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.

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This is the church.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

Port Arthur – January 2012

During the summer holidays (and at other times throughout the year), Port Arthur has many hands on activities happening around the place.

This year they had the following hands on activities happening (and many more) when we visited on Australia Day…

  • A series of three Historical Plays – The Man Who Threw a Stone, The Shingle Strike and A Boy’s Life 
  • Carved in Stone: the stonemasons who built Port Arthur
  • Port Arthur Beneath Your Feet 
  • Unearthed! Archaeology at Port Arthur 
  • Gardens of Exile 
  • Discover Port Arthur’s Furry and Feathered Fiends 
  • A 30 minute harbour cruise aboard the MV Marana

We enjoyed the Harbour Cruise, one of the historical plays and the beneath your feet archaeology at Port Arthur as well as roaming around the grounds looking at all the historical buildings and reading all the information provided.

We would have loved to have been able to see all three of the plays. The children especially, as they very much enjoyed ‘The Shingle Strike‘ and asked to see more of the plays. With so much to see and do at Port Arthur we did not get time to do everything even though we arrived at 10.30 and and never left until well after 7pm. It is amazing, but no matter how many times we go there we are always able to find something new and interesting to see and do, just like this time when we learnt about the young convict Leonard Hand

We have promised though – to return next time DJ is staying with us, so that we can experience more of Port Arthur and what it has to offer and hopefully see some more plays, join in some more activities and also go on the Ghost Tour, which the children also asked about so so so many times, throughout the day.

Thankfully we purchased aTicket of Leave‘ so can return as many times as we like over the next 2 years without paying again!

 

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!