Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement, and now a popular historic landmark, built in the 18th & 19th century on the Tasman Peninsula.
If you're a history buff, then the Port Arthur Convict Site needs to be on your bucket list. This slice of Australian history is a former convict settlement that has been well-preserved and turned into a heritage site. It's a hauntingly beautiful site, nestled on the southern coast of Tasmania, that will transport you back to a dark and harrowing time in the country's history. Once dubbed as the "inescapable prison," Port Arthur was built to house criminals who were considered the most dangerous and incorrigible of their time. It still carries a reputation today as a place of punishment and suffering. But it's not all bleak, as Port Arthur is also home to an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty that will leave you in awe.
The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of 11 remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire. Port Arthur includes: The Penitentiary, originally constructed as a flour mill and granary in 1843, before it housed hundreds of convicts in dormitories and solitary cells. The Separate Prison, where harsh physical punishment was replaced with punishment of the mind. The Convict Church (unconsecrated), where the aim was to reform Port Arthur’s convicts through a regime of religious instruction and worship.
In 1996 it was the scene of the worst mass murder event in post-colonial Australian history, leading to Australia's strict gun control laws.
Think you've seen it all when it comes to historical sites? Think again, because Port Arthur will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.