System" was implemented in the building. Here prisoners were hooded and made to stay silent, this was supposed to allow time for the prisoner to reflect upon the actions which had brought him there. Many of the prisoners in the Separate Prison developed mental illness from the lack of light and sound. This was an unintended outcome although the asylum was built right next to the Separate Prison. In many ways Port Arthur was the model for many of the penal reform movement, despite shipping, housing and slave-labour use of convicts being as harsh, or worse, than others stations around the nation.
As the convict population aged the government took on responsibility for them in an embryonic social welfare program with the Paupers Mess and other facilities.
Many of the buildings are in very good condition. We were impressed with the Commandant's House.
The Harbour at Port Arthur can accommodate large cruise ships as it is very deep.
On Tuesday we visited the Waterfront in Hobart for lunch at Fish Frenzy. they self proclaim that they are "arguably the best fish and chips in Australia". It is hard to argue with this claim.
On Wednesday I went to the Cascade Brewery for their tour. Colleen declined to go though we did have lunch there after the tour. Cascade Brewery is the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia. The Cascade estate (originally a saw milling operation) was founded beside the clean water of the Hobart Rivulet in 1824 by Peter Degraves (1778 – 31 December 1852), an entrepreneur who emigrated from England on the Hope in 1824. In 1826 charges were laid against Degraves for debt and he was taken into custody until 1831. In 1832 Peter Degraves built a Brewery on his property.
Thursday was time to go so we drove back to Campania, 7km north of Richmond to spend two free camping. We found time to call into the Cadbury Factory at Claremont. Colleen did the "shopping" while I sat outside in the sunshine and was awed by the quantities of chocolates being carried away by tourists.
On Saturday we drove north east to Triabunna to catch the ferry to Maria Island.