Unlike the convicts who came before us, we freely went to Port Arthur. There were more than 1200 convicts that were sent to Port Arthur from 1830 to 1877. They were the convicts who were really bad, repeat offenders. If they kept being bad, they would either get sent to the Coal Mines, which we also visited, or they were sent to Norfolk Island. Port Arthur was a very well kept, pretty place now, but it wouldn’t have been for the convicts.
We went on a boat cruise to the Isle of the Dead, where they buried all the dead people. The convicts very buried on the lower section in unmarked graves, while the richer people were buried on the hill side. The people who carved the headstones weren’t very bright because one of the grave stones was of a head master and there were spelling errors and it said he was ‘sincerely regretted by all who knew him’. The ruins were well intact and very interesting. Very few people escaped from Port Arthur because there were no roads in or out, just ship transport.
If convicts escaped on foot they had to swim or get past the Dog Line, which was a row of savage dogs who were tied up along Eaglehawk Neck which is an 80m wide stretch of land joining 2 bays together. It was good visiting this place that I had learned about at school.
We also went to the Tasman Arch, a blowhole – that smelt and didn’t blow, Remarkable Cave and the Devils Kitchen. These were all sandstone cliff edges.
We went through a little town called Doo Town where all the houses were called Doo names … disappointingly there were no Scooby Doo houses. Lastly we went to the Tessellating Pavement, where we spent ages looking for shell and find fossils in the rocks.