The Port Arthur Historical Site is an important insight into Australia’s history, as the prison where the worst of the worst were sent and many experimental prison strategies were tested and refined. Across the penal colony of Australia, any repeat offenders often found themselves headed for the high security prison site of Port Arthur.
We spent an afternoon at the Port Arthur Historical Site and the kids were engaged and spellbound by the overall size of the site and grounds. We were on our trip of Tasmania by Cabin & Car.
To help bring everything to life, upon entering each visitor is issued a playing card, which corresponds with one of the workers or prisoners that lived at Port Arthur. Harry was stunned to learn that his allocated prisoner (James Gavagan) stole 21 (!) umbrellas and then found themselves transported to Australia. Alex more so when he learnt that his allocated prisoner (James Travis) was a thief, of corsets! There was a little blush when he learnt these were actually a form of women’s underwear.
After learning each of our characters fates we headed out to explore the ruins of Port Arthur. While a lot of it is well preserved, there is an extra awe around some of the ruins like the old prison and the church. Bare buildings, missing roofing, open to the elements. A new glass sky deck gave a great perspective of some of the ruins.
To help children remain engaged each were given a workbook and pencil, along with a map and clues to work there way around the Port Arthur Historical Site. At certain places a staff member rewarded the answering of a question with a stamp in their book. Alex and Jed were highly engaged throughout.
We spent half a day at the site, including a cruise around the harbor learning of its shipbuilding, island cemetery and child prison island past. There are also tours available, including a ghost tour. Our children were a little young for it, commencing mid evening and touring the site in the dark with the help of a guide. On the Todoing list for the future for sure!
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