Port Arthur, Tasmania C. 1910

I recently went hunting through YouTube to try and find some old footage or pictures of Port Arthur in Tasmania. I was amazed to find  the images below by J. W. Beattie (1859-1930) taken around 1910. I was also taken by the second video that looks at not only Port Arthur but other area as of significant interest to us as we delve into the convict history of Tasmania.  When I came across them I knew they were well worth checking out. For us it is an opportunity to deepen our learning about Port Arthur and the Convicts with images of what it was like through Someone else’s viewpoint and in a by-gone era….. These are well worth watching, Enjoy!

Thanks to Colpeperite for sharing these videos….

Photos from a trip to the former Port Arthur convict settlement and the Tasman Peninsula c. 1910 by J. W. Beattie (1859-1930). Places shown include Tasman Island, Cape Pillar, Tasman’s Arch, Port Arthur, the Isle of the Dead, Point Puer (the boys’ prison) and Saltwater River (coal mines).

Eric Portman reads Lovelace’s famous poem on freedom, with pictures of some Tasmanian colonial gaols – Sarah Island, Macquarie Harbour; Port Arthur, Tasman Peninsula; Cascades Female Factory, Hobart; the Isle of the Dead, Port Arthur.


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…

Weekly Update – 29/1/12

Highlights from my life this week…

Having all our kids with us. Gaining a gift membership for the ‘Diggers Club’. Clipping the Chickens wings, and dreaming the Gołąb family dream with Tata.

Highlights from our homeschooling this week…

Picking DJ up from the airport, Celebrating Australia Day and Learning about Archaeology down at Port Arthur.

We continued our study of the United Kingdom. Focused on our regular areas of Literacy and Numeracy. Started work on Tata’s Birthday present for his 40th. Took a trip down memory lane through photographs, memorabilia and stories.
The children all followed the journey of their own ‘convict’ as they ventured around Port Arthur. Our learning about these convicts will continue into the coming week.

Our favorite thing this week was…

Our Family day out at port Arthur to celebrate Australia Day. Amongst so many wonderful things we enjoyed that day we watched a history play at Port Arthur called ‘The Shingle Strike’.

Things I’m working on…

STILL- The next edition of Glimpse – a FREE Online homeschooling newsletter – which is due out in February. – Only a few days away now!

I’m reading…

About Port Arthur Convicts

Favourite Photo(s) this week … (again too hard to choose just one!)

A great website worth mentioning is…

Port Arthur

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!

A Convicts Life #1 – Leonard Hand

Funnily enough, it does not matter how often we return to Port Arthur, there is always something new being done and more information being shared. This time the changes were evident in the separate prison complex. When we went there around 18 months ago, they were excavating this part of the prison and we were unable to go into parts. However this time they had new information displays available on each old cell door.  Very interesting indeed.

This wall shows 171 images of Convicts that were taken around 1873-1874, by an unknown photographer. These images are only a small representation of those men who were subjected to life within the separate prison walls. Upon entry to this prison, Convicts where stripped of their names and whilst in the separate prison they were never again used. These men were put into solitary confinement for around 23 hours a day, only being let out for around 1 hour exercise in a separated exercise area.

This is just one of the separate exercise areas a convict would be able to exercise in - when permission was granted to do so.

At times the convicts may have found themselves allowed to go to Church ( connected to the prison – in the middle) for a mass service. Even under these conditions, convicts were put into individual sections that allowed them to look forward to see the priest and shielded their view of any other person attending the church service.

Inside the Church looking back at where the convicts would have been kept.

Upon reading the information provided about the lives of the convicts that were interned in the separate prison, the life of Leonard Hand was one that struck us as tragic, due to the young age he achieved upon at his death.

Port Arthur Convict - Leonard Hand