Living in Tasmania, there is a lot of real life history around us that dates back to the convict era. That is why we decided in early December, that we would research and look at Australian Convict History, and in particular Tasmanian convict life and settlements.
One of our field trips so far has involved visiting Richmond Gaol, in the Town of Richmond, around 20 or so kilometres out of Hobart. This field trip proved to be so educational that I have started to really explore the history of the Tasmanian convict era in order to ensure that our homeschooling experience in one of fun, learning and opportunities to see first hand real life convict settlements within Tasmania.
In 2009, we will be delving deeper into the theme of Australian Convicts and will be visiting a number of historic convict places in Tasmania to help us gain a greater understanding of how they lived, what they endured and why may people where sent to Australia as convicts.
According to www.tourismtasmania.com.au tasmania has the following convict sites:
Sarah Island – The ruins of the once notorious Sarah Island penal settlement (1822-1833) can be experienced by cruise from the fishing port of Strahan on Macquarie Harbour. The island is a part of a vast tract of Tasmanian wilderness protected under World Heritage status.
Port Arthur Historic Site - The Port Arthur Historic Site (on 125 hectares/309 acres) today is a world-class tourist attraction, with an interactive visitor centre and more than 30 historic buildings and ruins, set within beautiful gardens and native surroundings.
Tasman Peninsula Convict Trail – takes in seven locations in an area where Tasmania’s convict history is most concentrated. They include: Eaglehawk Neck, site of the famed Dog Line; the Coal Mines; Saltwater River and Wedge Bay. The Trail includes spectacular land formations along the coastline of the Tasman National Park. Read about the Tasman Peninsula’s convict past.
The Female Factory, Hobart – considered the female equivalent to Port Arthur: hundreds of women and children were gaoled there from 1828-1877, with many dying from poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition and backbreaking work. Female Factory Website.
Richmond – the majority of this historic town appears much as it would have done in the mid-nineteenth century, when convict labour was derigetour. The gaol, built in 1825, housed prisoners, including bushranger Martin Cash. Although tiny compared with Port Arthur’s immense scale, the gaol at Richmond is unique as the buildings and cells are intact and eerily reminiscent of their torturous past. Richmond has Australia’s oldest road bridge, built by convict labour in 1823.
Therefore these are the ones that we will be including into our learning and Field Trip experiences over the next 12 months.
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