Port Arthur in Autumn

A few days ago we visited Port Arthur with some friends. Port Arthur is a UNESCO heritage site located on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania. It is a penal settlement used for the convicts. The convicts were criminals from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

03 May 2013_1362

This is the church.

03 May 2013_1246

A lot of these buildings were destroyed by fire, and what is left of Port Arthur nowadays, is just a small amount of what it used to be.

03 May 2013_1206

This path leads past the Guard Tower, which overlooks the bay in which Port Arthur is built around. The tower to the left of the picture is part of the Guard Tower.

03 May 2013_1203

These are the old sleeping quarters of the convicts. They were quite cramped spaces.

03 May 2013_1252

03 May 2013_1329

Although what happened at Port Arthur isn’t the nicest story,
visiting Port Arthur in autumn can bring some great photo
opportunities, as shown above.

03 May 2013_1242

This picture looks back on the Penitentiary, which is the main building in Port Arthur.

Many free settlers, which were people who had come to
Tasmania (known as Van Diemens Land back in the day) of their own free will, lived all around Tasmania.

If convicts could serve their sentence of 7 years without causing any trouble,
they got a ‘Ticket of Leave’ and were able to leave Port Arthur and become settlers.
If they were caught breaking the law after they left, they would be brought back to Port Arthur.

Convicts tried many times to escape, and some were successful for a little while, and some weren’t successful at all. Port Arthur’s location was chosen well. It is surrounded on all sides by water, and the only way to get off is by this small strip of land called Eaglehawk Neck. It was small enough that soldiers could chain one dog on one side of the strip of land, and another dog on the other. They were kept far enough apart that they couldn’t attack each other, but close enough that no one could get through. The only other way to get out was to swim, and the majority of the convicts couldn’t swim.

A lot of convicts were brought here for the crime, which was a serious offence back then, of stealing a loaf of bread. Other offences included stealing fabrics, stealing livestock, stealing clothing, and housebreaking.

Table Cape Tulip Farm, Lighthouse Rd Wynyard, Tasmania

Last Sunday, on the 30th September, we travelled to the top end of Tasmania. The reason for going there was to visit the Table Cape Tulip Farm. Because it is spring time in Australia, the annual Blooming Tasmania festival experience is currently on.

There were many different colours of tulips, including, purple, orange, red, white, pink, and yellow. It was very beautiful even though all the tulips hadn’t bloomed yet.

Here is a slideshow of some of the pictures we took.

[slideshow id=35 w=512 h=340]

[slideshow id=33 w=340 h=512]

The Shingle Strike – A Port Arthur Historical Play

The Shingle Strike by David Young tells the story of Irish poet Francis Macnamara’s endeavour to overcome the bullying tactics of an unscrupulous overseer. The convicts’ only hope of resistance and justice is to strike, but can Macnamara persuade his gang to join him?

What a wonderful experience this was. We thought we had missed all the plays that were on throughout the day as we had focused on ensuring that we managed to actually attend the Port Arthur Beneath your Feet – Archaeology session. Which was our main aim of going to Port Arthur. However after enjoying the Harbour Cruise, we decided to have a look at the Commandants House and the buildings surrounding it. However as we approached this the actors in the play were calling out ‘Last play of the day!’ so we decided to go and see what it was all about.

What a wonderful surprise it was. Everyone, even the children enjoyed the play!

Here are some pictures taken during it…

Archaeology at Port Arthur

One of the many reasons we decided to spend Australia Day at Port Arthur this year was for the children to enjoy their Archaeological Digs. The Children have been learning about Ancient History and how we find out about the past. In doing so we have looked at Archaeology in particular and the ways in which it can help us learn about the past, it’s people and how they lived.

So to be able to go to Port Arthur and see the work of some real Archaeologists was a pleasure. But to be able to learn about the history of our convicts through the findings of an Archaeological Dig was even more impressive.

First we had to examine documents and any photographs of the area where the Archaeological Dig was to take place.

Then we got to see what a section of an Archeological dig would look like. This picture is of the 20th layer on the dig.

We were then shown a drawing made by an archaeologist of the dig site were were looking at. It was very interesting to see all the detail they provided in their drawings.

We then got to ‘clean up’ some artifacts that were found at Port Arthur. This was real hands on and a lot of fun!

Here are some of the artifacts we ‘cleaned up’. Can you see some of them actually fit together…

We also found some of the items had stamps on them. These stamps gave us information and clues as to when the times was made and what it was used for….

We then had to do what all good archaeologists do, document and draw the artifacts we uncovered and cleaned up…

And the best part… Tata had as much fun as the children did and we all learnt a lot!

Callington Mill, Oatlands, Tasmania

Today we took Babcia to Oatlands to Visit the Callington Mill. It is a Georgian tower mill which was built in 1837 and is situated at Oatlands in Tasmania. We had a wonderful day and were able to actually enter the mill and experience the inside wonder of it all. Unfortunately visitors are unable to take camera’s into the inside of the mill, so we can not show you the workings of it all. However we would highly recommend the guided tour to anyone with even the slightest interest in the mill itself or the history of the local area. Well worth the time and effort to share in this little slice of history at work.

We hope you enjoy the pictures we have to share with you!