Exploring the convict past

Unlike the Aboriginal history which is known to go back 40,000 or more years, Australians do not have a very long European history. Some of the earliest traces of the past European history is to be found in the penal settlement at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

In June 2013 I spent a day exploring this strangely beautiful but haunting place and this is the post I wrote back then…

I am linking this to Paula’s Thursday special challenge which this week is “Traces of the past”

gypsy life

Port Arthur penal colony

This is the Penitentiary at Port Arthur Penal Colony, a major tourist destination in Tasmania.

The convict past of Australia started here in 1830 as a timber-getting camp using convict labour to produce sawn logs for government projects. In 1833 it became a punishment station for hardened and repeat offenders from around other States. The conditions for convicts were harsh.

I’d heard the stories of Port Arthur. The cramped conditions, the horrific punishments given for any misdemeanour, on a treadmill for 8 hours, 100 lashes of the cat o’ nine tails, solitary confinement in total darkness. I was expecting a grim, dingy collection of dusty overwhelming relics and dilapidated ruins. A harsh and unforgiving atmosphere. A feeling of despair.

In reality the place was strangely beautiful. Maybe the sun created a happiness I hadn’t expected. The extensive lawns sweeping between the buildings a vibrant green backdrop for the impressively large buildings, the warm…

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Categories: memories | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Exploring the convict past

  1. No, one would never guess looking from the outside what was going on inside. This is a beautiful capture, Pomme – the light is important and you used it. Thank you for joining me 🙂

  2. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past 02 | Lost in Translation

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