Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ghost Tour - Port Arthur, Tasmania

Charlie and I took an hour and a half drive outside of Hobart to visit
historic Port Arthur.
The port is famous for the penal colony and prison where many
second time offenders were sent to carry out their sentences.
On our way there, we made plenty of pit stops to take in the country side:
some funny "Oreo" cows, as we fondly call them
A cool winery
And we stumbled upon Pirates Bay off the southeast coast of Tasmania.
It's in the Tasman Sea which is part of the South Pacific Ocean.

We thought the concrete you see right by the water was carried down there
but it turns out it they are Tessellated Pavements
made via different types of erosion over 160,000 million year time huh?
You could also look out and see Eagle Hawk Neck peninsula.
Which is a thin strip of land with water on both sides that
separates the Peninsula from the rest of Tasmania.
This was a barrier to any convicts trying to escape from Port Arthur.
Dogs were kept along Eagle Hawk Neck to catch anyone on the lamb
and as for the open water, well, the sharks took care of those desperate swimmers.
We arrived at the historic site just a few minutes before the closing time
so we pretty much had the whole site to ourselves until our ghost tour later that evening.
The building was used as a flour and grain mill and it had 136 cells.
I couldn't stop thinking about all the men who were shipped over to Van Diemen's Land.
After the American War of Independence Britain could no longer send her convicts to America,
so after 1788 they were transported to the Australian colonies.
One in five were women-folk.
Eve children were transported with their parents.
Look at how tiny the cells were!
The guard towers were tough too!
The hospital was located directly behind the prison and it reminded me so much
of a book Mrs. Kati Woodley and I both read as little girls
{Wait till Helen Comes}
before we even knew each other:
See, we were meant to be friends!
Unfortunately, I didnt' find out it was a hospital until after the tour
so I did keep calling the hospital a house....ah, well!

But my favorite part was the church...
Inside these walls the convict and towns people would attend church together as a group.
A curtain was hung between the two groups and the prisoners
were patrolled by guards with guns.
Not exactly a soul-soothing service.
Up to 1100 people attended compulsory services here each Sunday.
Much of the decorative stonework and joinery in the church was crafted by
boys from the Point Puer Boys’ Prison.
Before the church was even built, when the foundation was being laid,
one convict murdered his fellow prisoner with a pick ax.
I think it's safe to say, everyone who lived in Port Arthur was always a little on edge
with the dodgy neighbors.
The ghost tour did not disappoint.
Our guide was a great story teller and regaled us with accounts
of visitors seeing all kinds of spooky things like ghosts wearing chains
running through the area.
My favorite quote was,
"This place must have been pretty bad if people are still running away from it..."


  1. Oh my gosh! How awesome is that?!?! And I love your video clip! And you're right, we were SO meant to be friends!! Now I so want to read "Wait til Helen Comes!" Miss you and love you and it looks like ya'll are having an awesome time!! And I got your card today! You are so sweet! Have fun and make some new 'mates!'

  2. I know why that cutie caged birdie sings ~:)
    She and her tower climbing hubby are happy as those Texas like Oreo cows.
    love y'all lots & lots...thanks visiting the church - I know you said your prayers of gratitude for sharing such an awesome trip:)
    Now I have to read Wait Til Helen Comes...
    watch the bushes!